Chemical Burn Injury Compensation Claims
If you have been affected by a chemical burn we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a chemical burn and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
chemical burn injury compensation:
Chemical burns can cause severe pain and suffering. In serious cases, chemicals can result in long-term disability or disfigurement.
Manufacturing, laboratories, mining, construction, agriculture and cleaning industries all use significant amounts of chemicals on a regular basis. However, if the correct health and safety regulations are in place, the risks to employees should be minimised.
If you have been exposed to harmful chemicals and suffered a burn as a result, it may be possible to claim compensation.
What is a chemical burn?
Chemical burns occur when irritants, such as acids or bases (alkaline), come into contact with the skin or eyes.
Common irritants include sodium hydroxide, ammonia, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and phosphoric acid, which are found in many products and industrial processes.
Products containing harmful chemicals can be found in bleach, industrial cleaners and detergents, concrete, rust proofing, car battery fluid, fertiliser, metal refining compounds and materials used in dentistry.
Common symptoms of chemical burns include:
- Blackened or dead skin
- Irritation, redness and burning
- Numbness or pain in the affected area
- Loss or changes in vision if they come in contact with the eyes
Chemical burns can also affect the internal organs if swallowed, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and seizures.
Unfortunately, chemical burns are not always immediately obvious, and a delay in treatment can make symptoms worse.
Do I have a chemical burn injury claim?
It should be possible to make a chemical burn injury claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years and;
- someone else was to blame.
Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.
To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
Liability for chemical burns depends on where the incident took place, and the circumstances involved. If you suffer a chemical burn in the workplace, your employer could be held liable if the adequate safety measures and procedures were not in place.
There are a number of legal guidelines and requirements that employers and companies must follow with regard to potentially dangerous substances which can cause chemical burns. These include:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 - this outlines the general duties of an employer to ensure the health and safety of their employees, including carrying out adequate risk assessments and putting safety controls in place.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 - this provides specific advice on managing dangerous substances in the workplace. Every employer has a responsibility to prevent workers from, or reasonably control, their exposure to them.
- Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) - this applies when any substance is manufactured or imported into the EU in amounts greater than one tonne.
Within The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers have a duty to:
- carry out risk assessments
- provide protective equipment
- store and maintain substances safely
- clean up regularly
- train staff in its dangers
- use and provide sufficient emergency first aid facilities.
If any of the above is not done, and an employee suffers a chemical burn as a result, your employer could be deemed negligent.
For example, if a building site labourer was made to work knee-deep in concrete for hours without being told of the risks and suffered chemical burns as a result, the employer would be liable.
Likewise, if a factory worker suffered burns from industrial cleaning products but the employer had not provided suitable protective equipment or did not act fast enough in treatment, liability would again rest with them.
The amount of money you could claim for your chemical burn injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your chemical burn injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a chemical burn injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Chemical burn injury compensation amounts
The following chemical burn injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Facial scars||Minor||£3,150 to £10,960|
|Facial scars||Moderate||£7,270 to £23,980|
|Facial scars||Severe||£14,320 to £77,580|
|Non-facial scarring||Minor||A single, noticeable scar||£1,890 to £6,240|
|Non-facial scarring||Moderate||Laparotomy scars||Around £6,890|
|Non-facial scarring||Serious||Multiple scars||£6,240 to £18,120|
|Non-facial scarring||Severe||Serious burns with ongoing pain||Over £83,550|
What is the average injury compensation for a chemical burn injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a chemical burn injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your chemical burn injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a chemical burn injury injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculate my chemical burn injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a chemical burn injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your chemical burn injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a chemical burn claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for a chemical burn injury can vary considerably.
For instance, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a few weeks. If the defendant denies liability, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your chemical burn injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee takes the risk out of making a chemical burn injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a chemical burn injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my chemical burn injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my chemical burn injury claim?
If your chemical burn injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Chemical burn injury FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a chemical burn injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the chemical burn injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your chemical burn injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a chemical burn injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim chemical burn injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a chemical burn injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.