Skin Injury Compensation Claims
If you have been affected by a skin injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a skin injury 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
skin injury compensation:
In addition to physical pain and discomfort, the Courts recognise that skin conditions and injuries may be highly visible and can lead to an injured claimant experience self-consciousness, anxiety and depression.
Compensation awarded in relation to skin injuries is therefore consequently higher for skin injuries that have caused additional psychological harm.
Common skin-related injury claims include
- Dermatitis claims
- Burn claims and scalding claims
- Scar injury claims
- Cosmetic surgery negligence claims, including dermabrasion claims
Characterised by red, inflamed, dry and itchy skin, rashes may cover specific parts of the body or spread over large areas. Dermatitis may range in severity from a mild, temporary case through to serious and long-lasting skin disease.
There are a number of different subtypes of dermatitis, triggered by a variety of causes. The most common is contact dermatitis - usually a result of direct contact with substances which are known irritants. These include detergents, chemicals, cleaning fluids, solvents, rubber and oils.
Health and safety requirements
Where workers - such as nurses, hairdressers, cleaners and engineers - are likely to be brought into contact with substances that may cause dermatitis employers must adhere to Health and Safety regulations in regard to their handling.
Making employees aware of the risks, providing protective clothing and minimising contact with the substances are all measures that should be taken. If an employer fails to safeguard his employees he may be liable for any skin condition claims.
Allergic contact dermatitis may occur when the immune system reacts to a substance to which it is exposed. For example a claimant may sustain scalp dermatitis if she is allergic to any of the chemicals contained in hair dye.
Burns and Scalds
Burn and scald injuries have many causes including fire, steam, chemicals, electrical equipment and sunbeds.
Accidents at work and in public
Where health and safety measures are inadequate burn and scald injuries may occur in the workplace, and are a common source of claims relating to waiters, waitresses and other kitchen staff.
Machinery that heats liquids to high temperatures may cause severe scalding - especially if the pipes containing superheated steam burst or fracture. Inadequate training when operating such equipment is strong evidence of an employer's negligence.
Workers whose occupation includes working in cold storage centres may sustain cold injuries to the skin from contact with frozen substances such as metal racking.
Less frequently, burn injuries may also be a result of road traffic accidents; from use of defective products that overheat or through beauty treatments such as waxing.
Depending on how deeply they penetrate the skin's surface, burns or scalds are classified as first, second or third-degree. An assessment of the severity of the burn will usually be made during treatment, but an independent medical report will confirm the seriousness of the injury for the purposes of calculating compensation.
Classified as "secondary injuries", scars are formed as a consequence of healing following a primary injury to the skin - such as a burn or scald or laceration. Scar injuries may cause permanent changes to an individual's skin and therefore may have a strong psychological impact on a claimant.
To bring a claim for compensation for scarring the cause of the original accident (that created the primary injury) must be established in order to determine liability.
Claiming for secondary skin injuries
If a claim for an initial skin injury has already been settled, making a further claim for any subsequent scarring is very unlikely to succeed.
Getting an independent medical report is a vital step when assessing a claim, and it is not recommended that a settlement offer be accepted without this report. The report will provide a prognosis which may include details of likely scarring and will enable a more accurate settlement to be reached.
Dermabrasion, where a brush or wheel is used to remove the upper layers of skin, is a technique designed encourage the body to replace damaged skin with new skin.
Because there are inherent risks in the procedure, including infection, scarring and sensitivity of the treated skin, claiming for compensation if this happens may be difficult.
If, however, a technician carried out the procedure too roughly and removed more skin than was planned it may be possible to bring a claim for clinical negligence.
The technician may also be found negligent if the risks were not fully explained before the procedure took place.
Do I have a skin injury claim?
You should be eligible to make a skin injury claim if you sustained an injury:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a skin injury claim on their own behalf.
What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?
A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee, no risk
Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if your claim is not successful.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a skin 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 skin 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 skin injury claim?
If your skin 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.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
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
Skin 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 skin injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the skin injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your skin injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a skin 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.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
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 skin injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a skin 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.