Compensation for Burns

If there is one thing that many people fear it is burns, and rightly so, because getting burned is one of the most painful things you can go through and the resulting damage can be life-changing.

Types of Burns

There are different degrees of burn injuries and the difference between them can be significant in terms of the treatment you’ll receive, the damage that is sustained to your skin and tissue, and how your life will be affected. Burns can affect eyes, lungs and internal organs depending on the type, cause and severity of the burn. Many people will have heard of the term 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns and here is an explanation of what exactly this means.

1st Degree Burns

These are referred to as ‘superficial’ burns but that is not to imply they are any the less painful or that they don’t have a debilitating effect. 1st degree burns result in minor skin reddening which may last for a few days or a few weeks. But if you sustain 1st degree burns on the hands for example your ability to perform certain tasks could be impaired. Minor burns to the face can result in distress and embarrassment.

2nd Degree Burns

These are a little more serious. 2nd degree burns can cause reddening and blistering of the skin and it is the blistering which can potentially have serious repercussions particularly if they burst and become infected. Burn blisters are the result of fluid leaking from the soft tissue. If you receive a burn injury of this nature over more than 10% of your body it will be regarded as serious.

3rd Degree Burns

The most serious and dangerous category of all. 3rd degree burns have gone through to the deeper layers of the skin and soft tissue leading to complete destruction of the layers and often leads to infection. When this type of injury is received over large areas of the body it can sometimes prove fatal.

Causes of Burns

Fire is the most obvious and most common cause of burn injuries. These can range from:

  • A burn received from a naked flame when lighting a gas cooker or a candle in the home
  • Accidents caused by mishandled fireworks at organised events
  • Home or public event barbeques or tent fires getting out of control

Electrical burns are another common occurrence:

  • At work or at home and if this is through faulty equipment or inadequate training or supervision this could form the basis of a claim for compensation

Friction burns can often result from:

  • A road traffic accident through being thrown from a bike and sliding along the road
  •  At work it can be caused by coming into contact with moving mechanical parts
  • Coming into contact with poorly maintained flooring surfaces

Chemical burns are caused by contact with corrosive substances at work or at home such as:

  • Household chemicals like caustic soda or bleach
  • Even chilli or capsicum powder can burn
  • Industrial chemicals whether in liquid, gas or solid form

Scalds can happen anywhere and can be caused by boiling water or hot steam:

  • At home where a hot water boiler could be malfunctioning
  • At work when working with industrial boilers.
  • Hot drinks are a common cause of scald injury as are too hot or flimsy food containers

Radiation burns can occur:

  • From over-exposure at tanning booths
  • From over-exposure to medical or industrial x-ray equipment

Treatment of Burns

The first thing to do in an emergency is, if possible, remove the person from the source of the burn. For more superficial burns, run the affected part under cool running water for at least 10 minutes then cover the burn in clean clingfilm to protect it until the person reaches hospital. All but the most superficial of burns should be assessed and treated by professional medical personnel. Medical treatment will range from antibiotic creams or tablets through to special silicone coverings to protect healing burns and minimise scarring. Very severe cases may require blood and fluid transfusions and skin grafting.

How Much Compensation for Burns?

This is worked out on a sliding scale and depends on the severity of the scarring and long-term prognosis. It will also depend on the treatment available because it is possible to claim for the cost of plastic surgery, camouflage creams or any other type of recognised cosmetic treatment that could improve the confidence and life of the person claiming.  As a guide the compensation amount for burns is as follows.

Superficial scarring, either single or multiple, of legs, arms or hands could be from £1800-£6500.

More serious burns which can cause greater pain plus psychological and physical injury can attract significant levels of compensation and if burns cover 40% or more of the body could be between £79,700 and £87,670.

What to do

If you believe your burn injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence or by faulty equipment we can help.

Call us on 01782 608 744 for advice on what to do next.


Contact your personal injury partner today and let use take the hassle out of your claim

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