Welcome to our guide looking at claiming compensation for injury caused by fire. Here, we will discuss how a personal injury solicitor could assess your claim and help you to build a successful case for compensation.
Our guide will look at the process of making a claim for an accident in work involving fire that has caused you to be injured. We will also look at the process of claiming for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents (RTAs) and accidents in public places.
Through an illustrative case study, we will look at how compensation can be calculated for injury caused by fire. We will look at the different factors that might affect the value of the compensation you could potentially be owed.
If you were involved in an accident that was not your fault at work, in public, or on the road, please feel free to call our personal injury claims team to have your case assessed for free:
- Calling us on 0161 696 9685. We’re available 24/7 to take your call
- Filling out a callback form at Advice.co.uk
- Chatting with us using the ‘live support’ option at the bottom right of this screen.
There is a three-year time limit to starting a personal injury claim. Let us guide you through the process of starting a claim for compensation today.
Select a Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation Payouts For An Injury Caused By Fire
- What Is An Injury Caused By Fire?
- How Can You Suffer An Injury Caused By Fire At Work?
- An Injury Caused By Fire In A Public Place
- How Can You Suffer An Injury Caused By Steam In A Road Traffic Accident?
- Key Areas For Personal Injury Compensation Calculations
- What Are Special Damages?
- Case Study: £95,000 For An Injury Caused By Fire
- Free Legal Advice To Estimate Your Final Amount
- Victims Can Utilise No Win No Fee Policies
- Our Specialists Can Guide You With Free Legal Advice
- More Resources And Guides On Injuries Caused By Fire
- An Injury Caused By Fire FAQs
A personal injury claim rests on establishing that the accident was caused by third-party negligence. And importantly, this third party must have owed you a duty of care. It’s important to consider the following questions when you’re thinking about making a claim:
- Did someone owe you a duty of care?
- Was this duty breached, resulting in an accident?
- Were you injured as a result of your accident?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes”, then you may have grounds for a compensation claim.
In this guide, we will look at burn injuries in closer detail, from what kinds of accidents might cause them to what the recovery process might look like. We will also look at the duty of care owed to you in different circumstances and how this duty can be breached.
Our guide will go on to look at the way that compensation claims are calculated and what they can include. To illustrate this, we will look at an example case study that sets out the claims process clearly.
Finally, we will look at the benefits that a No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, can offer. This guide will end by providing further resources for your information and answering some frequently asked questions about burn injuries.
An injury caused by dry heat, such as fire, is known as a burn. Burns can range from relatively minor to serious and life-threatening.
When the skin comes into contact with a heat source the tissue is damaged. This can cause pain for months or, in serious cases, years. Burns are classified in the following way:
- First-degree/superficial epidermal burns: In these kinds of burns, only the first layer of skin or the epidermis is damaged. The skin may be red, swollen and painful.
- Second-degree/superficial dermal burns: These burns affect the epidermis and the second layer of skin, the dermis. The skin may be slightly blistered and will be pink and painful if only part of the dermis is damaged. In more serious cases, the skin may be very swollen and blistered.
- Third-degree/full-thickness burns: In these burns, all three layers of skin are damaged, including the subcutis which is the deepest layer. They may cause a leathery or waxy texture to the skin and the remaining skin will be white and dry.
Some burns will damage all of the skin’s layers as well as deeper tissue such as muscle or bone. These may be referred to as “fourth-degree” burns.
Burns are not the only injuries that can be sustained through exposure to fire. In addition, damage to the lungs caused by smoke inhalation can have an impact on lung function in the long term.
Following very serious burns, fingers and toes can be lost, creating mobility issues. The thick scarring can result in total hair loss or difficulty moving surface skin freely. The presence of noticeable scarring can also cause psychiatric damage to the injured person.
Each year the Health and Safety Executive produces statistics about the prevalence of different accident typed that take place in workplaces in Great Britain. Briefly:
- There were 1,679 non-fatal burn injuries reported to RIDDOR in 2019/20.
- In 2019/20, burn injuries accounted for 3% of all non-fatal injuries in workplaces in Great Britain.
- 1,594 burn injuries in 2019/20 resulted in an absence from work of 7 days or more.
What Is An Employers Duty Of Care?
It’s important to note that according to the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974, all employers in the UK have a duty of care to their employees. Drafted over 40 years ago, this piece of legislation seeks to protect us at work. Some noteworthy and specific compliances are as follows:
Section 2 places a duty of care on employers to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of their employees as much as is possible. The actual term is ‘as reasonably practicable’ and sets realistic limits on what employers can be held accountable for.
In Section 3 the same duty of care is set out with regards to any visitors, contractors or members of the public who may use, visit or come across the business.
As employees, under Section 7 we are expected to look after our own safety and wellbeing at work. This means taking reasonable steps to avoid accidents taking place. The Act also dictates that no employee should obstruct or undermines any health and safety procedures being carried out.
How Can My Employer Breach Their Duty Of Care?
Employers may undertake regular written risk assessments in order to identify any risks to workers so that they can be removed. If a risk cannot be removed, then steps should be taken to minimise these risks.
Employers could also be providing training and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the role.
Specific breaches of an employer’s duty of care that could result in fire injury include:
- Unclear fire procedures
- Fire extinguishers missing or unfit for purpose
- Doors or fire exits blocked
- Electrical appliances or machinery not properly maintained or inspected for safety
- Poor housekeeping, for example, a collection of rubbish that could cause a fire to spread.
- A lack of working smoke alarms.
If your employer neglected their duty of care and you were injured as a result, speak to our personal injury claims team to discuss the process of making a claim.
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 says that the occupier of a public space has a duty of care to ensure the safety of anyone using the space for the purpose intended.
The Occupiers’ Liability Act doesn’t set out who the occupier of a given space is. However, it should be someone who has control over the space. It should be reasonable to expect them to predict that an accident might have taken place, and they should have the ability to make changes to remove the risk of injury. For this reason, public space can have more than one occupier against whom a claim can be levied.
If you suffered an injury caused by a fire in any of these places, call our team to see if you could have grounds to launch a public liability claim against the operators. Speak to our personal injury claims team to discuss who may have been liable and how you can get compensation for your injuries.
The Duty Of Care Of Those In Control Of Public Spaces
Those in control of a public space could do the following:
- Assess and attend to hazards before they cause injury. This can range from things like cleaning up spills to identifying faulty equipment which is then repaired and replaced.
- Take into account that children are less able to assess personal safety, and consider that more care may be needed to keep them safe.
- Clearly warn about unavoidable risk on their premises, for example, through signage.
How Can This Duty Be Breached?
It’s important to note that there are many different ways that a duty of care might be breached, resulting in injury caused by fire in a public place. These include:
- Poorly trained or unequipped staff
- Obstructed fire exits or ways out
- Lack of clear directions or instruction
- Missing fire safety equipment (extinguishers, fire blankets, etc)
- Sources of fuel stored close to sources of ignition
Many of these scenarios could result in you suffering injury caused by a fire in a public place. We rely on those in control of public places to take our safety seriously and do everything they reasonably can to ensure that we don’t come to harm. Failure to do adhere to health and safety legislation can result in an injury which may lead to a claim for compensation.
The Highway Code outlines the duty of care that all road users owe to one another regardless of their age or experience. If another driver caused you injury because of a breach of duty of care, you could be eligible to start a claim.
Duty Of Care Of Road Users
The Highway Code outlines the expectations that all British road users:
- Hold an up-to-date driving license
- Have passed minimum eyesight rules
- Are correctly registered with the DVLA
- Have up to date vehicle tax and MOT
- Are driving in a roadworthy vehicle
- Hold at least third-party insurance
Road users are expected to take reasonable care to prevent injury to others. They should also anticipate that this standard of skill, care and experience may not be shared by all road users and act accordingly.
How Can A Road User Breach Their Duty Of Care?
Injury caused by fire can be the result of a serious collision on the roads. Any head-on or side-impact crash can cause petrol to leak. When this is combined with electricity sparks, there is a risk of one or more vehicles catching fire.
Drivers can breach their duty of care in any number of ways, including by: :
- Driving under the influence of drink or drugs
- Speeding or driving erratically
- Looking at a mobile phone or another device while driving
- Undertaking a dangerous manoeuvre
If you believe that you suffered injuries in a car accident as a result of someone else neglecting their duty of care, then you may be able to claim. Speak to us today to see how we could help you launch a claim against another driver and have compensation calculated for your injury.
A claim for personal injury compensation will consist of two heads of claim. The first head of claim is known as general damages. The process of calculating general damages is outlined below.
Firstly, they will arrange a medical assessment for you. The medical report and prognosis produced after this appointment will be used as the foundation of your claim. If you have medical records from, for example, a hospital appointment directly after the accident, this could also support your claim.
Once the exact nature and severity of your injuries have been ascertained, your lawyer will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines for guidance in valuing your claim. The JCG is a publication that offers advice on award brackets for an array of injuries of different severities.
These figures take into account the pain and suffering your injuries have caused. Diminished quality of life and mental health impacts are also considered.
Special damages is the second head of a personal injury compensation claim. These can cover any out of pocket expenses or financial losses that you have incurred as a result of your injuries. Some examples of expenses that can be incurred as part of special damages are:
- Loss of current or future earnings
- Any impact on attendance bonus or pension scheme
- Specialist skin grafts or cosmetic scar surgery
- Adaptations to home and lifestyle
- Care costs from family or professional carers
- Child care or pet care
- Loss of deposits for activities you’re no longer able to take part in.
The list above isn’t extensive by any means. If you’ve experienced any other financial loss that you can prove was a direct result of your injuries, then you may be able to include them in your personal injury claim.
Many websites offer an online compensation calculator which values your claim based on information you input. While these are useful in getting a rough estimate on how much your claim could be worth, you will get a much more accurate value by speaking with one of our advisers. So why not give us a call to chat about your case?
Miss Roberts, 21, was a chef at a restaurant. She was passionate about cooking and took pride in her work. However, the equipment in the kitchen of the restaurant was old, and the manager was unwilling to update it. Miss Roberts had raised concerns about the safety of the kitchen to the manager multiple times, but nothing had been done.
One evening at the beginning of a shift, Miss Roberts went to turn on the gas hob. However, the hob was faulty and this resulted in a large jet of flames shooting from the burner. Miss Roberts’ right arm and the right side of her face were badly burned.
Her colleagues in the kitchen put out the fire on the cooker and on her. Miss Roberts felt an excruciating pain in her right hand and the right side of her face. She also felt weak and dizzy, and her colleagues noticed that she was breathing rapidly and had sweaty, clammy skin. They were worried she was going into shock.
An ambulance was called, and Miss Roberts was taken to hospital. In the meantime, a colleague in the restaurant filled out the accident book, as he had seen the accident take place. Furthermore, he’d brought attention to the fact that the cooker looked worse for wear the week before, but nothing had been done about it.
Following the accident
Miss Roberts had to take some time off work. The burn to her hand had affected her grip, and she was unable to comfortably hold pans or kitchen utensils. She also had to cancel a weekend trip she had arranged with her mum and sister, as her doctor advised her against travelling.
The burns on her face drastically affected Miss Roberts’ self-esteem. She decided to undergo scar resurfacing treatment after the options available on the NHS failed to give her the results she was hoping for. She also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following the accident, for which she needed extensive counselling.
Overall, Miss Roberts’ quality of life was badly affected by the accident. She knew that her injuries weren’t her fault, so she decided to pursue a claim for compensation. She contacted a solicitor, and won a £95,000 compensation award for her injuries and special damages. Below, we’ve broken down the compensation she received.
|General Damages||How Much?||Special Damages||How much?|
|Burn injury payment||£68,000||Loss of earnings||£20,000|
|Lost deposit for weekend away||£750|
|Travel costs to hospital trips||£250|
|Rehabilitation and counselling for trauma||£1,000|
|Cleaner, food preparation, gardener, child minder etc.||£2,000|
The above scenario is not real. It’s based on our experience of handling personal injury claims and should be used as an example only.
We offer a service that can assess your claim in a short, informal telephone chat with our team. They can listen to your situation and, if your claim has a good chance of success, they may connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor.
If you’re not quite ready to start the claims process but would simply like to ask more questions about the process of claiming, we can help. When you get in touch with our team to chat about your case, there’s no obligation to pursue a claim. You can simply benefit from our free legal advice and ask any questions relating to claiming.
You may be familiar with the term No Win No Fee, but don’t have a clear understanding of what it means. A No Win No Fee agreement, which may also be referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is a contract between you and your solicitor which outlines the conditions that need to be met before they receive payment.
There are numerous advantages to claiming with a No Win No Fee agreement:
- You won’t have to pay your solicitor any fees before the claim begins. This means that they can start working on your claim right away.
- As your case progresses, you still won’t be asked to pay your solicitor any fees
- If your case is unsuccessful, there is nothing to pay your solicitors at all
- In the event of a successful claim, your solicitor’s fees will be covered by a success fee which is deducted from your compensation. This is legally capped, meaning you’ll always receive the majority of your compensation.
These aspects of No Win No Fee agreements mean that even those who aren’t able to pay upfront or ongoing fees can access legal representation to get the compensation they deserve. If you’d like more information about making a claim with a No Win No Fee agreement then please get in touch with our team for more information.
If you’d like to know more about how much you could be owed in compensation, contact our team today. Burn settlement amounts can vary greatly, so for a more detailed valuation of your claim please:
- Call us on 0161 696 9685
- Write or email at Advice.co.uk
- Use the ‘live support’ option at the bottom right of this screen and speak to a member of our team.
Thank you for reading our guide. We think that you may find the below links useful in providing extra information.
Accident at work claims guide– Read our guide to find out more about claiming for an accident at work.
Road traffic accident claims- Have you been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, this guide could offer you helpful information on claiming.
Hot drink burn injury claims- You may have suffered a scald injury that was not your fault because of a hot drink spill. You should read our guide to see if you could be entitled to compensation.
Fire safety in work- This information from the Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on fire safety.
NHS guide to burns and scalds– This NHS guide looks at the different severity of burns and outlines the first aid that should be carried out if someone has suffered a burn or scald.
Changing Faces- A charity supporting people in the UK who are living with visible scars or marks.
What injuries can you get from a fire?
As well as burns of varying severities, exposure to fire also poses a risk of smoke damage to the lungs. Smoke inhalation can have long-term detrimental effects and can even be fatal.
Are all burns painful?
Not necessarily. If the nerve endings are damaged, a burn may not cause the injured person much or any pain, even if it is severe.
Can I only claim for the physical injuries caused by exposure to fire?
No. Accidents causing burn injuries can often have a severe psychological impact on the injured person. If you’ve been diagnosed with a recognisable psychiatric injury following an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you may be able to include this in your claim.
Thank you for reading our guide on claiming for an injury caused by fire.
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