You can suffer a skin burn at work in a variety of ways and not just by coming into contact with extreme heat or fire. Chemicals, extreme cold as well as radiation can cause this type of injury and even friction can cause of a burn to the skin. In most instances, skin burns in the workplace can be avoided when enough care on how to handle and work with hazardous substances is part of a normal procedure. A responsible employer would set in place enough measures to reduce the risk of employees sustaining skin burns and would have ongoing training programmes in place to reinforce existing protocols.
With this said, if you suffered a skin burn at work and believe the accident could have been avoided if enough safety measures had been in place, you could be entitled to file for compensation providing you can meet specific criteria. To find out more please read on.
Common Causes of Skin Burns in the Workplace
As previously mentioned, there are a multitude of ways that you could sustain a skin burn at work, but the most commonly reported accidents that result in this type of injury whether minor or more severe, are listed below:
- When handling hot substances or heated surfaces without having the correct protection to do so
- Being exposed to electrical wiring or electrical equipment that has not been correctly insulated
- Handling corrosive chemicals and substances without the correct training on how to do so
- Being provided with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
If you were in an accident at work that left you with a skin burn and you are wondering if you could claim compensation for your injury, an accident at work solicitor would assess your case before advising you on how best to proceed.
Establishing the Severity of a Skin Burn Sustained at Work
There are 3 categories of skin burns which are detailed below:
- First degree skin burns – these burns are superficial because they only affect the first layer of your skin which is the epidermis. A first degree burn can be treated with first aid administered immediately at your place of work
- Second degree skin burns – these burns negatively impact both the first and second layers of your skin which are the epidermis and dermis. A second degree burn should be correctly treated by a doctor or other medical professional as soon as possible
- Third degree burns – these burns are more serious and negatively impact the first, second layers of your skin as well as the soft tissues that are found beneath your skin. Third degree burns must be taken seriously and require immediate medical attention
What Can I Include in a Skin Burn Injury?
Should you have been involved in an accident at work that left you with a skin burn whether it is a minor burn or something a lot more serious and you believe that the incident occurred due to the negligence of a work colleague or your employer, you could be entitled to file for compensation. Accident at work compensation is broken down into to two categories when it comes to what can be included in a claim, these are listed below:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages cover the pain, suffering and loss of wages you incurred as a direct result of having suffered a skin burn in the workplace. It also includes any loss of future earnings, should your skin burns be so severe, they prevent you from working again. A court or insurers would take into account whether your injuries also prevent you from enjoying activities that you used to do prior to having been involved in an accident at work.
Special damages are more easily calculated because they cover all the out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a direct result of having sustained skin burns in an accident at work. You can include all your travel and medical expenses as well as the cost of any specialist treatment you may require which could include plastic surgery should your skin burn have left you severely scarred.
What Level of Compensation Might I Be Awarded in a Skin Burn Claim?
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when calculating the amount you could receive in a successful skin burn claim against your employer. This includes how severe and life-changing your injuries happen to be and the complexity of your case. As such, some of the factors that would be taken into consideration by a judge or your employer’s insurers when calculating the amount of compensation you could receive should they offer to settle your claim out of court, are detailed below:
- When and how the accident that left you with a skin burn occurred which would help establish liability
- The severity of the skin burns you sustained bearing in mind that should you have sustained third degree skin burns, the amount of compensation that may be awarded would be higher than if you suffered first degree burns in an accident at work
- Whether your skin burns were sustained accidentally or due to the negligence of a third party
- How you were affected psychologically by the skin burns you sustained in an accident at work
- Whether surgery was needed and whether you would need further surgery in the future
- The out of pocket expenses you had to cope with which you would not have had if you had not suffered an accident at work that left you with skin burns. This would include all your medical expenses and your travel expenses to and from hospital or other medical facility whether you went by car, train, bus or taxi
- Your loss of income for the time you were off work and the projected loss of earnings should you not be able to work again
What is the Time Limit to Filing a Skin Burn Claim Against My Employer?
There is a strict time limit associated with all skin burn injury claims which is 3 years from the date of your accident at work. Should you leave it too late to make a claim even if you can prove employer negligence, the statute of limitation would prevent you from claiming the compensation you rightly deserve for the skin burns you sustained. The skin burn claim time limit is detailed below:
- 3 years from the date of the accident that left you with a skin burn
- If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the workplace accident that left you with a skin burn, the 3 year time limit would only start from the day you turn 18 years of age
What are My Workers Rights After Suffering a Skin Burn Injury at Work?
Following a workplace accident that results in you sustaining skin burns, you have specific rights which are listed below:
- You cannot be prevented from filing a skin burn claim to receive a level of compensation you deserve
- Your job is safe even should you decide to seek legal advice and compensation for your skin burn injuries
Should your employer make your job more difficult and sack you because you seek compensation for your injuries, you should discuss things with an accident at work solicitor who would advise you on whether you could also file an unfair dismissal against your employer.
Should I Sue My Employer for a Skin Burn Injury?
If you were involved in a workplace accident and you sustained skin burns through no fault of your own but through employer negligence or because of an error on the part of a work colleague, it could mean you are unable to work whether for a few days, weeks or much longer. Your injuries could be such that you are off work for months or the skin burns you sustained were so severe, you may not be able to work again. As such, seeking the level of compensation you rightly deserve for the injuries you sustained at work, would alleviate all the financial pressures and stress that you would have to cope with should you not file a skin burn claim.
By law, all UK employers must have liability insurance which covers accidents at work that leave employees injured or suffering from a work-related health issue or medical condition. When you file a skin burn claim against your employer, it is your employer’s insurers who would handle your case and settle your claim should it be found that you are entitled to compensation. Most work-related claims are settled before they go before a judge. This means you would be offered an out of court settlement by an employer’s insurers which is best handled by a solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims. The reason being that a solicitor would be able to negotiate a level of compensation that suits the injuries you sustained and out of pocket expenses you incurred.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Skin Burn Injury Claim?
As with all accident at work claims, skin burn claims can be complex when it comes to proving who could be held liable for the incident occurring and the injuries you sustained. A solicitor with experience in handling this type of case would ensure that the evidence and proof needed to determine who is responsible is submitted to your employer’s insurers at the outset of your claim. A solicitor also has access to all the necessary legal libraries which means they can fall back on previous skin burn cases with an end goal being to make your case more compelling.
A solicitor would listen to your case by offering a no obligation, initial consultation which is typically free of charge. This allows a solicitor the opportunity of assessing whether you have a strong case against a negligent employer and once this has been determined, the solicitor would usually offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. In short, you would not have to worry about paying for legal advice from the outset.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Skin Burn Injury Claim?
You cannot be sacked for filing a skin burn claim against a negligent employer unless there is a good and valid reason for doing so. In short, your job is secure even when you choose to seek compensation. Should an employer fire you without good reason, you should seek legal advice because the chances are that on top of an accident at work claim, you could be entitled to file an unfair dismissal claim against your employer too.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on Skin Burn Injury Claim?
Providing the accident at work that left you with skin burns whether minor or more severe, occurred in the last 3 years and you can prove that the incident happened through no fault of your own, a solicitor would usually agree to take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. This means the solicitor would begin work on your skin burn claim without having to request a retainer or an upfront fee. This would entail entering into a legal agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
The contract includes details of the Terms and Conditions of the agreement and it also sets out the “success fee” that you agree to pay the solicitor on a successful skin burn claim. The percentage you would pay is deducted directly from the amount you receive in compensation for the skin burns you sustained. If your skin burn claim is unsuccessful, there would be nothing to pay for the legal services the solicitor provided because they entered into a CFA with you.