Burns, scalds and laceration claims

These are all painful and potentially disfiguring types of injuries which can have a devastating effect. They can result in scarring which is physically and mentally distressing for both the person affected and their family.

Even a minor burn or scald is damaging, not to mention painful and can persist for a long period of time.

If you have been injured as a result of a burn, scald or laceration then you may be able to claim compensation.

A burn, scald or laceration can cause the following:

  • Nerve damage
  • Tendon damage
  • Ligament damage
  • Muscle damage
  • Skin contraction

It can also limit movement and in some cases, result in death. One example of this is a third degree burn which causes extensive skin damage and is potentially fatal.

A severe burn or laceration can cause extensive scarring which then requires plastic surgery to improve its appearance.

Types of burns

Burns are categorised as follows:

  • First degree
  • Second degree
  • Third degree

There are fourth, fifth and sixth degree categories but these apply to burns which are so severe that they have resulted in death. They are only used if a post-mortem is conducted.

First degree burns are the mildest out of the three. In this type of burn the skin turns red with some mild pain and discomfort and only involves the top layer of skin.

Second degree burns are a more serious type of burn. The affected skin will be red and blistered in appearance and fluid will have been lost due to this damage.

Third degree burns are the most serious and potentially life threatening out of all three types of burns. The skin may have been completely burned away to the extent that damage has occurred to the underlying nerves, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

These burns take a long time to heal and result in permanent scarring. Death occurs when the extent of the damage is over a large percentage of the body.

Causes of burns, scalds and lacerations

Burns are most commonly caused by extreme heat such as a fire but they can also be caused by an electric shock, extreme cold, chemicals, e.g. corrosives, friction and radiation.

Scalds are caused by contact with steam or a boiling liquid.

Lacerations occur as a result of a road accident, violent assault, e.g. knife attack or a workplace accident.

All of these can occur at work, in a public place, in a road traffic accident or during surgery.

Who is most affected by a burn, scald or laceration?

Anyone can be affected but children and the elderly often experience worse injuries due to the fact that they have thin, delicate skin.

Impact of a burn, scald or laceration

The consequences of any of these can be devastating for both you and your family. Many people have become scarred for life as a result of this type of injury which affects their quality of life and mental wellbeing.

A severe burn, scalding or a laceration may force you to give up work which then affects you and your family’s income and may lead to financial hardship.

Plus you may have to pay for treatment, medication, trips to hospital or specialist care.

If you have been scarred then you may be facing extensive plastic surgery which is another source of stress.

The physical, mental and emotional costs of this cannot be underestimated and place a great deal of strain on you and your family.

There is no amount of compensation that will undo what has happened but it can help to cover the costs of additional treatment such as plastic surgery. It can also pay for counselling.

Making a claim for compensation for a burn, scald or laceration

Search for a personal injury lawyer, claims assessor or solicitor who has many years of knowledge and experience in dealing with these types of claims. He or she will conduct an initial assessment of your case before deciding whether to proceed or not.

He or she should handle your claim with tact, sensitivity and understanding of what this entails and the effect upon you and your family.

The lawyer or solicitor may be able to recommend treatment options in regard to any scarring and counselling services if necessary.

The claims process is discussed in more detail in our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a burn, scald or laceration

Claims for compensation for a personal injury usually have a 3 year deadline which starts from the date of the accident or diagnosis of the illness.

Your personal injury lawyer or solicitor will be able to confirm a deadline with you for making a claim.

Personal Injury Guide

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