Work Burn Compensation Claims
If you have sustained burns at work, you may be entitled to make work burn compensation claims against your employer. Provided that the burns were sustained in an accident for which you were not entirely to blame, you should seek legal advice about your eligibility to claim work burn compensation.
Working with a direct source of heat may seem like the most common way to sustain burns in the workplace; however many work burn compensation claims are made for chemical and electrical burns. No matter how you have sustained a burn in the workplace, if it was in an accident that could have been avoided had an employer taken better care with regards to your personal safety, work burn compensation claims should be possible.
Eligibility to Make Work Burn Compensation Claims
In order to be eligible to make work burn compensation claims against an employer’s liability insurance policy, it must be established and proven that the injury was sustained due to the negligence of an employer, or was caused by the carelessness of a colleague who had a duty of care for your health and safety. Negligence means that an employer has failed in a duty of care to ensure that the workplace was safe, and that risks to health were not kept to the minimum practical level.
While most employers provide health and safety equipment to staff at risk of sustaining a burn, the risk of accidents to other members of staff must also be assessed. When employees are unaware of the risk of sustaining work burns, they are less likely to take appropriate precautions. Training must be provided on the safe handling of equipment, any equipment or machinery must be maintained and, if there is a risk of burning, appropriate clothing and protective gloves must be provided. An employer must also conduct regular inspections of the workplace to assess ongoing risks to employees and take steps to reduce the exposure to hazard to a minimum.
When an employer fails to fulfil his legal obligations to protect workers from sustaining burns at work and an employee is injured, the employer will be liable for any work burn compensation claims for personal injury at work. If you have been injured at work and have sustained a burn which you think could have been avoided had your employer taken greater care, then you should speak to a personal injury solicitor about making a work burn compensation claim to recover compensation for your injuries.
Procedures to Follow After Sustaining a Burn at Work
Burns can be highly serious injuries and they require rapid medical treatment. A burn sustained in the workplace may be attended to by a first aider, or action taken by the employee concerned to reduce the pain and the severity of a burn. However, treatment in the workplace is not sufficient to support work burn compensation claims, and a visit to the emergency room of a hospital or a doctor’s surgery must be made. Not only will this ensure that the damage caused by the burn is reduced, but your medical records must reflect the fact that you sought treatment for your injuries. If your medical records do not detail your injury, the defence would argue that they are not serious enough to warrant making work burn compensation claims.
Any accident in the workplace must also be recorded in an employer’s ‘Accident Book’. Due to the highly painful nature of burns, it is not expected that this procedure is completed immediately as the first priority is always to ensure that medical treatment is sought. However at the earliest possible opportunity after treatment has been received, a report of the accident should be recorded in the accident book. This should include the personal details of any employee involved in the accident, the nature of the injuries sustained, the date and time of the accident and a brief summary of how the accident occurred. The accident book report will be used as proof that the injury was sustained in the workplace and will also help an employer to ensure that appropriate health and safety measures are installed to prevent future burns at work from being suffered by other employees.
Work Burn Compensation Claims and Contributory Negligence
If an employer is liable for an accident at work, work burn compensation claims can be made to recover damages. However the amount of compensation for work burns will be affected by any contributory negligence of the claimant. If a burn has been sustained in the workplace and the actions of the victim played a part in the accident occurring, the defence may seek to reduce the amount of a work burn compensation claim accordingly. The contributory negligence of the claimant is always taken into consideration before work burn compensation is awarded.
One of the main areas of contributory negligence with accidents at work is failing to seek medical attention promptly. An employer may well be 100 percent to blame for an accident; however employees also have a responsibility to ensure their injuries are treated promptly. Failure to seek prompt medical attention is likely to see any work burn compensation awards substantially reduced. Provided that the victim was not primarily responsible for sustaining an injury, such as by not using appropriate health and safety equipment when it was provided, work burn compensation claims should still be possible.
What Can Be Included in Work Burn Compensation Claims?
Work burn compensation claims are made separately for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by an injury, and for any financial losses. A claim for general damages in work burn compensation claims is made as recompense for having sustained an injury. The level of compensation for pain and suffering will depend on the extent of the burns and also where the burns have been sustained. Any highly visible burns which cause permanent scarring will increase the value of claims for work burn compensation – not because of the physical pain, but for the psychological problems that visible scars and burns can cause.
Loss of amenity is any loss of function due to the injuries, such as restricted movement, nerve damage, loss of the sense of touch, and for any activities which can no longer be completed due to the injuries. Loss of amenity is a major component of a claim for general damages.
Past and future financial outlay is claimed as special damages in work burn compensation claims. Special damages are concerned with recovering any expense due to the injuries, to make sure that the victim is not made to suffer financially as a result of a burn at work which was not their fault. This aspect of compensation for a burn at work includes medical treatment costs, loss of earnings, loss of overtime, home help costs, transportation costs and cosmetic surgery or skin grafts to reduce the appearance of scarring. If an expense can be substantiated with receipts or invoices and it can be directly attributed to the accident or injury sustained, it can be included in work burn compensation claims for special damages.
Making Work Burn Compensation Claims Against an Employer
Any claim for compensation against a current employer has potential to be complicated; not only in terms of proving negligence and obtaining a fair level of work burn compensation from an employer’s insurance company, but due to the potential for awkward confrontations with an employer. When a personal injury solicitor is used to pursue work burn compensation claims it adds an extra level of distance between an employee and the employer. This can help to eliminate difficult workplace situations.
It is strongly advisable to purse a work burn claim against an employer’s liability insurance policy only with the help of an experienced work injury solicitor. Using a personal injury solicitor to pursue work burn compensation claims will help to ensure that the full entitlement to work burn compensation is claimed and that the claims process runs as smooth as possible. The experience of a solicitor is also invaluable when negotiating a settlement of compensation for a burn at work with an employer’s insurance company.
Work Burn Compensation Claims – Summary
If you have sustained a burn at work and want to claim work burn compensation you should speak with a personal injury solicitor for legal advice. Your claim will be assessed, your entitlement to compensation will be calculated, and you will be told what you must do next in order to ensure your claim for work burn compensation has the maximum chance of succeeding.
Work burn compensation claims are possible when and employer has:
- Failed to provide appropriate health and safety equipment
- Failed to maintain health and safety equipment
- Has not ensured that employees were properly trained
- Has not reduced the risks to staff to the minimum possible level
- Has not replaced faulty equipment
- Has not used warning signs to alert staff to risks of burns
- Has not eliminated trip and slip hazards
If you have sustained a burn at work and are not sure if you are eligible to make work burn compensation claims for your injuries, you should speak with a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible about recovering compensation for a burn at work.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.