Burn Injury Lawyers

We are expert compensation lawyers with offices across Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and major regional centres. Free initial advice and 100% risk-free claims with no upfront costs and our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

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If you've suffered a burn injury in Queensland due to someone else's negligence or recklessness, the physical, emotional, and financial strain can take a toll. Making a burn injury compensation claim can help cover medical costs and lost earnings.

As a burn victim, it’s vital that you know exactly what your rights and entitlements are in cases like these. Severe burns can have a significant impact on your future. Here, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about burn injuries, their causes, how to make a claim, and time limits to be aware of.  

Smith's Lawyers burn injury lawyers offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Burn Injury in Queensland

Serious burn injuries have an estimated cost of around $70,000 per person, including outpatient care. While healthcare can cover a substantial portion of hospital treatment and other costs, there are still expenses such as post-operative care, loss of earnings, and a decreased capacity to work. 

Fortunately, there are various schemes you can access based on where and how the injury occurred.

These include:

  • Car and Road Accidents: Road accidents contribute to many burn injuries in Queensland. For burn injuries resulting from such incidents, you can claim compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme. This refers to the protocol whereby the responsible party's insurance company is targeted for claims.
  • Work Accidents: If you sustained a burn injury at work, two types of claims are available to you. The first is a statutory claim via Workcover Queensland (or your employer's workplace compensation insurer if they are self-insured). Secondly, if your employer has been negligent, then you also have the option to pursue a common law claim which can lead to greater compensation.
  • Public Place Accidents: In situations where your burn injury happened in a public place, you can file common law claims against the public liability insurer of the entity in charge.

Remember: In Queensland, you have the right to seek justified compensation for the harm you've suffered. Speak to a burn injury lawyer at Smith’s Lawyers today.

What is a Burn Injury?

A burn injury happens when your skin or other body parts are damaged due to heat, chemicals, sunlight, electricity, or radiation. This damage can range from minor, surface-level injuries to the skin to more severe, deeper burns affecting muscles, bones, and other tissues. 

Burns are typically classified into three primary categories: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. A first degree burn involves only the outer layer of the skin and often results in redness and minor inflammation. Second-degree burns extend deeper, affecting both the outer and inner layers of the skin, often causing blisters and severe pain. 

The most severe type is the third-degree burn, penetrating deep into the skin, affecting tissues and sometimes bones, leading to damaged nerves and potentially life-threatening complications. Always seek medical attention as your first priority.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries in Queensland

In Queensland, between 2019 and 2020, there were 1,380 hospitalisations due to burn injuries. These injuries can occur due to several reasons, including: 

  • Accidents at work: Workplaces that involve heat, fire, chemicals, or electricity pose a high risk of burn injuries. This includes construction sites, factories, power plants, and laboratories.
  • Car and road accidents: Violent collisions can cause fires to erupt, often leading to severe burn injuries for those involved.
  • Domestic incidents: Incidents like fire hazards, electrical malfunctions, or hot liquid spills at home can result in burn injuries.
  • Public place mishaps: Accidents in public places like restaurants with open flames, outdoor events, or playgrounds with overheated equipment can cause burns.

The vast majority of burns – around 86% – are thermal, meaning they are caused by heat of some kind.

Common Types of Burn Injuries

Burns can occur in a variety of ways, especially in road accidents, workplaces, and public places. We have compiled a list of common types of burn injuries that individuals like yourself may encounter.

These include:

  • Thermal Burns: These are typically caused by contact with hot materials, such as steam, hot liquids, and flaming objects. Motorists involved in car accidents can sustain these types of burns from engine fluids or hot surfaces and may be combined with other injuries such as smoke inhalation of toxic fumes.
  • Chemical Burns: Generally occurring in the workplace, a chemical burn is caused by contact with acids, alkalis, or other corrosive substances. Industrial workers handling hazardous chemicals are particularly at risk.
  • Electrical Burns: Caused by contact with an electric shock, such burns can occur, for example, in construction sites or due to faulty public infrastructure. Electrical burns account for a substantial portion of burn injuries in Queensland.
  • Radiation Burns: Caused by exposure to radiological materials or intense radiation sources. Service technicians and health professionals can be at risk of these kinds of burns in their day-to-day duties.
Workers Most at Risk of Burn Injuries

Over the course of performing their day-to-day duties, some professions and industries are inherently more exposed to the risk of burn injuries. 

Here are the sectors most susceptible and why: 

  • Chemical Industry: Workers in this industry are often in direct contact with hazardous chemicals, some of which can cause serious chemical burns upon direct skin contact.
  • Construction Industry: Those employed in construction work extensively with power tools and potentially dangerous equipment, leading to an increased risk of burns from heated metal, sparks, or even explosions.
  • Culinary Industry: Chefs, kitchen hands, and other workers in the culinary field are regularly exposed to high-temperature surfaces, hot liquids, and open flames, making them susceptible to thermal burns.
  • Electrical Industry: Electricians and power line workers deal directly with electricity, making them highly vulnerable to electrical burns caused by high voltage shocks.
  • Manufacturing Industry: Employees in manufacturing plants operate heavy machinery, which often works at high temperatures, potentially leading to thermal or friction burns.

If you belong to any of these high-risk sectors and have suffered a burn injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your physical and emotional distress.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

If you've been unfortunate enough to suffer from a burn injury in Queensland due to a road, workplace, or public area accident, it's essential you understand the claims process and get advice from expert personal injury lawyers. 

Here is an overview of the process: 

If you've suffered a burn injury due to an accident at work, on the road, or in a public place in Queensland, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Here are the usual steps in a burn injury claim. 

1. Seek free initial legal advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for burn injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage a personal injury lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates on. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather evidence to build your case

Once your compensation matter is opened you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long term recovery prospects, any permanent impairment and so on.

4. File your claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives) such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate with the at-fault party's insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged to lead the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is not successful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you cannot not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are only charged by your lawyer if the claim is successful.

It is always recommended to seek legal advice as early on as possible to ensure you understand your burn injury compensation claims rights.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Burn Injury Claim?

If you're lodging a claim for burn injuries in Queensland, it's crucial to gather compelling evidence that will boost your case's legitimacy and strength. Let's explore key evidence that a seasoned burn injury compensation lawyer may help you collect: 

  • Medical Reports: These highlight the severity and extent of your burns, treatment received and any future care needs. Ensure to keep all discharge summaries, prescriptions and reports from follow-up visits.
  • Witness Testimonies: Statements from those who witnessed your accident can validate your account. A witness may be a bystander, coworker or even a family member.
  • Proof of Accident: This can include photographs of the accident scene, CCTV recordings, or any official accident reports. If you experienced a burn injury due to a faulty product, keep the product as evidence.
  • Details of Expenses: Keep track of all costs related to your injury. These might include hospital bills, physiotherapy, counselling services, or the cost of travelling for medical appointments.
  • Proof of Lost Earnings: If your burn injuries have disrupted your ability to work, secure documents that verify your income prior to the accident and any lost earnings or opportunities since then.

Remember, burn injury cases can be complex. Don't hesitate to reach out to experienced lawyers for help as you gather these pieces of evidence and make your case. 

Calculating Your Compensation Amount 

In Queensland, compensation for burn injuries isn't one-size-fits-all; various factors are taken into consideration when determining the amount. Understanding these factors will give you a clearer picture of what to expect throughout the claims process. 

These factors include:

  • Severity of the Burn: Compensation is often proportional to the severity of the burn. More serious injuries will usually attract a larger compensation sum as they often involve more costly medical bills, longer recovery periods, and greater disruption to the victim’s life.
  • Loss of Earnings: If your injury has reduced your capacity to work, significantly or entirely, you can claim compensation for lost earnings — both during your recovery and, in severe cases, indefinitely.
  • Long-term Repercussions: If your burn injury has resulted in long-term or permanent damage, such as scarring, ongoing physical pain, or psychological distress, this will also be factored into your compensation.
  • Cost of Care: If your burn injury requires ongoing care, whether from professionals or family members, the costs associated with this care can be included in your claim.
  • Personal Circumstances: Your age, occupation, and general health also affect how much compensation you might receive.

Remember that burn injuries are unique, and even individuals with similar injuries can receive different compensation amounts. For instance, consider two people who suffer an identical burn injury. 

The first is a young freelance graphic designer who works from home and makes a quick recovery, suffering little lost income. The second is a middle-aged chef who needs to take several months off from a physically demanding job and requires extensive rehabilitation to regain full use of his hand. 

Even though their injuries are the same, the chef's compensation claim would likely be more substantial due to his greater loss of income and significant rehabilitation costs. 

The complexities involved in quantifying a claim highlight the importance of seeking advice from experienced burn injury compensation lawyers, who can guide you accurately according to your personal circumstances.

Time Limits for Burn Injuries

In Queensland, there are strict time limits for making burn injury compensation claims, typically within three years from the date of the accident. Certain factors can influence this, however. 

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after a burn injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How can burn injuries impact the ability to work?

Burn injuries can have a dramatic impact on your ability to work at full capacity, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. You may need to take a considerable amount of time off for medical treatments or retire prematurely due to the severity of the burn. Furthermore, many victims experience psychological trauma that can inhibit their ability to perform routine tasks effectively.

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How long do burn injury claims take to settle?

On average, burn injury claims tend to settle between 12 to 18 months. However, the length of time needed to resolve your case can vary depending on several factors, such as the severity of the injuries, complexities in calculating future losses (like lost wages or medical expenses), and whether liability is disputed by the party at fault. If your case goes to court, this can further extend the time frame.

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What are the steps to take after an accident causing a burn injury?

When a burn injury occurs, it's crucial that you react promptly and take the appropriate steps to ensure your safety, receive the necessary medical treatment, and protect your rights. Here's a guide to follow post-accident: 

  1. Ensure safety: Firstly, ensure you and all others involved are safe and away from the source of the burn.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Immediately seek medical attention. Documenting your injuries with a medical professional is vital for your health and your eventual claim.
  3. Report the incident: Report the accident to the relevant authority, like a supervisor at work or police, if it occurred in a car accident. Be sure to document any details or witnesses.
  4. Gather Evidence: Photographs, medical reports, and witness statements will be indispensable when making your claim.
  5. Notify your insurer: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
  6. Seek Legal Advice: Finally, reach out to a dedicated burn injury compensation lawyer to explore your options. 

Your actions immediately after a burn injury can significantly impact your entitlements, so do ensure to seek medical help and legal advice as soon as possible.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No, our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options Elbow Injury Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
February 29, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.