I was burned while working in the kitchen on work experience. My mum wants me to claim burn injury compensation as she wants me to get the best treatment which is expensive. I don’t know what to do, can you help?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

There are many factors to consider when making a claim for compensation for being burned while working in the kitchen. The most important factor is whether you are eligible to claim burn injury compensation against the company where you underwent your work experience. In order to claim work burn injury compensation you must have sustained your injury due to the negligence of a third party; in this case, the manager or owner of the company or a member of staff. Negligence means that you were burned in an accident in a kitchen which could have been avoided had better care been taken of you. It must be established that the person in charge of you in the kitchen did not do enough to protect you, train you or make sure you were safe. This is termed a failure in a duty of care, and it makes a claim for being burned while working in the kitchen possible.

A burn can be a highly serious injury which can result in permanent scarring; however, with the best medical care, the appearance of scars can be reduced and it may even be possible for skin grafts to be performed which will leave you with minimal scarring. The key element here is to make sure that the operations are performed by highly skilled burns specialists. This is not always possible through the Irish health service because although health service surgeons are highly skilled, certain operations may not be provided by the State.

For the best medical attention it may be necessary for you to seek private medical care – the cost of which can be prohibitively expensive. You can include the cost of any private medical care you receive in a claim for being burned while working in the kitchen and you are also entitled to receive compensation for being burned in the kitchen at work for pain and suffering you experienced at the time. How much compensation for being burned while working in the kitchen you are entitled to will depend on the location and severity of the burn injury, whether or not it develops into a permanent visible scar, the impact this has on your quality of life and the cost of revision surgery to disguise any scar.

In order to support your claim for being burned while working in the kitchen, you should make sure that a report is recorded in the accident book of the establishment in which you were doing your work experience. This is a report of what happened, how the accident occurred, who was involved and the injuries that were sustained. It is important that this report is written even if you decide not to claim for being burned while working in the kitchen to prevent future accidents from occurring.

We also strongly advise you to contact a personal injury solicitor for legal advice about being burned while working in a kitchen. You may speak to a solicitor for legal advice; however if you are under the age of eighteen you will not be able to instruct a solicitor to represent you or submit your own claim for being burned in an accident in a kitchen to the Injuries Board for assessment. You need to be a legal adult in order to start a claim for compensation for being burned while working in the kitchen and any personal injury claims that you decide to make must be either delayed until your eighteenth birthday or a legal adult – usually a parent – may pursue the claim on your behalf until you turn eighteen. It is best to make this decision after seeking legal advice and speaking with your family.