Staff Nurse Burn Injury - Case Studies

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Our client, a staff nurse for NHS Lothian, suffered a burn injury at work in November 2017. She was referred to Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland to handle her workplace accident compensation claim.

The background

During the course of her employment on a ward which deals with acute admissions for adults with mental health problems, our client reacted to a fire alarm which had been activated at the start of her shift.

On entering a 'quiet room' she saw that an armchair was on fire. She was confident she could extinguish the fire and did so by smothering the flames with a cushion.

However, as she tackled the flames, part of the non-flame retardant cover of the cushion stuck to her thumb, causing a full thickness burn to her right hand.

The consequences

Our client was taken by ambulance to an A&E department where the melted debris was removed from her hand. She later attended a specialist burns unit for further treatment and assessment.

She was required to attend the unit on several occasions to have the dressings changed and to receive physiotherapy. She could not return to work for six weeks and suffered ongoing symptoms of tenderness, swelling, pain and impaired circulation to the site of the burn injury.

Our client noted that following the workplace incident, it was determined that a patient had set the chair alight. A retrospective risk assessment was carried out and changes were made at the place of work, including patients not being allowed lighters on their person. The patient who set the chair on fire was moved to a secure environment and charged with arson.

The settlement

Thompsons personal injury solicitors intimated a claim under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) regulations 1992; Workplace Directive; Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

Liability was denied, however a post-litigation burn injury compensation sum of £5,000 was agreed on 18 August 2021.

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