There is no doubt that firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs around. Putting out fires, working at height and working with chemicals are just some examples of the dangers firefighters could face on a daily basis. You might think, therefore, that a firefighter can’t claim compensation if they’re injured at work. However, if you’re a firefighter injured at work and believe your employer’s negligence was to blame you may be eligible to make a firefighter injury claim for compensation.
Our advisors offer a no-obligation consultation where free legal advice will be given about your options. One of our personal injury solicitors may offer to represent you if there’s a fair chance you’ll be compensated. If they do, you won’t have to pay any legal fees unless the case is won as you’ll be represented on a No Win No Fee basis.
Please read on to learn more about the claims process or give us a call on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to speak to us right away.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Firefighter Injury Compensation Claim
- Common Occupational Hazards Firefighters Face
- Common Injuries To Firefighters
- Types Of Negligence By The Fire Service That Could Lead To A Claim
- How Much Compensation For Firefighter Injuries Could I Claim?
- Firefighter Injury Compensation Calculator
- Evidence To Support A Firefighter Injury Claim
- Time Limits For Filing A Firefighter Injury Claim
- Starting The Firefighter Injury Claims Process
Before we look at the type of accidents and injuries firefighters could be compensated for, we’ll explain the criteria our personal injury solicitors will check before accepting your claim. They will check whether:
- The fire service (your employer) breached their duty of care toward you (negligence); and
- An accident or incident happened as a result of their negligence; and
- You were injured during the accident.
Duty of care is a legal phrase that is established by laws such as the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Act (Amendment) Regulations 2022 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will check which law it should be based on.
Your main role in the claims process will be to help your solicitor prove how you were injured and who was to blame. This will involve the collection of supporting evidence so we’ll look at this in more detail later.
There are numerous hazards that firefighters might face throughout their careers. Some of the more common hazards and injuries are:
Stating that burns are the most common injuries that firefighters suffer from comes as no surprise. A firefighter’s primary job function is fighting fires. Although they are equipped with industry-standard protective equipment, this often has its limits against the intense heat of a burning building. If something goes wrong during a fire-fighting operation, the burn injuries can be severe and even life-threatening. If negligence has led to burns then you may find it beneficial to read our claims advice here for burn injuries.
A building that is ravaged by fire or any other disaster can become dangerously unstable. Parts of the building or the whole building could crumble and collapse at any time, causing crush injuries firefighters around and inside the building.
With the amount of thick smoke that is generated by large fires, there is a high possibility of inhaling some amount of smoke despite wearing protective breathing equipment. Serious respiratory injuries are just one of many conditions caused by smoke inhalation. Excessive smoke inhalation can also result in brain damage from lack of oxygen, and extended exposure can also put an individual at high risk for cancer and heart disease.
Firefighters often enter buildings to control the fire and save people trapped on higher floors. Under the circumstances, low visibility combined with the unstable condition of the building puts them at risk of falling from heights resulting in all types of injuries. The additional weight of their heavy protective gear often makes these injuries more severe.
Firefighting can be a high-stress job. Firefighters are fully aware of the dangerous situations that a day at work could present. Even if the work day goes by without having to attend to any serious situation, there is the persistent stress of wondering when they will be called out. This unrelenting stress at work can create various stress-induced medical conditions, from ulcers and panic attacks to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Very few of us associate cancer and firefighting but it is in fact one of the biggest health risks of the job. Smoke from burning buildings contains various carcinogens. Smoke from factory buildings can be even more dangerous as they often contain hazardous chemicals. Long-term exposure to these carcinogenic substances puts firefighters at risk for lung, kidney, and colon cancer.
Another cause of injury is road traffic accidents, which can happen because of the high speed at which fire engines travel to get to the scene of the call-out as soon as possible.
Firefighters could be compensated for any injuries sustained while driving or riding in a fire engine (or another type of emergency vehicle) where someone else was to blame. A compensation claim could be made against the fire service directly or against the insurance policy of the other driver responsible for the accident.
To help prepare for real-life emergencies, firefighters spend a lot of time training. In some cases, accidents can happen during training and could lead to a firefighter injury claim. Examples of the types of accidents that could happen include falls, exposure to chemicals and slips or trips. If you were injured in a training accident because of poor supervision, inadequate planning, or a lack of risk assessments, you could be eligible to make a claim.
If you would like to find out if you could claim, please get in touch.
It is possible for firefighters to claim for any injury caused by another party’s negligence. Some of the most common firefighter injury claims relate to:
If you’ve been injured whilst working as a firefighter, you could be compensated for your suffering. Please get in touch if you’d like a free assessment of your options.
As explained earlier, firefighter injury claims must be based on somebody else’s negligence. The types of negligence that might allow you to claim compensation against the fire service for your injuries include:
- Inadequate training.
- A lack of proper risk assessments.
- Being asked to work too many hours.
- Poorly maintained or damaged equipment.
- A lack of proper PPE.
- Inadequate supervision.
If you believe you have been injured while working as a firefighter and somebody else was to blame, call our specially trained advisors for free advice on making a firefighter injury claim.
The amount of compensation you’ll claim will be based on the severity of your injuries and how they have affected you. While no two firefighter injury compensation claims are the same, a settlement might cover:
- Loss of earnings (and future earnings).
- Care costs.
- Loss of amenity – the impact your injuries have on your usual activities.
- Physical pain caused by your injuries.
- Psychiatric injuries like depression, anxiety and PTSD.
- Travel expenses.
- Private medical costs.
- Home or vehicle adaptations to try and improve your quality of life if you are left disabled.
If your firefighter injury claim is accepted by one of our solicitors, they’ll do all they can to try and secure the maximum possible compensation payment to cover all of your sufferings.
The Judicial College publish guideline compensation figures each year. We’ve used their latest data to create the firefighter injury compensation calculator below so that you can see how much might be awarded for your injuries.
To ascertain the severity of your injuries, the claims process requires that you have an independent medical assessment. This will usually be booked with a local medical expert. During the meeting, your injuries will be examined and you’ll be asked to explain how they’ve affected you. The report from the meeting (that’s sent to all parties involved in your claim) will explain your prognosis.
If you decide to start a compensation claim against the fire service, you’ll need as much evidence as possible to prove how the accident happened and how badly you were injured. The type of information you could use includes:
- Medical notes – from the hospital, GP surgery or minor injuries unit that diagnosed your injuries and treated them.
- Dashcam or CCTV footage. If this is available, try to secure it quickly before it is deleted.
- Incident report forms. You should report any injuries to your employer so they can log them in their accident report book. Your copy can be supplied as evidence to prove where and when you were injured.
- Witness Information. In some cases, your solicitor might need to gather witness statements to help prove how the accident happened.
- Photographs. If you can do so safely, you should try to take pictures of the accident scene. Additionally, it’s worth taking photos of any visible injuries throughout your recovery.
Please call an advisor if you’d like advice on how to secure evidence or if you’d like us to review any you’ve collected so far.
Any firefighter injury claim must be made within a 3-year limitation period for an accident at work. This will commence from either:
- The date of your accident; or
- The date your injuries or illness (such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis) were diagnosed.
It is often easier to collect evidence to support your claim if you begin the process sooner rather than later. Additionally, if liability is accepted early on in the claims process, your solicitor could request interim payments before the claim is finalised to cover the cost of private medical treatment or other immediate out-of-pocket expenses.
You have legal protection against any type of disciplinary action based on an honest personal injury claim. The fire service cannot sack you, demote you, block promotion or treat you any differently for making a legitimate personal injury claim against them. If that were to happen, you may have grounds to bring a separate unfair or constructive dismissal claim.
We’re happy to help if you’ve decided to start the firefighter injury claims process. If you call our team on 0800 6524 881 today, an advisor will explain your options once they’ve reviewed your claim.
There are no legal fees to pay upfront if your claim is taken on as our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service. Legal fees will only be deducted from your compensation if the claim is won.
To discuss a firefighter injury claim in more detail, please use live chat or call our free advice centre.