£5.3m award in Claim for Burned Foot at Work

A welder called Ignacio Llamas was recently awarded £5.3 million as compensation in a claim for a burned foot burn at work when he suffered severe burns when a molten piece of metal broke loose and slid down his foot.

The  piece of metal burned through a special protective Tyvek suit, slid down Llamas jeans and into his rubber boot, and burned the top of his foot. Llamas was carrying work in a confined area and it took some time to remove his boot and take the molten metal off his foot.

Llamas was not wearing protective leather boots at the time, which are normally worn by welders. Welders’ trousers normally cover the upper part of the boots to prevent anything falling into them. Llamas was wearing his rubber boots that cover the jean with a gap for falling debris. This meant that his employers were found negligent in their actions.

The accident took place in February 2007 and the legal relationships were complicated by various subcontracting agreements. The jury assessed liability between different parties – the  contractor Altair Strickland at 19 percent; Certified Safety Specialists at 50 percent; Llamas’ actual employer, Turnaround Welding Services at 30 percent; and Llamas at just 1 percent,.  The jury practically found that Llamas was not to blame for his  injury.

Turnaround Welding, the employer was insured by a Worker’s Compensation program and Altair Strickland settled before the case for substantially less.

The burn was also compounded when a Certified Safety Specialist employee instructed Llamas to attend a doctor who did not correctly treat the wound after an emergency doctor said he suffered third-degree burns. The following infection made the injury worse.