Everyone has the right to work in an environment which is as safe as it possibly can be, and this means employers should follow modern health and safety regulations to avoid accidents from happening.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other associated statutes and regulations, employers are legally required to make sure the working environment does not put the health of their employees at risk. Occasionally, however, these rules aren’t followed – and this means you may have been injured as a result.
If you’ve developed a work-related illness caused by your employer’s negligence, then we know how difficult that can be to come to terms with. You may be able to claim compensation to cover the impact it’s had on your life and those around you.
If you’re unsure whether you have a valid claim, you can speak to a trained legal adviser in complete confidence for free on 0800 234 6438 to find out. They’ll never pressure you into starting a claim and will be happy to answer your questions.
An industrial disease is the term used for most illnesses or conditions triggered by your employment. Such an affliction could arise if you were employed or if you were on an employment training scheme or course when the accident or event happened.
Illnesses and conditions caused by negligence in the workplace sometimes develop over a very long time, and can be painful, distressing and debilitating. Some examples of the most common industrial illnesses which you may be able to make a claim for include:
It’s important to remember though that these are just examples – if your own experience isn’t listed above, then please don’t worry. If you feel that you’ve developed any industrial disease as a direct result of negligence on the part of your employer, then you should speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or submit the online claim form to request a call back.
An industrial disease can happen in a number of ways, with some of the most common causes being:
If you think you’ve developed an industrial disease due to an employer’s negligence, you can call a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
If you decide you’re ready to go ahead, you’ll be passed on to an expert solicitor who will ask some more questions about your case and will be able to make your claim on a no win no fee basis. Quite simply, this means that if you lose your case you don’t have to pay your solicitor anything. If you win, your solicitor is allowed to take a “success fee” from your compensation. The amount you pay will be agreed beforehand and will generally be only a small percentage of your final compensation package.
To make a claim, your solicitor will need to gather evidence which shows that your employer was negligent. This means they’ll have to prove that they owed you a duty of care (employers almost always do); that they failed in their duty of care to you, and that you suffered harm as a result.
To help your case, it can be useful for you to write an account of the effect your illness has had on you and your everyday life while it’s still fresh in your memory. If possible, you should also keep records of all the financial expenses you’ve had to pay as a result of your illness.
After your initial consultation with your solicitor, they’ll also arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will take into consideration the cause of your condition, the extent of your suffering, and the effect it’s had on your life. This information will then be used to help build your compensation claim.
In most cases it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to give yourself the highest chance of making a successful case – under the Limitation Act 1980, there’s normally a three-year time limit to bring a claim, after which the claim will be “time-barred” and you may be prohibited from starting a claim. However, with industrial diseases this three-year period can usually be counted from the date when you first realised you had the illness or how seriously it has affected you, which may be years after you left the job which caused the problem.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is a weekly benefit paid to workers who become disabled because of: an accident in their workplace; or due to certain prescribed diseases caused by their job; or while working on an approved employment training scheme or course. The amount of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit you receive will depend of the level of your disability. This will be assessed by a ‘medical advisor’ on a scale of 1 to 100%. Normally you must be assessed as 14% disabled or more to get the benefit. According to the government website, the below figures are a guide to the amount you may receive:
|Level of disablility||Weekly payment|
To claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, you need to provide your national insurance number and proof of your identity. A claim can be backdated for up to three months if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late.
Your compensation claim for an industrial disease will usually be brought by your specialist personal injury solicitor using the Pre-Action Protocol for Disease and Illness Claims. The pre-action protocol applies to all personal injury claims where the injury is not as the result of an accident but takes the form of an illness or disease. It sets standards and procedures that parties to a personal injury claim should observe before formal court proceedings are issued.
The protocol aims to encourage:
Mesothelioma compensation claims have their own Practice Direction which outlines the procedure that should be followed (Practice Direction 3D – Mesothelioma Claims).
Your solicitor will look at your case in detail so that they can get a good understanding of the effect your industrial illness has had on your lifestyle and finances, and they’ll do everything they can to get you the full amount of compensation you need. When calculating the amount of compensation you’re owed, they’ll take a number of factors into consideration, including:
When all these factors are taken into account, you may be able to claim damages for:
To get an idea of how much money you could claim, you can try our online compensation calculator which gives you an estimated figure based on your answers to some quick questions. The figures provided by this calculator do not include compensation for financial losses (such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, etc).
Sadly, some industrial diseases can prove fatal and you may want to bring a compensation claim if a loved one has died. You can do this is you are:
If a compensation claim is successfully brought on behalf of the estate, the compensation received will be distributed under the terms of the deceased’s will. If the deceased did not have a will, the compensation will be paid out according to the rules of intestacy.
If a loved one has died, you can claim compensation for:
You can claim on behalf of another adult if they are classed as a ‘protected person’ – that is, they have a mental impairment which renders them incapable of making their own decisions.
The simple answer is yes – your injury solicitor will attempt to trace your former employer’s insurers and bring a claim on your behalf. It doesn’t matter if your ex-employer has ceased trading or gone out of business.
Companies are required to have employers’ liability insurance, so if you make a claim against your employer, their insurer will pay the compensation. There are also laws in place to protect against the unfair dismissal of an employee because of a compensation claim. If your employers sack you or treat you adversely because you made a claim you will be entitled to take them to an employment tribunal, which can order you be paid compensation or even that you be reinstated.
If there’s more than one possible cause of your industrial disease (for example, if you were exposed to asbestos in more than one job), then you’ll be assessed by a medical expert and liability will be allocated among your former employers according to the evidence.
Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.
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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.