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Claiming for an Industrial Disease

Industrial injury compensation claims

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.

But, if you’ve suffered an industrial injury that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make an industrial injury compensation claim.

Under to 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 to find out on 0800 234 6438 for free. They’ll never pressure you into starting a claim and will be happy to answer your questions.

What is classed as an industrial injury?

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.

What types of industrial disease can you claim compensation for?

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:

  • Pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma and asbestosis – lung conditions which generally affect those who have been exposed to asbestos dust or fibres.
  • Industrial deafness or hearing loss – partial or complete deafness which arises as a result of being overly exposed to a noisy environment.
  • Vibration white finger also known as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), this painful condition affects people who have worked with vibrating equipment, for example, road drills.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI) painful inflammation of the tendons in the arm and hand, usually caused by repeated small movements.
  • Dermatitis – painful, inflamed skin which has been exposed to dangerous substances or chemicals.
  • Bronchitis and emphysema – chronic lung diseases usually caused by breathing in dust particles such as when working in a mine.
  • Asthma and lung disease – silicosis, occupational asthma, lung cancer and asbestosis can all be caused by exposure to dust or fumes containing irritants.
  • Occupational cancers – lung cancer, nasal cancer, skin cancer and bladder cancer can all be triggered by carcinogenic chemicals and hazardous dusts.
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee – this is the most common form of arthritis. It causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, It is often an affliction which affects coal miners.
  • Skin conditions/ dermatitis – being exposed to hazardous chemicals at work can lead to a number of skin conditions, including occupational dermatitis.
  • Cataracts – commonly affecting glass and metal workers and stokers, this affliction of the eyes is caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to radiation from red-hot or white-hot material.
  • Osteoarthritis of the hip – commonly suffered by farm workers, this causes the cartilage in your hip joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher. This can cause swelling, pain and stiffness.

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 injury or 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.

DID YOU KNOW: There were 2,446 mesothelioma deaths in 2018 and it is estimated that there were also a similar number of deaths due to asbestos-related lung cancer

What are the common causes of an industrial injury?

An industrial accident can happen in a number of ways, with some of the most common causes being:

  • Insufficient safety protection – employers are legally obliged to provide their workers with ‘personal protective equipment’ that allows them to carry out the tasks required of them as safely as possible.
  • Inadequate training – all workers should be given appropriate training to allow them carry out their jobs safely. This would include, for example, being taught how to use machinery without harming themselves and how to handle chemicals safely.
  • Unsafe machinery – employers have a duty to carry out regular inspections to ensure any equipment or machinery used by workers is safe. In addition, all electrical equipment must by law be PAT (portable appliance testing) tested; electric shocks and other injuries can result if these are not carried out.
  • Clutter and spillages – slips, trips and falls can cause all manner of injuries, from sprains and abrasions to broken bones. These can result from objects left lying around or not stored properly, as can spillages that are not cleaned up promptly.
  • Vehicle accidents – inadequate training, supervision or maintenance of heavy duty vehicles such as forklift trucks can result in all manner of injuries.
  • Lifting – strains, sprains and back or neck problems can result if someone is forced to carry heavy loads without the correct training or the right equipment.

Claim industrial injuries compensation

If you think you’ve developed an industrial injury 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 a specialist personal injury solicitor who will ask some more questions about your case and will 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 (up to 25%).

To make a claim, your solicitor will need to gather evidence which shows that your employer was negligent in their duty of care. 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 personal injury compensation claim.

How long do I have to make an industrial injury 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.

What is Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) and can it be backdated?

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 (IIDB) you receive will depend on 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:

Assessed level of disablement weekly amount

  • 100% – £182.90
  • 90% – £164.61
  • 80% – £146.32
  • 70% – £128.03
  • 60% – £109.74
  • 50% – £91.45
  • 40% – £73.16
  • 30% – £54.87
  • 20% – £36.58

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.

What is the process for bringing an industrial injury claim?

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.

Their aim is to encourage:

  • More contact between the parties
  • Better and earlier exchange of information
  • Better investigation by both sides
  • To put the parties in a position where they may be able to settle cases fairly and early without litigation
  • To enable proceedings. to run to the court’s timetable and efficiently, if litigation does become necessary

Mesothelioma compensation claims have their own Practice Direction which outlines the procedure that should be followed (Practice Direction 3D – Mesothelioma Claims).

How much compensation will I receive?

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:

  • How your illness came about
  • The seriousness of your condition
  • The effect the industrial disease has had on your life
  • Any changes to your life expectancy
  • The financial loss you suffered as a result of your illness (for example, if you have to take time off work to recover or if you have to give up work completely)
  • Whether the other party accepted liability (responsibility)
  • Any care or support you’ll continue to need in the future

When all these factors are taken into account, you may be entitled to claim damages for:

  • Pain and suffering (mental and physical)
  • Loss of earnings or pension
  • Any additional medical treatment, prescriptions or rehabilitation you may require
  • Physiotherapy fees
  • Care and assistance from family members
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (such as travel expenses to and from the hospital)
  • Hospice fees
  • Adaptations required to your home or vehicle
  • Funeral expenses

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).

Can you make a compensation claim if your partner has died of an industrial disease?

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:

  • The dependant of the deceased person
  • A family member of the deceased person
  • The estate of the deceased

If a compensation 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:

  • Bereavement – the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the death
  • Dependency – if you relied on the deceased for some or all of your income
  • Funeral expenses

Can I make a claim industrial injuries disablement compensation on behalf of someone with a mental impairment?

You can claim on behalf of another adult if they are classed as a ‘protected person’ – that is, they have mental impairment which renders them incapable of making their own decisions.

The employer that caused my illness has gone out of business, can I still claim?

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.

Will I lose my job if I claim against my employer?

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.

What if I don’t know where I contracted my industrial disease?

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.

If you feel that you’ve developed any industrial injury or 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.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author 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.