While you’re at work, your employer has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to try and stop you from being injured. As well as trying to prevent accidents, they must also make changes where necessary to try and prevent industrial diseases such as occupational deafness, repetitive strain injuries and respiratory conditions. If your employer has failed to take the necessary steps and you’ve suffered an industrial disease as a result, you could be entitled to industrial disease compensation.
Our specialists are on hand if you believe you have an industrial disease claim. When you call, you’ll be given free legal advice after your case has been reviewed in a no-obligation consultation. You can ask any questions you may have and, if your claim is strong enough, we will connect you with a personal injury solicitor from our team. All claims they agree to work on are managed on a No Win, No Fee basis so you will only have to pay for your solicitor’s work if you receive a compensation payment.
Please continue reading to learn more about the types of industrial diseases that could lead to a claim. Alternatively, we’re available on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like to discuss your claim right away.
What is an industrial disease?
An industrial disease is a condition that has been caused by unsafe working conditions or exposure to certain substances in the workplace. Industrial diseases can lead to respiratory problems, skin conditions, muscle damage, nerve damage and mobility problems amongst other things.
Can I claim compensation for an industrial disease?
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a legal duty to try and protect the welfare of their staff whilst working. That means that you could be entitled to start an industrial disease compensation claim if:
- Your employer breached their duty of care through an act of negligence; and
- That negligence led to you being exposed to unsafe working conditions;
- You suffered an industrial disease because of that negligence.
Proving that you have been made ill because of your employer’s negligence can be quite a challenge at times. For that reason, we would always suggest that you take on legal representation if you do decide to make a claim. We believe that if you work with one of our personal injury lawyers, you’ll stand a higher chance of being compensated and receiving the right level of compensation.
Occupational disease statistics
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports on work-related diseases and illnesses each year. In their statistics covering 2020/21 in particular, they report that 12,000 deaths a year are linked to past exposure at work. The breakdown of those deaths shows us that they were caused by:
- COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (34%).
- Non-asbestos-related cancer (23%).
- Asbestos-related cancer (20%).
- Mesothelioma (20%).
- Other diseases (3%).
Away from lung diseases which are one of the most common industrial disease compensation claims, the HSE reports that 1.7 million employees are suffering from the following work-related illnesses:
- Stress at work, anxiety or depression (50%).
- Musculoskeletal disorders (28%).
- Other types of illness (22%).
If you are suffering from a type of work-related disease or illness, you could be entitled to industrial disease compensation if your employer’s negligence was to blame.
Common types of industrial disease claims
In this section, we’ve listed a selection of common industrial disease claims. They include:
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) including carpal tunnel syndrome, vibration white finger and bursitis.
- Respiratory diseases including lung cancer, occupational asthma and silicosis.
- Sensory problems including industrial deafness.
- Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
- Skin conditions including occupational dermatitis and urticaria.
- Asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
If you or a loved one have suffered from any occupational disease (including those not listed here), please get in touch to learn more about your options.
Jobs most at risk of industrial diseases
While most jobs will have some risks associated with them, those working in certain roles or industries will be more at risk of contracting an industrial illness including:
- Construction and demolition workers.
- Warehouse or factory workers.
- Workers that use a computer throughout the day.
- Farmers and agricultural workers.
- Health care workers.
- Military staff.
- Flax, cotton or hemp workers.
This is just a sample of the types of roles with an increased risk of industrial disease. Our solicitors could help you to start an industrial disease claim regardless of the type of job you do. Please let us know if you’d like us to review your case for free.
What should employers do to reduce the risk of industrial diseases?
As part of their duty of care, employers should consider the risks of any role and make adjustments where necessary. To help prevent industrial diseases they should carry out regular risk assessments and:
- Ensure enclosed workspaces are properly ventilated.
- Allow staff proper rest breaks.
- Ensure all staff are provided with adequate health and safety training.
- Consider installing soundproofing measures where allowable noise levels are exceeded.
- Provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as ear defenders where risks cannot be completely removed.
- Use low-vibration tools where possible.
- Rotate roles so that staff aren’t exposed to risks for prolonged periods.
- Provide a warm and dry rest area for those working outside in the cold or rain.
- Carry out workstation assessments for those working with computers for prolonged periods.
These are just a few of the steps that your employer could take to help reduce industrial illnesses and diseases. Failure to do so could mean that they’ve breached their duty of care and might entitle you to make an industrial disease claim for any subsequent suffering.
How much compensation for an industrial disease can I claim?
When filing an industrial disease claim, it’s important to include all aspects of your suffering. This is because a compensation payout may be based on any suffering you’ve endured (general damages) and any financial losses (special damages) so including every detail can help to ensure you’re compensated correctly.
If one of our solicitors represents you in an industrial disease claim, they will find out exactly how you’ve suffered by discussing your disease in detail with you. They could then go on to try and claim compensation to cover:
- Any physical suffering your symptoms have caused.
- Any psychological injuries i.e PTSD, depression, distress or anxiety.
- Loss of earnings if your injuries prevent you from working.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal family or social activities and hobbies.
- Care costs if you need support with daily tasks because of your industrial illness.
- Medical expenses including private physiotherapy or prescription costs.
- Travel costs including parking fees, fuel or parking fees linked to a hospital appointment for example.
- Future loss of earnings if future suffering will prevent you from earning for the long term.
- The cost of adapting your home or car to make it more bearable to cope with any ongoing symptoms.
How are industrial injuries assessed?
If you claim compensation for a work-related disease or illness, you will need to prove the extent of your suffering. This is not something your solicitor can do as they are not medically trained. As such, they will arrange an appointment for an independent medical assessment during your claim.
At your meeting, a medical expert will examine your injuries and talk with you about how they have affected you. They will then prepare a report to explain your prognosis. The report will go to all parties involved in your claim and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you’ll receive if your claim is successful.
Providing proof for an industrial disease compensation claim
As with other types of work injury claims, if you sue your employer for the suffering caused by industrial disease, they’ll pass the claim to their insurers. It is more than likely that they will refuse to pay compensation unless your solicitor can demonstrate how your employer’s negligence led to your suffering. The sort of proof that might help you to win your claim include:
- Medical reports. It is important to have any work-related illnesses diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Your medical records can be useful proof to show how you’ve suffered.
- Investigation reports and correspondence. If you raised concerns about your working conditions, any emails or letters you received could be used as proof. Additionally, an occupational therapy report could be useful too if your employer asked for one.
- Witness statements. In some cases, your solicitor might ask colleagues to provide a statement about your working conditions. This might be the case if your employer denies your version of events.
- Photographs and video recordings. If photos or video footage exists of your workplace while you were working there, they could be a good way to prove the cause of your suffering.
- Financial records. If you wish to claim back any losses incurred as a result of your injuries or illness, you should supply copies of any bank, pension or benefits statements along with any receipts.
If you have secured proof to support your industrial disease claim already, an advisor could check this over with you during your claims consultation.
Will my industrial disease claim go to court?
It’s important to note that our solicitors will always try to settle industrial disease claims out of court. That’s because court dates can cause unnecessary stress levels, take a long time and be expensive.
Wherever possible, your solicitor will try to secure an amicable settlement and only seek a court hearing if a compensation offer is unacceptably low.
Industrial disease claim time limits
In a normal personal injury claim, you’d usually have 3 years to seek compensation from the date of your accident. As the symptoms of an industrial disease can take many months or years to develop, your limitation period will start from the date your condition was diagnosed by a doctor.
If you have lost a loved one following an industrial disease such as mesothelioma, your time limit will begin from the date you found out the cause of their death.
Importantly, if you are struggling financially because of your industrial disease, your solicitor might be able to request that you are paid an interim payment before the claim has been processed. This could help you with the cost of medical treatment or cover a drop in income.
We would usually suggest that your solicitor will find it easier to secure proof to support your industrial disease claim if you start the process as soon as you’re able to.
No Win, No Fee claims
We realise how stressful compensation claims can be especially when thinking about the legal fees. However, our solicitors can reduce the stress a little by working on a No Win, No Fee basis for any industrial disease claim they take on.
If your claim is accepted, your solicitor won’t need to be paid in advance but they will:
- Review your claim thoroughly with you.
- Collect proof to support your claim.
- File the claim with your employer and deal with their insurers on your behalf.
- Provide more proof where possible if the insurer denies liability.
- Try to ensure that you are fully compensated for all of your suffering.
If a compensation offer is received, it will be discussed with you before it is accepted. Where compensation is paid, a set percentage (as set out in the conditional fee agreement) will be deducted as a success fee to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work.
To see if you could make an industrial disease compensation claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, please get in touch today.
Start an industrial disease claim today
Now that you’ve read our guide on industrial disease compensation claims, please give us a call on 0800 652 1345 if you’ve decided that it’s time to take action. One of our friendly advisors will talk you through the claims process and assess your chances of being compensated for free.
All claims handled by our solicitors are processed on a No Win, No Fee basis so there will be no legal fees unless you are awarded compensation.
Please use the provided live chat service to find out more about making an industrial disease claim.