For good reason, many products containing dangerous chemicals are locked away and only used by trained professionals. However, accidents involving hazardous substances do happen. They can lead to very serious injuries or cause industrial illnesses such as mesothelioma to develop. If you suffered from exposure to dangerous chemicals because of somebody else’s negligence, a hazardous substances compensation claim might be possible. We’ll show you when you might be able to claim, how a personal injury solicitor could help and what you could be compensated for.
Proving that a dangerous substance has caused you to suffer can be challenging. Don’t worry, though as we’re here to help. Our advisors are available to assess your claim and to provide free advice in a no-obligation consultation. This means you could be partnered with a solicitor on our panel if they agree that your claim is strong enough. If so, they’ll provide representation on a No Win No, Fee basis. As such, you won’t pay any legal fees upfront so your solicitor can begin working on your claim right away.
To speak to us now about your chances of claiming hazardous substances compensation, please call 0800 652 1345 today. To learn more before calling, please continue reading.
What are hazardous substances?
Hazardous substances are chemicals, irritants or products that are known to pose a health risk. The type of risk will depend on the item and how exposure occurs. For example, some cleaning products will cause burns if they come into contact with the skin while inhalation of fumes from other products can cause lung damage and internal burns.
The Control of Substances Hazardous To Health Regulations 2022 (COSHH) is a piece of legislation designed to manage how dangerous products are used and stored. Employers should therefore try to protect you from exposure to dangerous chemicals, fumes, mists, vapours, dusts and gases.
If you’ve been injured by a hazardous substance because the rules weren’t followed, you could be entitled to compensation for any subsequent illnesses or injuries.
Common hazardous substances
Some of the most common substances that can lead to health problems include:
- Carbon monoxide.
- PCB (PolyChlorinated Biphenyl).
- Air pollution.
- Contaminated soil.
Other substances can also lead to serious illnesses or side effects. If you’ve suffered because of a toxic chemical or substance not listed here, get in touch and we’ll review your claim for free.
Symptoms caused by exposure to hazardous substances
A personal injury claim for suffering caused by dangerous substances can be based on any type of symptoms, diseases or conditions including:
Can I make a claim for hazardous substances compensation?
Our personal injury lawyers can only help with claims where there’s a fair chance you’ll be awarded compensation. As such, before agreeing to work for you, they’ll check whether:
- The defendant owed you (the claimant) a duty of care legally; and
- Negligence by the defendant led to an incident or accident involving a hazardous substance; and
- You were injured or made ill as a result.
The complexity of claiming for exposure to dangerous chemicals means that we would always suggest taking on legal representation. If you work with our solicitors, their experience could be the difference between receiving a fair amount of compensation or not being compensated at all.
Injured by a hazardous substance at work
Employers have a legal duty to try and protect staff whilst working because of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As a result, they must carry out regular risk assessments and remove as many dangers as possible. You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured by hazardous substances at work because:
- Adequate training was not provided.
- Dangerous chemicals were not stored properly.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as breathing apparatus or protective goggles were not provided by your employer.
- Unsafe or unsuitable products were provided by your employer.
- Poor ventilation.
- There was not a proper procedure in place on how to deal with chemical spillages or similar incidents.
Work staff also have a duty of care when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. As such, if you failed to follow safety guidance provided by your employer and your actions led to your injuries, then a claim might not be possible.
Please speak to one of our advisors about a hazardous substance compensation claim if you believe your employer was to blame for your accident at work.
Work-related industrial diseases caused by hazardous substances
It’s important to point out that exposure to dangerous substances doesn’t always involve an immediate injury. In some cases, your illness could come years or even decades after you were exposed to the chemical.
The most common example of this is where the symptoms of asbestos exposure may not be apparent until later in life. However, even if you don’t work for the same employer (or even if they are not still trading), you could still be compensated.
Exposure to hazardous substances in public places
Although many hazardous substances compensation claims are related to workplace incidents, you could still claim if you’ve been injured in a public place. Some examples of when this could be the case include:
- If you were burned by chlorine in a swimming pool accident due to poor quality controls.
- Where you were exposed to carbon monoxide in a restaurant accident because an open fire had not been maintained properly.
- If you’re injured in a supermarket because a cleaning product was damaged and leaking on the shelf.
Please use our chat feature to speak to an advisor right now for free advice.
How much compensation for exposure to a hazardous substance?
As you can only make a successful personal injury claim for your given injury or illness once, it’s important to make sure you consider exactly how you’ve suffered from the exposure. As well as claiming for your physical injuries, it’s vital to consider any costs or financial losses as well. If you make a successful hazardous substances claim, it could provide compensation to cover:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by, for example, burns and other injuries.
- Psychological suffering caused by distress, anxiety or depression linked to your injuries.
- How your injuries or ill health have affected your normal daily activities and hobbies.
- The time somebody else needed to support you while you were ill (including professional care costs).
- Prescription fees and other medical expenses.
- Travelling costs.
- The cost of replacing clothes or other personal belongings damaged during your accident.
- Lost income and future reductions in earnings (for longer-term injuries).
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to help you deal with long-term conditions. For example, to make it easier to access your home in a wheelchair or to provide storage for oxygen bottles to help with respiratory problems from exposure to asbestos.
If you agree to work with one of our solicitors, they’ll try to find out exactly how you’ve suffered so that they can try to secure the highest possible compensation payout possible.
How will my solicitor determine how I’ve been affected?
The extent of your injuries needs to be assessed independently during any personal injury claim. For this reason, if your claim proceeds, your solicitor will book you in to see a medical expert (usually locally). In the meeting, the specialist will talk to you about how you’ve been affected before examining any physical injuries that remain. Once they’ve completed their assessment, a report will be produced to explain your prognosis. Your solicitor will review the report to help determine the compensation you might be entitled to.
Providing proof for a hazardous substances compensation claim
Whether your hazardous substances claim is against a private company or your employer, it will more than likely end up on the desk of an insurance company. While they will pay compensation that is warranted, your solicitor will need to convince them about how your accident occurred and who was responsible for it. For this reason, they’ll try to collect proof such as:
- CCTV footage. If your accident was recorded by security cameras, you should ask for a copy of the footage. It will usually be deleted within a month so you should act quickly.
- Photographic evidence. Similarly, photographs of the accident scene can help to demonstrate what happened, especially if they were taken in the immediate aftermath of exposure to a hazardous substance and before anything was moved.
- Witness statements. You should let your solicitor know the contact details of anyone else who saw the accident and exposure happen. Their statement could help if liability for the incident is denied.
- Medical reports. In hazardous substances compensation claims, medical reports can be acquired from a hospital that treated you to prove your diagnosis and the extent of any injuries.
- Accident report forms. You should ask for a copy of any incident report relating to your accident. This could simply be a page from the accident report book or a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if they investigated the incident.
In addition to the above, it’s also worth writing down what happened to make it easier to recall the events leading up to the exposure. Also, try to keep track of any costs you’ve incurred or any events you had to miss out on because of your injuries.
Hazardous substances claim time limits
In the UK, there’s a 3-year time limit for personal injury compensation claims. To clarify, the limitation period will begin from:
- The date the exposure to a hazardous substance in which you were injured occurred; or
- Your date of knowledge i.e. when a condition was diagnosed by a doctor and linked to exposure to a dangerous substance.
If your claim is started early and liability for your injuries is accepted fairly early, your solicitor could ask for an interim payment to cover any financial problems caused by your injuries. For example, they could claim for the cost of private medical treatment or loss of earnings.
Additionally, an early start to the claims process can make it much easier to find the proof needed to support your claim.
No Win, No Fee claims
We realise that the prospect of losing money in legal fees may put you off from making a hazardous substances injury claim. That’s why our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for any claim they take on. As a result, you won’t need to pay solicitor’s fees upfront and you won’t pay any if the claim fails.
During your claim, your solicitor’s main aims will be to:
- Discuss your hazardous substances claim in detail with you so that they are fully aware of how you have suffered.
- Collect proof that strongly supports how you were injured.
- Arrange for an independent medical assessment.
- File your claim with the defendant and handle all communication with their representatives.
- Answer any queries raised and file more proof (if available and if needed) to try and counter any objections.
- Negotiate on your behalf to try and secure the highest level of compensation possible.
The only time you’ll pay for this work is if you are compensated. If that happens, a set percentage of your compensation will be deducted (called a success fee) to cover your solicitor’s time and costs.
Start a hazardous substances compensation claim today
By calling our advisors on 0800 652 1345 your claim will be assessed, for free, by one of our team. They’ll go over your options with you and answer any questions you might have during the call. If you decide to proceed to a claim, they could refer you to one of our personal injury solicitors.
Any claim that’s taken on will be managed on a No Win, No Fee basis meaning legal fees only have to be paid if you receive a compensation payout.
If you’d rather talk about your hazardous substances compensation claim online, you can use our live chat feature.