Industrial Disease Claims
Occupation and industrial diseases can be life-threatening or at the very least disruptive to your life. Making an industrial disease compensation claim - sometimes referred to as an industrial illness claim - with the help of a legal professional allows you to recover finances to cover aspects of your struggle with the disease. You should not have to suffer financially due to something that was not your fault.
If you or a loved one have been affected by an industrial disease caused due to workplace negligence, JMW is here to help. Our team of solicitors is known for taking on the most complex of cases, helping you get the compensation you deserve. To speak to our experts and start your industrial claim, call us today on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, complete our online contact form and we will call back at a time that suits you.
How JMW Can Help
Andrew Lilley heads the industrial disease team and has more than 20 years’ experience in recovering compensation on behalf of victims. He provides advice and assistance across the spectrum of industrial disease claims, with a specialism in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease cases. He also works closely with asbestos support groups and campaigns on behalf of the victims of asbestos-related diseases.
Our service is designed to be fast and efficient, helping you to achieve the best possible outcome with the least amount of stress. We are able to do this on a consistent basis by offering:
- A no win, no fee service
- A specialist fast-track court procedure for mesothelioma sufferers
- Access to a panel of leading medical experts
- Home visits throughout the UK (in certain circumstances)
- No upfront fees
Our solicitors are experts in industrial disease claims, with an extensive understanding of the legal rights of employees and the precautions that should be taken by employers to protect you. We are on hand to give you the advice you need and the compensation to which you are entitled.
What are Industrial Diseases and How are They Caused?
Industrial diseases are medical conditions or illnesses that are contracted or aggravated by exposure to hazardous substances or unsafe practices in the workplace. They can be caused by:
- A lack of proper safety measures
- Failure to provide appropriate protective equipment
- Prolonged exposure to chemicals
- Other harmful agents
These diseases are often the result of employers failing to adhere to proper safety regulations, leading to harmful exposure that affects an individual's health and quality of life. If this is true for your case, you may be able to claim industrial disease compensation.
What are Common Examples of Industrial Diseases?
Some of the common types of industrial diseases include:
- Asbestosis: caused by exposure to asbestos
- Occupational asthma: resulting from inhaling dust, fumes or other irritants
- Vibration white finger: caused by regular use of vibrating tools
- Occupational dermatitis: a skin disorder resulting from contact with harmful substances
- Noise-induced hearing loss: prolonged exposure to loud noises
- Repetitive strain injury (RSI): continuous repetitive movements
The risks of these conditions can be reduced with proper workplace safety and adherence to regulations designed to protect workers from exposure to harmful substances and practices.
Which Types of Workers are Most at Risk of Industrial Disease?
Employees that are most at risk of occupational conditions include:
- Construction workers
- Factory workers
- Health care providers
- Coal miners
However, industrial diseases could be contracted in a range of different jobs and industries. If you feel you have suffered from a disease that was caused by the negligence of your employer, get in touch with us today.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also considers BSE and anthrax to be potential industrial diseases.
What are Employers' Responsibilities Related to Industrial Diseases?
Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and by law have a duty to do everything they can to protect their workers and ensure they remain safe at work.
What this involves depends on the industry, but broadly speaking employers must make sure:
- Employees and anyone else who might be affected by the business are protected from anything that could cause them harm
- Risks are regularly assessed within the workplace
- Information about those risks are communicated to employees, and training is provided on how to deal with the risks
- Consultation with employees on health and safety issues takes place regularly
- Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided
What Compensation Can I Receive for an Industrial Disease Claim?
The compensation for an industrial disease claim varies depending on the various impacts it has had on your life. Typically, compensation for personal injury claims, including industrial disease claims, is split into two categories:
- General damages: including compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the illness
- Special damages: covering financial losses, such as lost earnings, medical costs, travel expenses to medical appointments, and any necessary adaptations to your home or lifestyle
If the disease has long-term or permanent effects that will lead to ongoing costs or a reduced ability to work, compensation may also include projections for future losses.
The exact amount and type of compensation will vary based on individual circumstances. Call us today and we will be able to give you an estimate of how much compensation you may be able to claim.
How Do I Prove That My Industrial Disease is Work-Related?
To prove that an industrial disease is work-related, you must gather evidence that demonstrates a clear link between your working conditions and the illness. Your solicitor will help you to do this, identifying and collecting sources of information, including:
- Medical records: obtain a medical diagnosis that connects the disease to specific workplace exposures or conditions
- Work history: documenting your work history, including roles, tasks and the substances or environments you were exposed to
- Witness statements: colleagues or other witnesses who can confirm the working conditions or your exposure to specific hazards
- Employer records: records of safety measures, training, and other relevant documentation may be used to demonstrate negligence or a lack of proper care
- Expert opinion: specialists in industrial disease law or medical professionals with expertise in occupational illnesses may be consulted to provide professional opinions on the case
What if My Employer Disputes Liability for My Industrial Disease?
If your employer disputes liability for your industrial disease, it doesn't mean the end of your claim. Disputing liability is not uncommon, and it's where the expertise of industrial disease solicitors becomes invaluable.
The importance of strong evidence becomes even more crucial. Our experienced solicitors can negotiate with the employer or their insurance company, presenting the evidence and legal arguments to support your claim.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Court Proceedings
Sometimes, disputes can be resolved through mediation or other ADR methods, which can be faster and less confrontational than going to court. We always try to mediate with the other parties, but if a settlement cannot be reached, your solicitors may recommend taking the case to court. This can be a longer process, but with skilled representation, you can still achieve a successful outcome.
Throughout the process, your legal team will keep you informed, provide advice and support your rights.
Our knowledgeable industrial disease claims solicitors can guide you through the legal process, advocating for your rights and working towards the compensation you deserve.
What is the Time Limit for Filing an Industrial Disease Claim?
The general time limit for filing an industrial disease claim is three years from the date you first became aware of the illness and its connection to your work environment. However, industrial diseases may take years to manifest, so this limit often starts from the date of diagnosis or when you first realised the illness might be work-related.
How Long Does it Take to Settle an Industrial Disease Claim?
The time it takes to settle an industrial disease claim can vary widely based on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate and various legal factors. Simple cases might be resolved within a few months, while more complex cases may take several years to reach a settlement or judgement.
Factors that can influence the timeline include:
- The complexity of proving the link between the disease and workplace conditions
- The availability and cooperation of witnesses
- Negotiations with insurance companies or responsible parties
- Court schedules and procedural requirements if the case goes to trial
Working with an experienced law firm like JMW will ensure that your claim is handled professionally and efficiently.
FAQs About Industrial Disease Claims
How do I know if I have an industrial disease?
Recognising an industrial disease can be challenging as symptoms may vary depending on the type and level of exposure. Common signs may include:
- Respiratory issues
- Skin irritation
- Hearing loss
- Persistent pain in joints or muscles
If you experience any unusual symptoms and have a history of working in an environment with known hazards, it's essential to consult with a medical professional.
Can I make a claim for an industrial infection?
An infection caused by exposure to harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, internal parasites or infectious proteins, while in the working environment is known as an occupational infection. Inadvertent exposure may occur in various occupations, including agricultural workers, healthcare workers and piercing or tattoo artists.
If you work with such organisms as part of your job, for example as a lab technician, making a claim may be a less straightforward prospect. However, if you have been exposed inadvertently, or as the result of someone’s negligence, you should still contact a solicitor to discuss making a claim.
Can family members make a claim if a loved one died due to an industrial disease?
If an individual has died as a result of an industrial disease, their dependents or the executor of their estate may be eligible to make a claim on their behalf. This can include compensation for loss of support, funeral expenses and potentially other damages. Working with experienced industrial disease solicitors, such as those at JMW, can help navigate the complex legal process and ensure that the family's rights are upheld.
Can I make a claim if I am no longer employed by the company?
You can make an industrial disease claim even if you are no longer employed by the company where the exposure occurred. Industrial diseases can take years to manifest, so it's not uncommon for symptoms to appear after leaving employment. As long as you can prove the link between the illness and the conditions at the workplace, and do so within the legal time limit, you should be able to bring a compensation claim. Consulting with industrial disease compensation claims experts, like those at JMW, can make the process significantly more straightforward.
What if my employer has gone out of business?
Even if the employer responsible for your industrial disease has gone out of business, it may still be possible to make a claim. The claim is typically made against the employer's liability insurance, which should be in place at the time the exposure occurred. Our skilled industrial disease claims solicitors may be able to trace the relevant insurance policies and pursue the claim against the insurer. It might be more complex, but with the right legal guidance, you can still pursue justice and compensation for an industrial illness even if the company no longer exists.