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Advice About Your Occupational Illness Claim

Last updated on January 21st, 2019 at 11:11 am

Key Points

  • We take your case a no win-no fee basis: if you lose, you pay nothing
  • Our occupational illness team is Legal 500-recommended
  • Employers have a duty of care to protect workers from known hazards and risks to their health, and have insurance to cover liability for employees’ injuries
  • There are strict time limits on bringing a claim: usually 3 years from the injury or date you became aware of the injury
  • It doesn’t matter if your employer is no longer trading or if the illness has developed a long time after your employment ended

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Want to read more about these subjects? Click on the links below to jump to each section:

What occupational illnesses or industrial diseases can I claim compensation for?

Some of the most common occupational illnesses to claim compensation for are:

What’s the definition of occupational illness or industrial disease?

An occupational illness is any chronic condition that happens to you as a result of your work. Industrial disease means the same: it’s something you contract while going about your everyday duties at work. Exposure to dust, chemicals, noise, vibration and fumes at work can cause suffering and even premature death. Employers in all industries have a duty of care to their employees and this is backed up by compliance legislation to ensure health and safety at work.

Occupational illness and industrial disease are different from occupational hazards (which may cause accidents) – such as a roofer falling from a height.

What do I have to do to claim?

Contact us for a free consultation as soon as you are aware that you may be suffering from an occupational illness or injury. Our personal injury experts will discuss your circumstances and assess them on your behalf. If we feel that you have a claim we we’ll take a number of steps to investigate and gather the evidence to proceed.

We’ll evaluate the likelihood of success based on the level and nature of injury or illness, who is at fault and other factors that affect the overall strength of your claim. We’ll also discuss the likely value of your claim.

Will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of cases don’t go to court. Most claims are settled out of court by negotiation with the other party.

How can I prove who I worked for?

You may have worked for more than one employer and can’t remember all the dates of your employment. We can obtain details of all your employers from 1960 from HMRC.

Can my employer dismiss me if I make a claim against them?

Employers are required, by law, to take out insurance to cover their liability against injuries to employees. If you make a claim against your employer, any compensation will be paid by out of the insurance.

You are protected by law from your employer dismissing you for making a claim. If you have any concerns about claiming you can contact us in confidence to discuss the circumstances.

How much is my claim worth?

The value of your claim will depend on a number factors including:

  • The nature and level of the injury or illness
  • Whether you recover fully or if the illness or injury has a long term effect on your health and wellbeing
  • The amount of any losses you incur as a result of the injury
  • You can claim compensation for the following things if they are a result of your injury:
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of amenity
  • Medical and nursing care costs
  • Special equipment needed to carry out daily activities and any costs involved in adapting your home
  • Other expenses incurred as a result of your injury, such as travel expenses incurred while receiving medical treatment.

Contact us now for a free initial consultation in which we can assess your case and discuss the possible value of your case.

Occupational Injury Timescales

How long do I have to make a claim? Is there a time limit?

If you’re considering making an occupational illness or injury claim it’s important to contact us as soon as possible. There are time limits for starting a personal injury claim and these depend upon the type of illness or injury involved.

If your injury was caused by someone’s negligence you must start court proceedings within 3 years of when you became aware you were suffering from a condition related to your work.  The court does have a discretion to allow cases to proceed outside that period, but only in limited circumstances. However, there are of course many illnesses and diseases that don’t become evident until many years after the event, such as asbestos-related conditions. You can read more about occupational illness claim timescales here.

If you think you’re suffering from an occupational illness or injury caused by your employment, you should obtain legal advice as soon as possible so that we can advise you on how the time limits affect your particular case.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Various factors affect how long it will take to settle a claim.

An important factor is whether or not we obtain an admission from the party at fault early in the process. If the person or company you’re claiming from denies liability the process is likely to be prolonged until we prove that they’re responsible. Witnesses can be helpful in this respect as they can add to the strength of your claim.

Identifying the defendant can also be an issue in some claims. For example, your employer may no longer be trading or may have been taken over. We’ll make enquiries to identify the business and check there is an insurer recorded for the period you worked there.

How much will it cost to pursue my claim?

We offer a no win – no fee service for occupational injury and illness claims, backed by after the event insurance.

How do Graysons get paid?

If we don’t win your claim for you, we don’t get paid. If we do win we claim our fees and expenses from the other side.

At the outset of your case, we will guarantee a maximum percentage deduction that will be made from your compensation to cover the success fee and insurance premium. It is therefore in our interests that we win your claim for you.

We have a very high success rate in pursuing occupational illness and industrial disease compensation claims, and you can be confident that your claim will be handled in a professional manner by experienced specialists.

Contact us for a free initial consultation in which we can assess your case.

Occupational Injury/Illness and Industrial Disease FAQs

Does my employer have to report my illness or disease?

Sometimes – it depends what it is.  Some illnesses and diseases are reportable to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Regulation 8 of RIDDOR requires that employers (and self-employed people) report clinical diagnoses of these diseases in these circumstances:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome where the person uses vibrating tools
  • cramp of the forearm or hand, where the person must perform repetitive actions over time
  • hand arm vibration syndrome (also known as vibration white finger), again caused by vibration, whether from tools or from holding materials while they are subject to vibration
  • occupational dermatitis where the person is regularly exposed to a known irritant
  • asthma (unless it was pre-existing, and hasn’t worsened) caused by respiratory irritants
  • tenosynovitis or tendonitis in the hand or forearm, again caused by vigorous repetitive movements

How can I prove that my illness is occupational or industrial in nature, and not something I would have suffered from anyway?

This is a complex area. In some circumstances it can be very clear cut, such as developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, which would be unlikely to occur outside workers’ circumstances (and those of their families). There are certain illnesses and diseases that have a higher precedence in workers than in the general population, and many that can be presumed to be attributable to occupational exposure. Of course, there are also many illnesses where there are other independent risk factors – such as lung cancer where workers also smoke – and for these conditions, the presumption of attribution, on the balance of probabilities, doesn’t apply. You can find out more about which conditions have an automatic presumption of attribution, and which don’t, here.

Can I get state benefits for occupational illnesses or industrial diseases?

Yes, for some conditions. You can claim for industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) if you were employed (not self-employed) or on an approved training course that caused your illness. You can find out more about the conditions for which you can claim IIDB here.

Am I still entitled to go back to my job if I make a claim against my employer?

Yes, by law, you’re protected from dismissal by your employer if you make a compensation claim against them. You can’t be dismissed for the sole reason that you’re claiming against them.

Am I still entitled to sick pay if I make a claim against my employer?

If you’re entitled to sick pay as set out in your contract of employment, then your employer should honour this, whether or not you make a claim against them. You can also get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you qualify for it, which you can find out more about here.

What if my employer is no longer trading? Can I still claim for my occupational illness or industrial disease?

Yes, even if they’ve ceased trading or declared bankruptcy, we can trace them via the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office, and it would have been a legal requirement for them to abide by the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, which provides that they would have been insured against the illness or injury of their employees.

Why choose Graysons as your occupational illness solicitor?

Our offices are based in Sheffield and Chesterfield from which we handle all type of claims, ensuring that when work is the cause of illness or death, employers fulfil their legal obligations.

  • Graysons solicitors has built a reputation as one of the leading law firms in industrial disease claims across Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
  • Our occupational illness team is recommended in the Legal 500.
  • In addition to acting for individuals, we act for several union linked organisations and for miners through the NUM.
  • Every individual for whom we act is offered free initial advice.
  • Above all we provide a helpful and friendly service combining expertise with a sympathetic approach.
  • Meet our occupational illness team.
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If you think you may have suffered an injury or disease due to your work it is best to contact us for a free initial consultation as soon as possible as there are time limits placed on when you can make a claim.

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