If you have become ill during the course of your work, or an existing illness has worsened because your employer’s working practices do not comply with health and safety legislation, you may be able to make an industrial disease claim.
What is an industrial disease?
Industrial disease, also known as occupational illness, is any condition or illness caused or worsened by working practices that allow exposure to hazardous substances or unsafe workplace conditions.
The most common industrial diseases include asthma, dermatitis, hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), industrial deafness and asbestos related diseases. There are many more.
Who is entitled to make an industrial disease claim?
All employers have a legal duty to protect the health, well-being and safety of their workforce. If a failure occurs in this duty of care, it is usually possible for the employee to make an industrial disease claim against them.
For example, if an employer fails to provide and / or train in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) where a risk assessment has deemed it necessary for a particular role, then this would usually constitute a failure on the part of the employer to protect their worker. Failure to undertake risk assessments of materials and substances used in the workplace, and then implement suitable controls, is another example of a situation in which an employer may be found liable for the onset or worsening of industrial diseases.
How do government benefits for industrial diseases work?
Sometimes it is possible to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), although this does depend upon the level of disablement and the condition. However, if you were self-employed at the time the illness was caused or worsened then you will not qualify. You’ll also need to be suffering from one of the prescribed diseases, a full list of which can be found here.
Are there any government compensation schemes for industrial diseases?
There is the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme and the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Scheme. For those who do not fall under these schemes, there is the option of bringing a civil claim against the negligent employer.
How do industrial disease claims against employers work?
First of all, when you make a claim against an employer, it is their insurer that pays any compensation due. Secondly, you can still bring a claim against a former employer, even if you have not worked for them for many years. Industrial diseases typically take time to present symptoms, so it may be some time before you realise the work you used to do was actually making you unwell. Providing you bring the claim within three years of experiencing significant symptoms for the first time, you will stand a chance of receiving compensation.
If the employer in question has since stopped trading, you can still bring a claim. Industrial disease claims solicitors are experts in tracing past insurers of non-trading companies, and in some cases will even get companies reinstated solely for the purpose of settling an industrial disease claim.
How to Make an Industrial Disease Claim?
If you have started to experience symptoms of a condition or disease that you believe are related to your work, either work you are still doing or used to do in the past, you should seek medical attention and then talk to specialist industrial disease litigation solicitors without delay, bearing in mind the strict time limits you’ll need to adhere to if you wish to bring a claim.
Seth Lovis & Co. is a well-regarded London law firm with a proven track record in industrial disease claims. We’re here to guide you through every step of your claim and know very well the importance of prioritising these cases so that compensation and financial assistance can be secured as soon as possible.
To talk through your situation with one of our friendly experts, give us a call on 020 3411 6907 or email .