If a chromium-related illness has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Individuals suffering from illnesses linked to chromium exposure, which is prevalent in certain industrial work environments, may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering, the health repercussions, and any financial losses resulting from the exposure.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by chromium related illness, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, dust, gases, plants and soil. It comes in various forms which are described by numbers in parentheses. Many types of chromium, such as Chromium (III), are benign and do not pose a risk to health.
Other chromium compounds are known to be toxic. Chromium (VI), for example, presents a significant risk to health as it is both an irritant, a corrosive and a carcinogen. Inhaled or ingested, chromium (VI) can cause breathing difficulties, lung irritations and, possibly, lung cancer.
Industrial exposure to chromium falls within the category of hazardous substances compensation claims. Anyone who has suffered a chromium-related illness after being exposed to chromium compounds at work may be eligible make a claim against their employer.
Do I qualify for chromium-related illness compensation?
You will usually be eligible to claim compensation if you have been injured in the following circumstances:
- in the last 3 years,
- by someone elses actions or negligence, and
- they owed you a duty of care.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
What happens if I share some of the blame?
Figuring out who is legally at fault for an accident can sometimes be complex and nuanced.
According to our recent 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers thought that their actions could have contributed, either in part or wholly, to their injuries.
Even if you think you might have been partly responsible, you could still be eligible to make a claim. With workplace injuries, it's often possible to claim compensation from your employer, regardless of whether your own actions or those of a colleague played a role in the incident.
How long do I have to claim chromium-related illness compensation?
For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.
If you were not immediately aware that you were harmed by someone else's negligence, the 3-year time limit runs from the date you were diagnosed and became aware of what caused your injury or illness.
How much compensation can I claim for a chromium-related illness?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your illlness or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.
Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include removal from exposure, medication for symptoms, supportive care and monitoring.
Average chromium-related illness general damages compensation
The following chromium-related illness payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Asthma||Moderate||Bronchitis and wheezing||£17,450 to £23,900|
|Eye injury||Moderate||Minor but permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes||£8,280 to £19,070|
|Lung disease||Minor||Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection||Up to £4,840|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Non-permanent lung conditions||Up to £4,840|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£9,670 to £18,910|
|Lung disease||Serious||Bronchitis and wheezing||£18,910 to £28,460|
|Lung disease||Serious||Emphysema||£49,850 to £63,660|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£28,460 to £49,850|
|Lung disease||Severe||Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment||£63,660 to £88,480|
Who is at risk of contracting a chromium-related illness?
The health effects of chromium exposure are varied because each compound has a different toxicity. Chromium (VI) presents the biggest risk as it can be inhaled or ingested, especially if food is consumed in chromium-contaminated areas. All chromium compounds can be absorbed through the skin.
Workers in industries that use chromium may have a higher level of exposure and thus have a greater risk of developing a chromium-related illnesses. High-risk industries include:
- Chromium plating
- Spray painting
- Chemical manufacture
- Dyeing and tanning
- Stainless steel and alloy manufacture.
This list is not exhaustive. Anyone exposed to chromium, including members of the public who come into contact with chromium after a spillage, may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
What are the health problems associated with chromium poisoning?
Low levels of chromium are typically removed by the and may not produce any obvious symptoms. Acute exposure may lead to a number of health problems, including:
- Occupational asthma
- Inflammation of the nose and upper respiratory tract
- Coughing and wheezing
- Renal damage
- Lung diseases and lung cancer.
As a preliminary step, the injury lawyer will arrange an independent medical examination to assess whether chromium is present in the and to establish the level of damage. The medical expert will also recommend any palliative care that is needed such as mechanical ventilation and cardiovascular support.
The medical report is used as a basis for the compensation claim.
Is my employer liable?
Any employer who uses chromium is required to follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). COSHH places legal obligations on employers to control exposure to hazardous substances with a view to minimising the impact they might have on a worker's health. With specific reference to chromium, an employer must:
- Carry out air emissions tests to confirm whether chromium species are formed as a result of work activities.
- Keep exposure within the maximum exposure limits (MEL) specified by law for each type of compound. For Chromium (VI), MEL is defined as 0.05mg/m3 averaged over an 8 hour working day.
- Take such other protective measures as are necessary. For example, an employer might install extraction systems, use chemical spray suppressants at plating baths or issue personal protective equipment such as masks and breathing apparatus.
- Train employees in the proper use of safety measures.
An employer who fails in their duty to protect staff from chromium exposure may be liable for any illness that arises as a result.
Employers' liability claims claims
Work-related illness claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:
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About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.