If a hazardous substances injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Contact with dangerous chemicals or materials at work can lead to various, potentially serious health conditions.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a hazardous substance injury, we can help. You can make a hazardous substances compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
The most common occurrences of exposure to hazardous substances occur in the workplace. There is a particular risk in industries where toxic chemicals and fumes may be encountered if proper safety precautions are not followed.
Hazardous substance exposure is not just limited to the workplace, however. Compensation claims following exposure to soil contaminants, pesticides and weed killers are not unusual.
If you decide to make a hazardous substances claim, your work injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Do I have a hazardous substances claim?
If you've been injured in an accident that was caused another person or organisation in the last 3 years, you will be entitled to make a claim for financial compensation.
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.
Am I still eligible to claim if I was partially responsible?
Determining legal responsibility for a claimant's injuries can involve myriad factors.
In our recent 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers believed they may have been partly (or wholly) responsible for their injuries.
Your claim could still be possible if your actions contributed to your injury or illness. If you were injured on the job by a co-worker's actions, you can still claim compensation from your employer, based on the principle of vicarious liability.
How long do I have to make a hazardous substances injury claim?
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence but didn't realise it at the time, you may have longer to make a claim. Typically, you have three years from the date you either received a diagnosis or became aware of the negligence (known as the 'date of knowledge') to start your claim.
If you were injured when you were under 18, a parent, guardian or adult 'litigation friend' can make a claim on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to start an injury claim.
How much compensation can I claim for an injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
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.
Hazardous substances exposure
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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 for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your hazardous substances injury. Compensation can include loss of earnings (including future anticipated earnings loss), retraining costs, career trajectory impact, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as psychological support and pain medication.
Hazardous substances at work
Every year, thousands of people experience pain and hardship as a result of contracting illnesses like lung disease, asthma, cancer, and dermatitis following exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.
Employers have a legal responsibility for providing a safe working environment for employees. Specifically "The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations" (COSHH) are detailed regulations designed to protect employees from the danger of exposure to chemicals and other substances in the workplace.
If your employer has been negligent in their obligations and you have sustained an injury, you may be entitled to claim compensation
Hazardous substances in the environment
Dangerous substances can also be found outside the workplace.
Every year there are around 300 cases of Legionnaires' Disease in the UK. Legionnaire's disease is caused by inhaling air containing tiny droplets of water infected with Legionella pneumophila, or by drinking infected water.
Further examples include the 50-60 cases of Leptospirosis (known as Weil's disease) reported each year, where appropriate precautions to prevent water from being infected by animals were not taken.
Industrial disasters and illegal dumping of toxic waste can result in serious illness affecting members of the public.
Deliberate dumping of toxic waste rarely occurs in the UK. If a toxic substance has been released into the environment as a result of a company's negligence, however, and one or more people become ill as a result, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation.
How can compensation help you?
For the consequences of an accident or illness, financial compensation is often an inadequate substitute. Nevertheless, personal injury law is founded on the idea that compensation will aim to put the injured party back in the position they would have been in if the accident or illness had never happened.
A settlement or Court award cannot alter what has happened, but it should have a positive impact on your present circumstances and future recovery.
Injuries resulting from exposure to a hazardous substance can have significant consequences for the injured person and their dependants. Quittance's panel of specialist solicitors have years of experience securing compensation awards:
- for medical treatment and ongoing care costs
- for other expenses such as damage to personal possessions and travel costs
- for any pain and suffering and loss of amenity
- for lost earnings while you recover
- for future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work
How Quittance has helped others
The panel of solicitors has helped clients injured in a broad range of circumstances. Court awards and settlements have been negotiated for injuries including:
- Air pollution
- Arsenic poisoning
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Contaminated soil
- E-Coli poisoning
- Industrial dermatitis
- Legionnaires' disease
- Lead poisoning
- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) exposure
- Perchlorate exposure
- Pesticide poisoning
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) poisoning
- PVC exposure
- Radiation sickness
- Teflon exposure
- Trichloroethylene poisoning
How likely is your claim to succeed?
If the negligent party, e.g. your employer, has admitted liability, then the chances of your compensation claim being successful are very good.
However, if liability is contested or perhaps only accepted in part, achieving a settlement will be more difficult. Personal injury solicitors are used to working on contentious matters, so the fact that the defendant has not admitted liability should not deter you from making a claim.
A solicitor will help collate and assess all of the evidence at hand and advise you on constructing the strongest possible case.
How did your injury happen?
The claims process for a hazardous substances will depend on where and how the accident happened. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:
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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.