A Guide to Claiming Air Pollution Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an air pollution injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an air pollution injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

According to DEFRA, air pollution can cause breathing problems, damage to the heart, and some types of cancer. Although air pollution has decreased in recent years, it still has the potential to impact on your health in both the short and long term.

Air pollution can be caused by working in a factory or plant, and by emissions from construction or engineering activities in the public domain.

If you have suffered because of air pollution, you may be able to claim compensation.

Do I have an air pollution claim?

It should be possible to make an air pollution claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last three years and;
  • someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

How much compensation can I claim for air pollution?

The amount of money you could claim for your air pollution will depend on:

  • the extent 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 air pollution has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an air pollution? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for an air pollution claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an air pollution will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your air pollution compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Should I set up a personal injury trust?

If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following an air pollution injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?

Air pollution compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an air pollution injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your air pollution claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long do I have to make an air pollution claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the air pollution to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your air pollution claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an air pollution after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim air pollution compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an air pollution claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for an air pollution after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your air pollution claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Who is responsible for air pollution?

If you have experienced ill health because of air pollution in your working environment, it is likely that your employer is responsible. This is particularly relevant if health and safety procedures have not been followed, if you have not been given appropriate training, or if your employer has failed to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and footwear.

If you have become ill as a result of air pollution caused by a site near your home or workplace, the organisation responsible for the site can be held liable. This could be a building contractor or engineering firm. If the firm has dumped chemicals without taking appropriate precautions, for example, you can attribute your illness to their lack of care.

What should you do if you have become ill due to air pollution?

After seeing a doctor, and ensuring that you have received appropriate medical attention, you should contact a solicitor.

Quittance's panel of solicitors have the knowledge and experience to deal with air pollution compensation claims and can advise you on every step of the process. The Quittance panel can give you an indication of whether or not your claim is likely to be successful, and how much it might be worth.

Your solicitor will work with you to prove that you have suffered air pollution as a direct result of the negligence of a person or organisation. Therefore, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. You should also keep receipts for all expenses incurred as a result of your illness, and it is a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms and how they have impacted on your day to day living.

A claim for air pollution compensation comprises two parts: General Damages and Special Damages.

General Damages include any pain and suffering you have experienced as well as physical limitations. Special Damages are awarded to compensate for financial losses due to your illness, such as not being able to work or additional medical expenses.

It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you can, as there is usually a time limit applied to claims for compensation.

This is usually three years, although there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, people under the age of 18 usually have three years from their 18th birthday to lodge a claim, regardless of when the injury was sustained. If you are in any doubt, the Quittance panel of solicitors can advise you on how the time limits might apply to your case.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee removes the risk from making an air pollution claim. If you don't win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

Our no win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an air pollution claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my air pollution claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my air pollution claim?

If your air pollution claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about No win, no fee

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Air pollution FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert