Arsenic Poisoning Compensation Claims

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

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

In our guide to claiming arsenic poisoning compensation:

Introduction

Arsenic is a toxic substance used in many industries. Industrial disease compensation claims relating to arsenic poisoning are fairly uncommon relative to other sources of injury in the workplace, but where the link between negligent exposure and the illness can be proved, claims have a good chance of success.

Arsenic use in industry

The most commonly used arsenic compounds are arsenic trioxide, (a white solid) and arsenic trichloride (an oily liquid). These are used in a variety of manufacturing processes - pesticides and herbicides, fireworks, and coatings for photocopier drums.

Inorganic arsenic is a by-product from refining and smelting of ores such as copper and lead. It has applications in the production of special alloys and in glass and ceramics manufacturing. Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is used in the industrial preservation of wood.

Arsenic metal is used in electronic components (as gallium arsenide), and non-ferrous metal alloys.

Arsine (arsenic hydride or arsenic trihydride) is a colourless, non-irritating, flammable, toxic gas with a mild garlic-like odour. Formed when arsenic or arsenic-containing compounds react with acid or water, it is used in the semiconductor industry in the production of microchips.

Industrial processes, including welding, soldering, refining, galvanising and etching may lead to the accidental formation of arsine.

How does arsenic exposure occur?

Arsenic compound-related poisoning usually affects an individual after the compound is absorbed into the body by:

  • Inhaling dust or fumes
  • Skin absorption
  • Swallowing

Where this exposure has occurred as the result of an employer's negligence, a claim may be made. Common examples of such negligence include where a workplace has poor health and safety standards, or staff are issued with inadequate protective equipment.

Important legislation

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require employers to assess the risks to employees' health and identify the precautions needed for their protection.

This includes protecting employees from exposure to arsenic and its compounds or adequately controlling the exposure. Fume and dust extraction controls must be maintained to work efficiently.

All employees should be monitored for exposure by an occupational health professional, and any necessary health checks arranged.

Employers should inform, instruct and train all employees who may be exposed to arsenic and its compounds.

Employees have a duty to limit their exposure by using the protective clothing and equipment provided, ensuring that respirators fit properly and are in working order. They should always use extraction or other control methods correctly and report any defects in enclosures, extraction equipment or other control measures.

Always using the washing facilities and not eating or drinking in areas where arsenic or its compounds may be present will prevent oral ingestion of the poison.

If an employer has been negligent in his duty to protect employees from the harmful effects of arsenic a claimant may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim for arsenic poisoning.

Identifying arsenic poisoning

Short-term effects may include irritation of the eyes and nose, skin damage and inflammation, and stomach upsets.

In more severe instances there may be internal bleeding from the stomach and intestines.

Longer-term effects may include damage to peripheral nerves, with numbness and loss of vibration sense in particular; inflammation of the lungs, skin colour changes and prolonged skin inflammation problems, as well as heart and heart rate/rhythm problems.

Repeated exposure to arsenic and arsenic compounds over a period may cause cancer, particularly in the lungs, skin and liver.

How is arsenic poisoning proven during a claim?

Symptoms such as excessive sweating, seizures and shock, stomach cramps and vomiting, are all considered indicators of arsenic poisoning. The diagnosis may be confirmed through blood or urine tests.

Tests may be carried out by an independent medical professional during the claims process. These tests will identify the likely cause of a claimant's illness, and will be a key piece of medical evidence in support of the claim.

Claims for arsenic poisoning outside the workplace

Arsenic exposure may also occur outside of the workplace, due to a spillage or inadequate safety measures during disposal or incineration of industrial waste and by-products.

If controls to prevent the escape of arsine into the environment are not in place, and members of the public are affected, an arsenic poisoning claim may possibly be made.

Poisoning by arsenic is a prescribed disease in the UK. Anyone affected may be entitled to Industrial Industries Disablement Benefit.

No win, no fee

'No win, no fee' means that if your arsenic poisoning claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay any legal fees at all. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and the solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your arsenic poisoning injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my arsenic poisoning claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once 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 arsenic poisoning claim?

If your arsenic poisoning claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

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.

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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Arsenic poisoning 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 do I have to make an arsenic poisoning claim?

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

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

Can I claim for an arsenic poisoning 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim arsenic poisoning compensation.

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

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor