Industrial air pollution compensation claims
In the following article we explain everything you need to know about making an industrial air pollution compensation claim.
Any type of air pollution that can trace its origin to industrial practices is known as industrial air pollution. It typically comprises dust, gases and fumes that are discharged into the air from factories, power stations and engineering activities such as large-scale demolition. These substances are not necessarily toxic when used or handled correctly. However, when inhaled, they can have an adverse effect on health.
Any employee who has fallen ill after inhaling polluted air at work may be eligible to make a claim for industrial disease compensation.
Inhaling or swallowing polluted air can give rise to respiratory illnesses of various severity depending on the type of fumes that have escaped and their intensity. These include:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Inflammation of the throat, lungs, windpipe, nose and mouth
- Bronchitis and other respiratory complaints.
Compensation is awarded by reference to the severity of the illness and the effect it has had on the claimant's life. As a preliminary step, the injury lawyer will arrange a simple medical examination to establish the extent of the illness and the health consequences that might arise in the future. The medical report is used as basis for negotiating the settlement award in the compensation claim.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
The majority of industrial air pollution cases occur in workers who are exposed to dangerous fumes in the workplace without the proper protective equipment such as masks and breathing apparatus. As such, industrial air pollution claims usually fall within the category of hazardous substances compensation claims against an employer.
Members of the public can also experience health problems if the air is polluted to harmful levels. While accidents occur only rarely, factories and power stations do sometimes leak industrial waste into the air. In this scenario, the company responsible for the discharge will be liable if it can be shown that they failed to exercise the proper care.
Employers are under a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Whenever air pollutants are present, the employer must take action to minimise the effect they might have on a worker's health. For example, the employer might:
- Monitor the air quality
- Improve ventilation systems
- Provide localised extraction equipment
- Segregate dusty processes
- Issue personal protective equipment such as face masks and breathing apparatus.
An employer who fails in their duty to protect workers from harmful dust and fumes may be liable for any illnesses that arise as a result. An employer almost always will be negligent if they have breached a specific health and safety rule such as those laid down by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
Claims brought by a member of the public are slightly different. In this instance, the injury lawyer must prove that:
- The substance emitted was capable of causing the illness complained of
- The defendant (for example, the owners of the factory that leaked the noxious fumes) was negligent in causing or allowing the emission to occur
- The claimant's injuries were sustained as a result of the exposure.
Once a link is established, evidence such as air quality tests will be gathered to build a compelling case and achieve the maximum amount of compensation for the injuries that have been sustained.
Typically a no win no fee arrangement (also called a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is entered into between the claimant and lawyer.
A CFA is in essence the terms under which the solicitor acts for their client.
The CFA sets out what the lawyers will do and how he or she is rewarded if the claim is won.
If you decide to choose a Quittance Personal Injury solicitor for your air pollution compensation claim there will be no additional fees , nothing to pay up-front and the reassurance that you will never be financially out of pocket.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Meet the team
Our national network of solicitors handle all types of industrial disease claims, including short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Our lawyers are chosen for their track record in winning cases and their specialist knowledge.
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.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert