A Guide to Claiming Industrial Air Pollution Compensation

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

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

Introduction

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.

What are the effects of industrial air pollution?

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:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Inflammation of the throat, lungs, windpipe, nose and mouth
  • Asthma
  • 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.

Who is at risk of industrial air pollution exposure?

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.

Do I have an industrial air pollution claim?

It should be possible to make an industrial 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.

What if the injury was diagnosed years after the event?

Typically, the dates of the injury and accident are the same. However, some injuries manifest themselves months or even years after the accident or exposure.

In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery (the date of diagnosis) of the injury rather than the date of the accident.

Read more

What if the employer has gone bust?

Even if an employer or their insurer has gone out of business, a former worker may still be able to make a work-related accident claim.

Employers are legally required to carry Employer's Liability Insurance. This insurance ensures that protection is in place for employees affected by work-related accidents or industrial disease. The majority of successful claims are not paid out by the employer but by the employer's insurance company.

In extreme cases, where an employer and their insurer have both ceased trading, and no other responsible party can be traced, compensation may still be available through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Read more: Can I claim compensation if my employer has gone bust?

Can I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a non-contributory, no-fault weekly benefit paid to workers and former workers who become disabled because of an accident at work or due to certain industrial diseases.

Anyone who has sustained a disability as a result of injuries or diseases arising from work may be eligible to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Read more

What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?

A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.

Check my claim

How much compensation can I claim for industrial air pollution?

The amount of money you could claim for your industrial 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 industrial 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 industrial 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 industrial 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 industrial air pollution will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your industrial 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.

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

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

Can I claim for physiotherapy and private care costs?

Private treatment can be expensive, but funding towards the cost of this treatment frequently comprises part of a compensation award. Your solicitor may even be able to arrange access to private medical care as soon as your claim is accepted.

Calculate my claim

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

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the industrial 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 industrial air pollution claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an industrial air pollution after 3 years?

The general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after an industrial air pollution.

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

Will I still be able to claim for an industrial 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 industrial 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.

How did your injury occur?

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

At work

If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Work Accident Claims - What you need to know

In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)

If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:

Public Place Claims - What you need to know

Other claim types

Find details on another type of claim:

See list of other claims

No win, no fee - the facts

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees if your industrial air pollution claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an industrial air pollution injury compensation claim.

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

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

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Please note, 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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Industrial 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