MEK Poisoning Compensation Claims

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered MEK poisoning 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 MEK poisoning compensation:


Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) is a highly flammable liquid which is used as a solvent in the paint, plastics, rubber and textile industries. MEK is also found in some printing inks, paint removers and varnishes. The chemical is not considered to be a significant threat to health.

However, exposure to high levels of MEK may cause a number of allergic reactions such as occupational dermatitis. Exposure usually occurs when MEK is spilled and the fumes are inhaled. MEK may also enter the body through contaminated food and water or through direct contact with the skin.

The majority of MEK poisoning cases occur in workers who are exposed to Methyl Ethyl Ketone in the workplace without the proper protective equipment. As such, they fall within the category of hazardous substances compensation claims against an employer.

What are the symptoms of MEK poisoning?

Inhaling or ingesting MEK, also known as butanone-2 or methyl acetone, can give rise to symptoms of various severity depending on the extent of the exposure. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dermatitis
  • Irritation of the eye, nose, mouth or throat
  • Lung damage
  • Unconsciousness.

Combining MEK with Methyl Butyl Ketone, n-hexane or other chemicals in the manufacturing process may increase the effect that MEK has on health. Exposure to these chemical combinations may cause irreversible nerve damage - a symptom that is not associated with exposure to MEK alone.

As a preliminary step, the injury lawyer will arrange an independent medical examination to assess whether MEK is present in the body and to establish the level of damage. The medical expert will recommend any treatment that is needed and give a prognosis for recovery. The medical report is used as a basis for negotiating the compensation claim.

Do I have a MEK poisoning claim?

It should be possible to make a MEK poisoning 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 376 1001.

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

How much compensation can I claim for MEK poisoning?

The amount of money you could claim for your MEK poisoning 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 MEK poisoning 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 a MEK poisoning? (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 a MEK poisoning claim?

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

However, the money you would receive following a MEK poisoning will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

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

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Calculate my MEK poisoning compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a MEK poisoning 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 MEK poisoning claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a MEK poisoning claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for MEK poisoning can vary significantly.

If your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim can settle in a matter of weeks. If the employer denies liability, a claim can take significantly longer. On average a hazardous substance injury claim takes 6 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your MEK poisoning 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.

Hazardous Substances Legislation

Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Whenever harmful chemicals are present, the employer must take action to minimise the effect they might have on a worker's health.

The primary piece of legislation is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). Under COSHH, an employer must:

  • Ensure that workplaces where MEK is used have adequate ventilation and extraction equipment
  • Issue personal protective clothing and equipment such as chemical safety goggles, skin protection and breathing apparatus where appropriate
  • Store chemicals properly to prevent spillages and chemical poisoning
  • Keep the concentration of MEK in the air below the maximum workplace exposure limit specified by the Health and Safety Executive from time to time
  • Offer health checks to workers who may be at risk of MEK poisoning.

An employer who fails in their duty to protect workers from MEK exposure 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 COSHH.

No win, no fee, no risk

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a MEK poisoning claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. 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 MEK poisoning claim?

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

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in personal injury and industrial disease cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

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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MEK 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 a MEK poisoning claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a MEK 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 MEK poisoning compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a MEK 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

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor