Mercury Poisoning Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by mercury poisoning we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered mercury 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
mercury poisoning compensation:
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in water, soil and air. Almost all humans come into contact with some level of mercury, often through dental fillings, the consumption of shellfish and routine vaccination. Low doses of organic mercury are not considered to be a significant health threat.
However, some people are exposed to excess levels of mercury either through regular (chronic) exposure to low levels of the compound or acute exposure that occurs in a single event. An example of acute exposure would be an industrial accident that results in the spillage of mercury. Inhaled or ingested, mercury can cause breathing difficulties, eye irritation and, possibly, serious damage to the nervous and immune systems.
Industrial exposure to mercury falls within the category of hazardous substances compensation claims. Anyone who has suffered mercury poisoning after being exposed to the metal at work may be eligible make a claim against their employer.
Do I have a mercury poisoning claim?
It should be possible to make a mercury 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 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
The amount of money you could claim for your mercury 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 mercury 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a mercury poisoning? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for a mercury 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 mercury poisoning will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your mercury poisoning 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.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Mercury poisoning compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a mercury 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 mercury poisoning claim could be worth now:
How long does a mercury poisoning claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a mercury poisoning claim can vary significantly.
For example, if your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take considerably longer. Typically, a hazardous substance injury claim will take 6 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your mercury 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.
Who is at risk of contracting a mercury-related illness?
Mercury poisoning typically occurs when a person inhales mercury in vapour form or when mercury in compound form makes contact with the skin. As such, workers in industries that use mercury regularly may have a greater risk of developing a mercury-related illnesses. Workers employed in the production of chlorine gas, batteries, fungicides, biocides, thermometers and dental fillings are particularly at risk.
This list is not exhaustive. Anyone exposed to mercury, including members of the public who come into contact with mercury after a spillage, may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
What are the health problems associated with mercury poisoning?
Exposure to mercury can lead to a number of short and long-term health problems including:
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Respiratory problems
- Coughing blood
- Inflammation of the mouth and gums
- Mood swings
- Muscle spasms
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the nervous system.
How severe the poisoning is usually will depend on the dose and the method of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or dermal contact). As a preliminary step, the injury lawyer will arrange an independent medical examination to assess whether mercury is present in the body and to establish the extent of the poisoning. The medical expert will also recommend any treatment that is needed such as drug therapy.
The medical report is used as a basis for the compensation claim.
Is my employer laible?
Any employer who uses mercury is required to follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). COSHH places a legal duty on employers to minimise the impact mercury and other toxic chemicals might have on a worker's health.
Specifically, an employer must:
- Assess the health risks that come from mercury and use alternatives wherever possible
- Monitor a worker's exposure to mercury
- Keep exposure within strict workplace exposure limits defined as 0.02mg/m3 averaged over an 8 hour working day
- Take measures to limit exposure for example by issuing personal protective equipment such as masks and skin protection
- Store and dispose of mercury properly to prevent spillages
- Train employees in safe use and handling of the compound.
An employer who fails in their duty to protect staff from mercury exposure may be liable for any illness that arises as a result.
No win, no fee, no risk
Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
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 mercury poisoning injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my mercury 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 mercury poisoning claim?
If your mercury poisoning claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. 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, 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 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Mercury 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.
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.
How long do I have to make a mercury poisoning claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the mercury poisoning to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your mercury poisoning claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a mercury 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 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim mercury poisoning compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a mercury poisoning claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
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.
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.
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.