PVC Exposure Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a PVC exposure injury, we can help.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a hazardous substances compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove that the exposure caused your injuries or illness. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a hazardous substances exposure claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
The Health and Safety Executive states that Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) contains a number of 'thermal degradation products' that are released when the material is heated.
PVC manufacturing-related chemicals are a common source of work-related illness and, in cases of an employer's negligence, subsequent industrial disease claims.
Many of PVC's thermal degradation chemicals are harmful and include:
- Hydrogen Chloride
- Toluene Styrene
- Methyl Chloride
Neither PVC nor its thermal degradation products were considered dangerous until the 1960s. Since 1974, there have been strict regulations designed to minimise exposure to PVC. High exposure to the chemical is now thought to cause a range of serious illnesses, including liver cancer.
Employers are now legally obliged to protect their staff from harmful levels of exposure to PVC.
What are the symptoms of PVC exposure?
If you are exposed to vinyl chloride for a short period of time by inhalation, you may experience coughing and find that breathing becomes more difficult. Headaches and a feeling of extreme tiredness can also result from inhaling vinyl chloride. In extreme cases, high levels of short term inhalation can induce a coma.
If PVC is swallowed, or ingested, it can cause a person to vomit and to experience pain in the stomach. If the chemical enters the body via the skin, vinyl chloride can cause skin irritation, burns injuries and dermatitis. Those who ingest harmful levels of PVC are often not immediately aware of any immediate ill-effects, which can make it difficult to establish later how the exposure occurred.
Individuals who once worked in the manufacturing industry may be diagnosed with a condition that relates to PVC exposure that occurred years earlier.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classed vinyl chloride as a known human carcinogen. The EPA has reported that when some workers were exposed to PVC, they developed a condition known as 'vinyl chloride disease'. The disease has similar symptoms to Raynaud's disease: numbness and pain in the fingers; pain in the joints and muscles; and some skin changes. Long term exposure to vinyl chloride is also reported to have had various effects on the nervous system.
Testing for Vinyl Chloride
If your exposure to PVC was relatively recent, it may be possible to detect its presence in your body. If this is possible, the chemical would be found in your urine or body tissues. If your exposure to vinyl chloride occurred several years ago, it may be difficult to find conclusive proof.
However, if you have had symptoms that suggest exposure to PVC, and a medical professional considers that your condition was caused by your previous working environment, you may be able to claim compensation for what has happened. Such a claim could help you to cope with the consequences of being exposed to vinyl chloride, and achieve redress for your suffering.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Around 2% 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee - the facts
Under 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 - our guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury 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 injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a penalty if I withdraw?
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 we can help you
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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 feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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 an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury 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 injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.