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.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a PVC exposure injury 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 PVC exposure compensation:

Introduction

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:

  • Benzene
  • Hydrogen Chloride
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Toluene Styrene
  • Naphthalene
  • Indene
  • Methanol
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Phenanthrene

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 polyvinyl chloride.

Do I have a PVC exposure claim?

It should be possible to make a PVC exposure 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.

How much compensation can I claim for PVC exposure?

The amount of money you could claim for your PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure? (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 PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your PVC exposure 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.

Will an industrial disease claim affect my benefits?

It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?

PVC exposure compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a PVC exposure claim take?

The length of time needed to win compensation for PVC exposure can vary significantly.

For example, if your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, a claim can take considerably longer. On average a hazardous substance injury claim takes 6 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your PVC exposure 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.

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.

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 .

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure claim?

If your PVC exposure 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.

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.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. pvc exposure claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

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:

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PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a PVC exposure 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 PVC exposure compensation.

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

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