Toluene Exposure Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a toluene exposure injury we can help.

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

Introduction

Toluene, also known as methylbenzene and phenylmethane, is extensively used as solvent in the engineering, construction, textiles, printing, woodworking and dry cleaning industries. The chemical is not necessarily toxic when used or handled correctly. However, exposure to high levels of toluene or over a long period can have an adverse effect on workers' health.

Anyone who has become ill after being exposed to toluene at work may be eligible make a claim for work-related illness or industrial disease compensation claim.

Exposure may occur in a single incident or through chronic exposure to low doses of the chemical over time.

Do I have a toluene exposure claim?

It should be possible to make a toluene 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 toluene exposure?

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

Your toluene 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.

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.

Toluene exposure compensation

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

Calculate compensation

How long does a toluene exposure claim take?

How long it can take to secure compensation for toluene exposure can vary significantly.

For instance, if your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Usually, a hazardous substance injury claim takes between 6 and 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 toluene 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 effects of toluene exposure?

Toluene is eliminated from the body very quickly and adverse health effects are rare. However, accidents do happen and poor safety protocols and inadequate PPE can increase the risk of, and harm caused by, these accidents.

Inhaling, handling or swallowing high concentrations of toluene can give rise to a variety of respiratory and neurological illnesses, including:

Where toluene exposure is suspected, the injury lawyer will arrange a medical examination to establish whether toluene is present in the body and assess the extent of the damage.

The medical report is used to establish a link between the exposure and the claimant's symptoms, and as basis for negotiating the level of damages in the compensation claim.

Who is at risk of toluene exposure?

The majority of toluene exposure cases occur in workers who are exposed to the solvents in the workplace without the proper personal protective equipment such as face masks, heavy gloves and breathing apparatus.

As such, toluene exposure claims usually fall within the category of hazardous substances compensation claims against an employer.

Is my employer laible?

Health and safety laws such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) call for the strict control of industrial solvents in the workplace.

Employers are expected to monitor toluene exposure and ensure that workers stay below the exposure limit of 50 parts per million averaged over an 8-hour working day.

Appropriate exposure-reduction measures include:

  • Installing a suitable exhaust ventilation system to remove toxic vapours from the work area
  • Providing localised extraction equipment
  • Monitoring air quality and acting upon the results
  • Issuing equipment as defined by the PPE at Work regulations such as gloves, face masks and breathing apparatus to reduce the risk of inhalation and skin contact
  • Providing separate lockers for work and street clothing to prevent cross-contamination
  • Properly labelling solvent containers
  • Taking steps to prevent leakage and discharge of the chemical
  • Training staff on safe handling procedures.

An employer who fails to implement reasonable safety measures may be liable for any toluene-related illness that arises as a result. The Courts are very likely to find an employer negligent if the employer has breached a specific health and safety rule, such as those laid down by COSHH.

What if the employer has gone out of business?

Industrial diseases that result from toluene exposure can take many years to develop. It is possible that the employer responsible for the toluene exposure has gone out of business by the time a diagnosis is made.

In this scenario, it may still be possible to bring a compensation claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help with tracing the former employer's insurance company using the Employers' Liability Tracing Office. Even if the employer has ceased trading, settlement may be negotiated with the insurer.

How does no win, no fee work?

No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a toluene exposure claim with:

  • no upfront legal fees
  • no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if your claim is successful

No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.

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 a toluene exposure injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my toluene exposure claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my toluene exposure claim?

If your toluene exposure claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any 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, 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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Toluene 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 toluene exposure claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a toluene 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 toluene exposure compensation.

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