Toxic Torts Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a toxic torts injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a toxic torts 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
toxic torts compensation:
A toxic tort is a legal claim for harm caused by exposure to a hazardous substance. Anyone sustaining injury from such a substance may be able to bring a claim for toxic tort.
What is defined as 'hazardous' in a toxic tort claim?
The term applies to a wide range of substances and preparations ?which have the potential to cause harm to health if they are ingested, inhaled, or are absorbed by, or come into contact with, the skin, or other body membranes.?
These substances occur in various forms, including solids, liquids, vapours, gases and fumes and simple asphyxiants (gases and vapours which, when present at high concentrations in air may displace the oxygen content to such an extent that life cannot be supported).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes around 400 products in its list of workplace exposure limits within the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
How might a toxic tort arise?
Workers may be exposed to dangerous chemicals through their occupation, although exposure levels should be controlled and monitored through COSHH. Some occupational diseases may not manifest until years after exposure.
Other work-related illnesses may be develop following incidents where the substances are accidentally released into the environment. These environmental hazards may be caused by negligent substance handling or disposal.
For example, aerially-sprayed pesticides and herbicides may easily contaminate the air, ground and water if used incorrectly, and may escape into water courses if not disposed of properly.
Some environmental hazards may occur in the wake of catastrophic accidents - such as factory explosions or building collapses - leading to the release of hazardous substances.
Such incidents may have negative health consequences for those living and working in the vicinity, and give rise to 'multi-party' toxic torts, where several affected individuals make a joint claim against the negligent party.
What are the effects on health?
The effects of exposure to a toxic substance depend on the level of exposure, the substance and the method of exposure.
For example, carbon tetrachloride discharged from chemical plants and other industrial activities is toxic by inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure. Skin or eye contact may cause irritation; inhalation and ingestion may cause a reduced level of consciousness, sickness, headache, dizziness, gastric upset, stomach pain, and breathing difficulties. Exposure may also damage liver and kidneys, leading to coma and death in severe cases. Carbon tetrachloride may also be carcinogenic.
As another example, benzene is toxic by both inhalation and ingestion and may enter the environment through leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills. Short-term exposure may be irritating to eyes and can result in drowsiness, tachycardia, headaches, tremors, confusion and unconsciousness. Longer (chronic) low level exposure may cause the onset of a range of diseases giving rise to workplace cancer claims.
The effects of other hazardous substances are detailed by Public Health England.
What happens if a person falls ill through exposure?
Anyone whose health is affected by an environmental hazard should see his GP to explain the symptoms and potential source of exposure. This may help to identify the substance he has been exposed to and ensure the correct treatment is given.
If the hazard was due to negligence and therefore could have been prevented, it may be possible to bring a claim for compensation against the liable third party.
Claims for toxic tort involve thorough investigation of the parties responsible and a detailed assessment of the claimants health and its longer-term impact.
Do I have a toxic torts claim?
It should be possible to make a toxic torts 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 toxic torts 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 toxic torts 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 toxic torts? (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 toxic torts 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 toxic torts will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your toxic torts 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 claim for an existing toxic torts that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Will I have to pay tax on my toxic torts compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following a toxic torts injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.
Toxic torts compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a toxic torts 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 toxic torts claim could be worth now:
How long does a toxic torts claim take?
How long it can take to get compensation for a toxic tort claim can vary significantly.
For instance, if your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a month or two. However, if liability is denied it could take longer. Normally a hazardous substance injury claim should take 6 to 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your toxic torts 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.
No win, no fee, no risk
'No win, no fee' means that if your toxic torts claim is not successful, you will not have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you (the 'claimant') and your solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a toxic torts 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 toxic torts 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 toxic torts claim?
If your toxic torts 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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Toxic torts 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 toxic torts claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the toxic torts to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your toxic torts claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a toxic torts 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 toxic torts compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a toxic torts 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.