A Guide to Claiming Industrial Disease Compensation

If you have been affected by industrial disease we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered industrial disease and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

The term 'industrial disease' is used to describe a condition or illness which has developed after exposure to a dangerous substance in the workplace or as a result of unsafe working conditions.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate 2 million people each year are affected by industrial disease and workplace illness. An estimated 13,000 people die every year from lung disease and cancer caused by exposure to harmful substances alone.

Many employees with an existing illness, injury or medical condition also experience a worsening of symptoms due to actions or failures on the part of their employer.

Do I have an industrial disease claim?

It should be possible to make an industrial disease 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.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

Which types of industrial diseases can I claim for?

As a general rule, any disease or injury can be claimed for if it can be proven that condition resulted from an employer's breach of their duty. Quittance's specialist solicitors have assisted many people claim for industrial disease, including:

Cancers caused by hazardous material exposure

Asbestos exposure, which accounts for over half of the cases recorded by the Health and Safety Executive. Other causes include exposure to silica, diesel exhaust fumes and mineral oils.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

An estimated 18,000 people currently experience hearing loss either caused by, or made worse by, working conditions. It can be caused by working in environments where the noise levels are over 80dBA, such as heavy industry, car factories and shipyards.

Many only discover the loss of hearing in later life, making it difficult to prove an employer was responsible. Quittance's solicitors work with hearing-loss claimants to build the strongest case possible.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

RSI is a broad category, describing the cause for a range of medical conditions. These include tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel, and tendinitis. According to research by RSI Awareness, 5.4 million sick days occurred in a single year as a direct result of RSI. 1 in 50 of the UK's working population report suffering from an RSI condition.

Hand arm vibration syndrome (vibration white finger)

Hand arm vibration syndrome claims can only be made for conditions caused by exposure at work after 1st January 1976. Claims can be made for conditions arising from the use of pneumatic tools after this date, including seasonal conditions affecting sufferers of hand-arm vibration syndrome in colder weather.

Occupational stress

It is now possible to claim compensation for recognised psychiatric injury or illness where the harm has resulted from actions or negligence on the part of an employer. Quittance's solicitors recognise the sensitivities surrounding such circumstances and offer confidential, no-obligation guidance to those considering a claim.

Industrial disease claim time limits - am I too late to claim?

In general, anyone who has sustained an injury in an accident that was not their fault, that happened in the last 3 years will be able to make a claim.

It may be possible to claim for compensation after the three years if an injury or illness was 'discovered' in those three years.

The discovery or 'date of knowledge' can refer to anything that the claimant might reasonably have been expected to discover either by themselves or with the advice of a (often medical) professional. This is frequently the date a claimant is informed of their diagnosis.

If a settlement is not agreed within the three-year time frame, a claim is generally statue-barred. This means that you would be legally restricted from making a claim. Solicitor's advise that a claim for industrial disease is started as soon as possible as it will increase the chances of success.

For certain conditions, specific legislation applies. If you are uncertain whether this may apply to your potential claim, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456 to discuss your case with a solicitor.

How could compensation help you?

Financial compensation is rarely an adequate substitute to compensate for the consequences of industrial disease. Nevertheless, personal injury law is based on the principle that compensation should aim to return a person to the position they would have been in if the accident or illness had never occurred.

The past will not change as a consequence of a compensation award, but it should have a positive impact on your present circumstances and future care.

Quittance's panel of specialist solicitors have a track record of securing compensation awards for:

  • medical treatment and care costs
  • anticipated future treatment and care
  • other expenses including travel costs and potentially property damage
  • loss or reduction of mental or physical capacity
  • general pain and suffering
  • lost earnings during recovery
  • loss of earnings if unable to return to work

How much compensation can I claim for industrial disease?

The amount of money you could claim for your industrial disease 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 industrial disease 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 an industrial disease? (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

Industrial disease compensation amounts

The following industrial disease payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Lung disease
Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection £1,760 to £14,420
Non-permanent lung conditions £4,240 to £14,420
Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years £8,480 to £24,950
Bronchitis and wheezing £16,580 to £24,950
Emphysema £43,670 to £55,830
Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler £24,950 to £55,830
Life-threatening disease affecting a young person £80,250 to £108,370
Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment £55,830 to £108,370

What is the average injury compensation for an industrial disease claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an industrial disease will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your industrial disease 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.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will I have to pay tax on my industrial disease compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following an industrial disease 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.

Industrial disease compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an industrial disease 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 industrial disease claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an industrial disease claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for industrial disease can vary significantly.

If the defendant accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a few months. If the employer denies liability, a compensation claim can take longer. On average an industrial deafness claim will take 6 to 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for an industrial disease after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your industrial disease 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 is the likelihood of your claim being successful?

To win a compensation claim, it must be shown that your employer or former employer is liable for the illness or injury you have sustained.

Your claim is very likely to succeed if liability has been admitted. In matters where the defendant has not acknowledged liability, or they allege that blame for your illness rests partly on you, success is not guaranteed.

Your solicitor will help gather evidence with a view to putting together the most robust claim. They may advise you to:

  • report the circumstances to your employer, if applicable
  • gather statements, names and addresses from witnesses
  • complete or continue any course of medical treatment, including physiotherapy
  • retain receipts for travel expenses and any other costs resulting from the disease or injury, such as modifications to your home or vehicle

No win, no fee - the facts

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything if your industrial disease claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

Our 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 an industrial disease injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my industrial disease 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my industrial disease claim?

If your industrial disease 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.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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 industrial disease 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:

Call me back
  • Tick icon FREE consultation
  • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Industrial disease 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 an industrial disease claim?

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

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

Can I claim for an industrial disease 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 industrial disease compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an industrial disease 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