If an industrial disease has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Industrial diseases are a serious concern in many industries can they can have long-term and debilitating effects on an individual's health. These conditions are often caused by exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, silica or other toxic materials in the workplace.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an industrial disease, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. In this article, we will discuss the process of making an industrial disease compensation claim, including the types of losses you can claim for and the steps involved in pursuing a claim.

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

In this article

    You are not alone

    There were an estimated 1.8 million new and long-standing cases of work-related ill health in 2022/23 (hse.gov.uk).

    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) estimates there were 1.8 million people affected by a workplace illness in 2022. 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?

    Industrial diseases often develop over time due to prolonged exposure to harmful substances or unsafe working conditions. As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if your illness was diagnosed in the last 3 years, and it was caused by your work environment or work duties.

    You could still be able to claim even if you were partly responsible for your illness. If you were injured at work, you can claim compensation from your employer under the principle of vicarious liability - even if you or another employee caused your illness.

    Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.

    How long do I have to make an industrial disease claim?

    With industrial illnesses, you will need to start a claim within 3-years of the 'date of knowledge' - the date your injury or illness was diagnosed and your were informed of the likely caused.

    How much compensation can I claim for an industrial disease?

    The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

    • the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

    Industrial disease compensation calculator

    Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

    Updated December 2023 Compensation Calculator v3.04

    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.

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

    Special damages

    Special damages is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your industrial disease Compensation can include loss of income, including future loss of income, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.

    These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as medical monitoring, psychological support and pain medication.

    Read more:

    A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

    Average industrial disease general damages compensation

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

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

    Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).

    Example Amount
    Lung disease
    Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection Up to £4,840
    Non-permanent lung conditions Up to £4,840
    Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years £9,670 to £18,910
    Bronchitis and wheezing £18,910 to £28,460
    Emphysema £49,850 to £63,660
    Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler £28,460 to £49,850
    Life-threatening disease affecting a young person £91,520 to £123,560
    Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment £63,660 to £88,480

    Which types of industrial diseases can I claim for?

    Industrial disease is a collective term that refers any illness or condition that develops as a result of exposure to harmful substances or unsafe working conditions in an industrial or work environment.

    Any disease or injury can be claimed for if it can be proven that condition resulted from an employer's breach of their duty of care. We have helped injured people claim compensation for a wide range of industrial diseases including:

    Asbestos-related illnesses

    You can claim for your self or a family member with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, including after their death, or due to secondary exposure from asbestos fibres on a worker's clothes or skin.

    Read more:

    Asbestos-related illness claims


    Commonly occurring among hairdressers, cleaners and chemical workers, whose arms and hands are regularly exposed to dyes, bleaches and other irritant and allergenic chemicals.

    Dermatitis claims

    Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)

    The vast majority of industrial disease claims for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome are caused by the regular use of hand-operated vibrating power tools in the workplace. 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.

    HAVS claims also include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Vibration white finger (VWF)

    Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) claims

    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.

    Read more:

    Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) claims


    Occupational asthma

    Occupational asthma can occur in a range of industries. However, manufacturers of motor vehicles, food products and basic metals are identified as having the most cases.

    Occupational asthma claims

    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.

    Repetitive strain injury (RSI) claims


    Workers who cut, break, drill, crush or otherwise work with silica-containing materials are most at risk of developing silicosis. The disease is particularly prevalent in construction, mining, quarry works and stonemasonry.

    Silicosis claims

    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 3 years have lapsed, if the 'date of knowledge' of the injury was in this period. 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 3-year time frame, a claim is would normally be 'statue-barred'. This means that you would be legally restricted from making a compensation claim. Personal injury solicitors usually advise claimants to start an industrial disease claim 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 376 1001 to discuss your case with a solicitor.

    How can compensation help me?

    Financial compensation is no substitute for the pain, suffering and consequences of an industrial disease. 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 not occurred. As such, compensation should have a positive impact on your present circumstances and future care.

    Our 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

    What are the chances of my 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

    Injury FAQs

    How long does an injury claim take?

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    No win, no fee industrial disease compensation claims

    With no win, no fee, you can claim industrial disease compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

    Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

    How we can help you with your industrial disease claim

    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 industrial disease claims.

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    If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee industrial disease claim, we are open:

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    Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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    Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

    Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor