Silicosis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by silicosis we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered silicosis 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
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust, a common mineral found in certain types of stone, rock, granite, sand and clay. The Health and Safety Executive reports that silicosis dust is responsible for more than 600 deaths each year; two-thirds reported cases occur in the construction sector.
Workers and retired workers who are diagnosed with silicosis after being exposed to silica dust at work may be entitled to make an industrial diseases claim against their employer.
Do I have a silicosis claim?
It should be possible to make a silicosis 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.
What is silicosis lung disease?
Silica dust is toxic to the lining of the lungs. When inhaled, it causes inflammation that irreversibly damages the lung tissue - a condition known as silicosis.
If silicosis is suspected but not yet formally diagnosed, the claimant's solicitor will arranged for a medical examination to confirm the diagnosis, recommend further treatment, and provide medical evidence so the claim can progress.
The Courts recognise that the severity of silicosis symptoms will affect an individual's life to varying degrees, and adjust the compensation awarded accordingly. The three main types of silicosis are:
- Simple chronic silicosis - the most common type of silicosis that occurs after 20 years of inhaling silica dust, causing shortness of breath and a dry cough.
- Accelerated silicosis - occurs in workers who inhale higher levels of silica over a shorter period, usually between 5 and 15 years. Symptoms develop sooner and include severe breathlessness, fatigue and weight loss.
- Acute silicosis - a rare form of the disease that occurs after brief exposure to very high levels of silica dust. Symptoms may be immediate and severe, include breathing difficulty, chest pain and fluid on the lungs that does not respond to treatment. Prognosis depends on the amount of damage to the lungs.
The amount of money you could claim for your silicosis 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 silicosis 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 silicosis? (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 silicosis 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 silicosis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your silicosis 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 I have to pay tax on my silicosis compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following a silicosis 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.
Can I see the complete judicial college tables?
The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common silicosis claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a silicosis 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 silicosis claim could be worth now:
How long does a silicosis claim take?
How long it can take to win compensation for a silicosis claim can vary significantly.
For instance, if your employer accepts liability, a claim could be completed in a few weeks. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take considerably longer. On average a claim will take 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 silicosis 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.
Who is at risk of silicosis?
People who cut, break, drill, crush or otherwise work with silica-containing materials are most at risk of developing silicosis. As such, silicosis is more prevalent among workers in the following industries:
- Quarry works
- Sand blasting
- Foundry work
You do not need to have been employed in these industries to make a silicosis claim. If you have been exposed to silica dust as the result of another party's negligence, and have developed silicosis as a result, you may be able to make a claim.
Your solicitor will help to identify the party responsible for the exposure, and will advise on whether a claim can be made.
Is my employer laible?
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 impose far-reaching obligations on employers to minimise the effects of silica exposure, including:
- Risk assessments to gauge whether the work environment is hazardous
- Issuing personal protective equipment to employees
- Providing adequate safety training.
If an employer has breached their health and safety regulations, or has otherwise failed to take reasonable steps to keep their workers safe from harm, then a silicosis compensation claim can be made.
What if my employer has gone out of business?
By law, employers must maintain Employers' Liability insurance to compensate their workers and former workers in the event that they suffer an accident or injury while at work.
Quittance's network of expert industrial claims solicitors can help trace the insurers of a former employer using the Employers' Liability Tracing Office and records held at Companies House. Even if an employer is no longer in business, it is still possible to make a claim for silicosis compensation against the insurer. Learn more from our article "Can I claim compensation if my employer has ceased trading "
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a silicosis claim without needing to worry about upfront legal fees. If your silicosis claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your silicosis injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my silicosis 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 silicosis claim?
If your silicosis 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.
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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
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 silicosis claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the silicosis to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your silicosis claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a silicosis 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 silicosis compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a silicosis 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.