Silicosis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by silicosis, we can help.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist industrial disease solicitor.
Your solicitor will collect evidence to prove that your work caused your injuries or illness. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses. By law, your employer or former employer will have insurance to cover the cost of illness claims, and your compensation will be paid out of this policy. It should be possible to claim even if the company has shut down.
We can help you make an industrial disease claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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 an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if:
- you were diagnosed in the last 3 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 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
What if there is no evidence?
Evidence can take the form of eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage, photographs etc. It will be difficult to win a silicosis claim with no evidence at all. You may feel that there is no evidence but a solictor may well be able to assist in collating evidence that you, as a claimant, were unaware of.
Can I still make a silicosis claim after three years?
In general, a silicosis claim can only be made outside of the three-year limit if you were diagnosed within the last three years with a health condition that was caused by historic exposure, or you were fundamentally unable to make a claim within the three-year window, due to incapacity.
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 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.
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 an injury? (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 an injury 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 injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Will an industrial disease claim affect my benefits?
It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury 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?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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 liable?
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 "
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without needing to worry about upfront legal fees. If your injury 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 injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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 we can help you
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.
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
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 feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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 an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.