A Guide to Claiming Welding Illness Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by welding illness we can help.

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

Introduction

The Health and Safety Executive has estimated that approximately 40-50 people who are engaged in welding for a living require hospitalisation each year. Welding illness is relatively random: some welders are unaffected by their occupation, while others can suffer a range of symptoms.

Welding illness can range from minor complaints that resolve within a short period of time, to major conditions that drastically alter quality of life.

Do I have a welding illness claim?

It should be possible to make a welding illness 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.

How much compensation can I claim for welding illness?

The amount of money you could claim for your welding illness 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 welding illness 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 a welding illness? (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

What is the average injury compensation for a welding illness 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 welding illness will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your welding illness 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.

Can I see the complete judicial college tables?

The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common welding illness claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.

Can I claim for physiotherapy and private care costs?

Private treatment can be expensive, but funding towards the cost of this treatment frequently comprises part of a compensation award. Your solicitor may even be able to arrange access to private medical care as soon as your claim is accepted.

Welding illness compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a welding illness 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 welding illness claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a welding illness claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a welding illness can vary considerably.

If your employer accepts liability, a claim might be concluded in a month or two. If the employer denies liability, it could take longer. Typically, an industrial deafness claim should take 6 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a welding illness 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 welding illness 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 causes welding illness?

A welding accident, in which ultra violet and infra red radiation affects the welder, can cause serious burns to the skin. 'Arc eye', in which the surface of the eye is eroded by radiation, can also be caused by a welding accident. Both burns and 'arc eye' can be the result of an employer failing to provide effective personal protective equipment, or as the result of an employee neglecting to use such equipment correctly.

Welding illness can also be caused by the production of fumes during the welding process. A lack of appropriate ventilation or failure to use the correct personal protective equipment can cause welders to ingest toxic amounts of fumes. This ingestion can be extremely detrimental to the health of the welder, and may result in the necessity to change careers, or an inability to work in any capacity.

What conditions can be caused by welding fumes?

Welding fume fever can appear very similar to the 'flu. It usually resolves after a period of time, and it is unlikely to cause long term effects on the health of the welder.

The function of the lungs can be temporarily affected by the ingestion of welding fumes. This can mean that you have difficulty breathing that escalates over the course of your week at work. If exposure is limited thereafter, you may not experience any lasting effects.

If the area in which you are welding is not appropriately ventilated, you may develop chronic bronchitis or occupational asthma. This is caused by the fumes irritating the lining of the lungs, and can drastically affect your day to day life, making breathing difficult and laborious. The inhalation of rosin, a resin sometimes used by welders, can also be a precursor to occupational asthma. Unfortunately, the effects of this can be permanent and risk your life.

Welder's Siderosis, also known as Welder's Lung, can occur when tiny pieces of iron get into the lungs. This can happen to people who are involved in welding carbon steels. This condition can also make breathing difficult, and reduce your ability to complete simple tasks or engage in exercise.

Manganism can result from welding carbon steel. Also known as manganese poisoning, the effects of this can be extremely debilitating. Symptoms often mimic those of Parkinson's Disease, and may include trembling, shaking, difficulties with balance, slurred speech, problems with walking, impotence, feeling tired all the time, and leg cramps during the night.

Can welding illnesses be prevented?

Your employer has a duty to prevent welding illness from occurring. Employers are obliged to ensure that the area in which you are working is well ventilated, and to provide appropriate personal protective equipment. Organisations that employ welders are also responsible for conducting regular risk assessments in order to protect the safety of all staff, and prevent welding illnesses from developing.

No win, no fee

No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making a welding illness claim. If you don't win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a welding illness injury compensation claim.

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

What do I pay if I do not win my welding illness claim?

If your welding illness claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

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:

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Welding illness 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 a welding illness claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a welding illness 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 welding illness compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a welding illness 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