Kidney injury compensation claims
This article sets out what you need to know about making a successful kidney injury compensation claim.
The two main types of kidney injury are Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). According to statistics from NHS Kidney Care, CKD affects around 4% of the adult population whilst AKI affects an estimated 33000 to 40000 people in the UK.
Although causes are varied, including diabetes and dehydration, in some instances kidney damage is the result of negligence in the workplace. The most common cause of CKD in compensation claims is exposure to hazardous substances. For AKI it is medical negligence.
If an individual develops kidney disease under any of these circumstances, they may be entitled to claim compensation.
If you have suffered a kidney injury in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Do the Courts recognise Chronic Kidney Disease?
Characterised by abnormal kidney function or structure, chronic kidney disease is the result of damage over a long period. Symptoms may not be immediately apparent, and often occur only when very little kidney function remains. At this stage, recognised symptoms include weight loss, swollen ankles, blood or protein in urine, shortness of breath and itchy skin.
A change in kidney function is often discovered during routine blood and urine tests, so having chronic kidney disease does not always mean there are any obvious symptoms. CKD is often caused by a pre-existing condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. However, industrial disease compensation claims are also made following exposure to hazardous substances which infiltrate or are ingested into the body. For example, the condition can be caused by heavy metal nephrotoxins, common in many industries. These include:
- Lead - used in batteries, ammunition, pipes and X-rays shields
- Cadmium - found in batteries, pigments, metal coatings and plastics
- Mercury - found in chlorine gas and caustic soda production, thermometers, dental fillings and batteries
- Arsenic - used in wood preserver and pesticides
- Uranium - used in nuclear energy and weapons
Other causal agents found in the workplace are: silica; barium; dichloroethene; hydrazines; manganese; phosphorus; toluene; and toxaphene.
Workplaces affected include dentistry, pharmaceuticals, nuclear energy production, the agricultural industry and many manufacturing industries. Industries that use manufactured products containing a hazardous substance are also at risk.
Who is liable in Chronic Kidney Disease claims?
In most chronic kidney disease claims, an employer is liable, provided it can be shown that their actions were negligent. Under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers have a legal ?duty of care' to protect employees from the dangers of hazardous substances. In order to do this they are required to:
- Carrying out a risk assessment to identify hazards and decide how to control them
- Provide control measures, such as adequate ventilation, protective clothing and breathing masks, to reduce harm to health and ensure they are used
- Maintain control measures to ensure they are in good working order
- Provide staff instruction and training on the risks and procedures
- Provide monitoring and health surveillance
If it can be shown that an employer failed to carry out the appropriate actions, which lead to a diagnosis of kidney disease in an employee, they would be liable in a compensation case. Evidence to prove this would include medical reports, company health and safety records and witnesses to the working processes.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
What is Acute Kidney Injury?
Acute Kidney Injury is characterised by a rapid decline in kidney function brought on by sudden or short-term damage. It is often the result of complications from existing conditions and can cause minor loss of kidney function or complete renal failure. Recognised symptoms include nausea and vomiting, confusion, high blood pressure, abdominal pain and a build-up of fluid in the body.
Symptoms are not always immediate but a possible early warning sign is reduced urine production. Acute kidney injury is usually caused by an event that leads to kidney malfunction, such as dehydration, blood loss from major surgery or injury or the administration of certain medicines.
Most cases of acute kidney injury occur in people who are already in hospital for other reasons. Common claims arise as a result of a failure to carry out an investigation or failure to interpret the information. Other claims involve kidney damage during negligent surgery and failure to keep the patient adequately hydrated.
Research from the NHS shows that around 20-30% of cases could be prevented.
Who is liable in Acute Kidney Injury claims?
In the majority of claims, a hospital or an individual medical practitioner is liable if their action or inaction caused the condition - for example if:
- An at-risk patient developed the condition
- There was unnecessary blood loss during a surgical procedure
- A person became dehydrated because of poor care
In these cases, where a hospital or individual member of staff acted against the best interests of the patient, a claim can be made based on negligence.
Kidney damage medical negligence claims can be complex, and often daunting, for example in cases against large NHS hospitals. A solicitor can help simplify the process and source the right kind of evidence to support a case.
A no win no fee contract (also referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement) is agreed between the claimant and lawyer.
The Conditional Fee Agreement is essentially the conditions under which the solicitor acts for the client.
It sets out what the lawyer will do and how the solicitor is rewarded if your claim is ultimately successful.
If you choose a Quittance solicitor for your kidney injury claim there will be no sneaky hidden fees , nothing to pay up-front and the peace of mind that you will not be financially out of pocket.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim kidney injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Meet the QLS team
Our national panel of solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim, including fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our lawyers are chosen on the basis of their years of specialist experience and their track record in winning cases.
About the author
Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert