Perchlorate-Related Illness Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a perchlorate related illness, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Perchlorates are a known toxin identified as having a negative impact on health, in particular, thyroid function, metabolism and hormonal balance. Although perchlorates, or perchlorate salts, occur naturally, they are also manufactured in significant amounts because of their slow reacting, volatile properties.
Because of this, people who work in certain industries are particularly at risk of exposure. This includes manufacturers of rocket fuel, explosives, airbags, fireworks and fertilisers.
If you develop a perchlorate-related illness after exposure in the workplace, you could be entitled to claim for compensation if your employer was at fault.
A perchlorate (CIO4) is a negatively charged group of atoms consisting of a central chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms. When combined with positively charged ammonium or alkalis, they become an inorganic compound known as perchlorates or perchlorate salts.
Five perchlorates are manufactured in significant amounts:
- sodium and
- lithium perchlorates
Perchlorates can enter the body through ingestion, which is more common in general environmental exposure. However, in workplace exposure, inhalation is the most likely route. Once inside the body, perchlorates are thought to affect the thyroid, partially inhibiting its uptake of iodine - the building block for the thyroid hormone.
As the thyroid function regulates a number of body functions, when affected, a range of symptoms can occur.
Diagnosing a perchlorate related illness
One of the first steps in a perchlorate related illness claim is establishing a firm medical diagnosis. Many of the symptoms of perchlorate exposure are common to a range of thyroid disorders. Recognised symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Slow heart rate
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Numbness of tingling in the hands
- Hair loss
It is important when being assessed that a person provides details on their work history. This can help a doctor establish any links between the symptoms and possible perchlorate exposure. Urine and blood tests can also be performed to detect whether or not there is perchlorate in the body.
What are the responsibilities of an employer regarding perchlorates?
Perchlorates are colourless and odourless; however, any employer who knows their industry and who has carried out a full risk assessment - a legal requirement - should have identified the risk.
In addition, although the use of perchlorates is necessary in some industries, an employer should do everything that is 'reasonably practical' to ensure employees do not become ill due to neglectful exposure. This could include:
- Installing adequate installation
- Supplying suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as breathing masks
- Providing adequate training on the risks of perchlorates and the agreed control measures
- Limiting weekly exposure times
This 'duty of care' falls under a range of legislation including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH).
If an employer fails to meet any of these requirements, they could be liable if negligence can be proven.
How can negligence be proven?
Proving negligence, and ultimately establishing liability, is not always straightforward in perchlorate related illness claims. As exposure can occur in everyday situations, proving that the workplace was the causal factor will often require a range of evidence.
This could include medical reports demonstrating high levels of perchlorate, which is found predominantly in people exposed on a daily basis. It could also include company health and safety records which show that a risk has not been identified or a control was not adequate.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Around 2% 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, no risk
'No win, no fee' means that if you do not win your injury claim, you will not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal agreement entered into between you and the solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee 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.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
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 injury 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.