Siderosis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by siderosis we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered siderosis 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
Siderosis is one of a group of lung diseases known as pneumoconiosis. It is caused by iron overload in the lungs as a consequence of inhaling iron dust, usually over a long period of exposure. According to the British Medical Journal, around 7% of arc welders are diagnosed with the disease.
Siderosis claims fall within the category of industrial disease compensation claims. If you have been diagnosed with siderosis, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation against your employer or a former employer.
Do I have a siderosis claim?
As a basic rule, you can make a siderosis claim if your injury happened:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a siderosis claim on their own behalf.
Can I claim if the siderosis made an existing injury or condition worse?
Yes, although demonstrating this can be more difficult than proving a straightforward siderosis injury, so legal and medical advice should be sought as early as possible.
What is siderosis?
Siderosis is caused by the inhalation of iron particles. The disease typically presents in metalworkers who might breathe in the iron dust that is emitted in welding fumes when there is insufficient ventilation in the area. For this reason, siderosis is commonly known as welder's lung.
For many patients, siderosis is a benign disease. This means that the patient may experience only minor symptoms and lung function is not usually affected. Other patients may display a variety of chronic symptoms including:
- Chest pains
- Asthma symptoms
- Breathing difficulties.
In severe cases, welders may develop pneumonia, a serious lung infection or total body iron overload. Diagnosis is by way of chest X-ray, scans and breathing tests. Treatment will depend on what, if any, symptoms emerge.
Getting an independent medical assessment of the potential symptoms of siderosis is a key step in the claims process. This ensures that the compensation settlement reflects the long-term prognosis for the condition and the effect it will have on the claimant's life.
The conditions of employment, the severity of the illness and the effect the siderosis will have on the claimant's quality of life will all be factored into the compensation award. The claimant's age is also relevant. Younger claimants typically receive more compensation than older claimants to reflect the fact that they must live with the condition for a longer period of time.
Employers have a 'duty of care'
Employers have a legal 'duty of care' to minimise a worker's exposure to fumes and dust in the workplace. If a potentially hazardous work task cannot be eliminated, employers should take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of a worker developing siderosis, for example by:
- Ensuring that the work area has sufficient extraction equipment
- Supplying personal protective equipment such as a mask and respiratory aids.
Where an employer has not done everything they reasonably could to provide a safe working environment, and the employee has developed welder's lung as a result, a claim for compensation may be brought. Failing to provide suitable protective equipment is likely to be such a breach.
Siderosis claims must be brought within three years of:
- The date of exposure to iron dust; or
- The date the claimant first became aware of the illness following a diagnosis.
What if my employer has gone out of business?
Siderosis can take ten years or more to develop. By the time a diagnosis is made, the claimant's former employer may have gone out of business.
In this scenario, a claim may still be made. The injury lawyer can help with tracing the parties responsible for the illness and their insurers using the Employers' Liability Tracing Office and records held at Companies House. The insurance company will be responsible for paying the compensation.
The amount of money you could claim for your siderosis 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 siderosis 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 siderosis? (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
Siderosis compensation amounts
The following siderosis payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Lung disease||Minor||Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection||£1,760 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Non-permanent lung conditions||£4,240 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£8,480 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Bronchitis and wheezing||£16,580 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Emphysema||£43,670 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£24,950 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Severe||Life-threatening disease affecting a young person||£80,250 to £108,370|
|Neck injury||Serious||Fractures or dislocations or severe soft tissue damage||£36,240 to £44,630|
What is the average injury compensation for a siderosis 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 siderosis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your siderosis 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.
See the injury table above for some examples.
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.
Calculate my siderosis compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a siderosis 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 siderosis claim could be worth now:
How long does a siderosis claim take?
How long it can take to get compensation for siderosis can vary significantly.
For example, a simple liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a month or two. However, if liability is denied it could take considerably longer. On average an injury claim should take 4 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your siderosis 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.
No win, no fee - the facts
No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything at all if your siderosis claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a siderosis injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my siderosis claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after 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 siderosis claim?
If your siderosis claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a catch?
The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.
How can Quittance help?
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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 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 siderosis claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the siderosis to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your siderosis claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a siderosis 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.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
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 siderosis compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a siderosis 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.