Dermatitis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by dermatitis we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered dermatitis 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
Contact dermatitis is a skin condition characterised by redness, itching, blisters and cracking. The condition commonly occurs among hairdressers, cleaners and chemical workers, whose arms and hands are regularly exposed to dyes, bleaches and other irritant and allergenic chemicals.
If dermatitis is caused or brought on by work or a work-related activity, a work-related illness claim for compensation can usually be made.
Do I have a dermatitis claim?
It should be possible to make a dermatitis 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 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
Understanding dermatitis claims in the UK
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2013 there were 1297 new diagnoses of occupational skin diseases. 907 of those (75%) were contact dermatitis (EPIDERM).
Working with wet hands, and contact with soap and other cleaning materials, are the most common causes. Others include latex, rubber, petroleum, cements, flour and nickel. Dermatitis can also be biological (plant or bacteria), physical (vibration or radiation) or mechanical (abrasion).
It can be caused by prolonged exposure, excessive exposure, splashes, touches or contaminated surfaces. Alternatively, airborne substances can deposit on the skin.
Occupations with the highest rates are florists, hairdressers, cooks, beauticians, and certain manufacturing and health care related occupations (THOR-EPIDERM).
Hands are most at risk, but dermatitis can affect the face and other parts of the body. A difficult condition to live with, it can cause significant pain and discomfort. Some people become permanently sensitised to certain substances. Some have to give up work because of it.
The Quittance panel of solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with work-related skin diseases, such as dermatitis.
When is dermatitis cause for a claim?
If dermatitis is brought on by non-fault exposure to an irritant or allergen, then a claim can be made for compensation. For occupational related dermatitis cases, responsibility would lie with the employer.
All employers have a legal ?duty of care' to ensure employees are kept safe from harm. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers are required to carry out risk assessments of the work environment to identify possible hazards. Once identified, they must remove them or adopt adequate health and safety measures to protect workers.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) more specifically requires employers to identify hazards associated with substances in the workplace, such as chemical agents, assess the extent of exposure and minimise the risks. Whilst The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 describes what they must do to manage the health and safety issues.
This set of regulations is particularly relevant as the substances that cause dermatitis are essential in many industries. For example, health workers are required to frequently wash their hands with soap and wear gloves. Likewise, hairdressers are frequently in contact with soaps and other chemicals and construction workers will need to use cements, plaster and other masonry.
In these instances, the employer must ensure that employees are given training on the risks and offered suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes gloves and clothing specifically matched to the substance. In addition skin creams and adequate washing facilities should be provided.
If a person's dermatitis is the result of an employer failing to carry out these legal duties, this would constitute employer negligence, making them liable.
How do I prove my dermatitis is work-related?
The first obstacle in a dermatitis compensation claim is demonstrating that the condition is work related. Even where a dermatologist confirms dermatitis in the claimant, establishing the cause can be difficult. For example, it could be argued that it was triggered by a substance outside of the work environment, or that the claimant already had the condition.
Demonstrating when symptoms occurred and if they correlated with a new job or a change in work conditions, such as the introduction of a new chemical or substance, can be vital.
Any evidence that can be gathered will be important. This includes:
- Medical diagnosis and prognosis on the condition
- Company accident records if it was caused by a single incident
- Physical proof of the suspected causal agent, including insufficient PPE
- Documented evidence of the companies health and safety procedures
- Witness accounts from fellow colleagues
An employer could argue in their defence that adequate safety measures were in place, and that the employee caused the condition by not following the correct practices or wearing the specified safety gear. In this case, ?contributory negligence' might be sought which would reduce the sum received.
The amount of money you could claim for your dermatitis 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 dermatitis 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 dermatitis? (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 a dermatitis 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 dermatitis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your dermatitis 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.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a dermatitis injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculate my dermatitis compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a dermatitis 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 dermatitis claim could be worth now:
How long does a dermatitis claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for dermatitis can vary significantly.
A simple liability accepted personal injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take substantially longer. Normally a work-related illness claim will take 6 to 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your dermatitis 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.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
How does no win, no fee work?
With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a dermatitis 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 dermatitis claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. 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 dermatitis claim?
If your dermatitis 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.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. dermatitis claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
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 workplace illness 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 dermatitis claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the dermatitis to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your dermatitis claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a dermatitis 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 dermatitis compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a dermatitis 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.