If dermatitis has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Occupational dermatitis claims typically arise from skin conditions due to workplace exposures.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by dermatitis, we can help. If your condition was caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical treatment costs, the impact on your employment, and any personal discomfort.

You can make a occupational illness compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

In this article

    You are not alone

    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.

    If you decide to make a dermatitis claim, your work illness solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

    If you are looking for information on dermatitis symptoms and treatment, see: contact dermatitis (nhs.uk).

    Hairdresser applying chemicals

    Do I qualify for dermatitis compensation?

    If you've been injured or made ill in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, then you will be entitled to claim compensation for dermatitis.

    Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.

    Compensation claims with shared fault

    It's not unusual for personal injury claims to involve fault on both sides.

    In our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, we found that 26.02% of injured workers felt they had at least some responsibility for the injuries they sustained.

    You could still be able to claim even if you were partly responsible for your illness. If you were injured at work, you can claim compensation from your employer under the principle of vicarious liability - even if you or another employee caused your illness.

    Read more:

    Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

    How long do I have to make a dermatitis injury claim?

    For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.

    If your injury or illness is not immediately apparent, the 3-year time limit starts from the date that you injury or illness was diagnosed and your were informed of the likely caused.

    The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.

    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 . 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.

    Read more:

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) injury claims

    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.

    How much compensation can I claim for a dermatitis?

    The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

    • the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

    Dermatitis compensation calculator

    Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

    Updated December 2023 Compensation Calculator v3.04

    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.

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

    Special damages

    Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for lost wages, bonuses, benefits and other perks, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as topical corticosteroids, moisturisers and antihistamines.

    Read more:

    A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

    Mental health support after a work accident

    In addition to physical injuries, a work accident can inflict lasting psychological harm.

    Our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey reveals the extent of psychological trauma, with 25.03% of claims involving a psychological injury, 62.38% of which related to a physical injury.

    Skin conditions like dermatitis can lead to social anxiety (social phobia) and self-consciousness, particularly in visible areas. In turn, this can lead to isolation and depression.

    Even after your physical recovery or rehabiliation is complete, hidden psychological injuries can take longer to heal.

    Factoring compensation for psychological harm will ensure you receive mental health support and other therapies that may not be readily available on the NHS in your area.

    Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.

    How did your injury happen?

    The claims process will vary depending on how your dermatitis happened. Click the icons below to learn more:

    Injury FAQs

    How long does an injury claim take?

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    No win, no fee dermatitis compensation claims

    With no win, no fee, you can claim dermatitis compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

    Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

    How we can help you with your workplace illness claim

    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.

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    If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee workplace illness claim, we are open:

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    Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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    Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

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