Latex allergy injury compensation claims
In the following article we set out what you need to know about making a latex allergy injury compensation claim.
The Health and Safety Executive estimates that between 1-6% of the population has a latex allergy.
Many everyday products contain latex, such as latex gloves, tyres, swimming caps and the foam inside some makes of pillows and mattresses.
Employers and manufacturers must ensure that individuals with a latex allergy are not unreasonably put at risk through exposure to latex-containing products and latex dust.
Where this duty is breached, and the breach results in an allergic reaction, a claim for compensation can usually be made.
If you have suffered a latex allergy in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Latex Allergy is an allergic response to:
- Proteins present in natural rubber latex or
- Chemicals used in processing natural rubber latex
Following exposure to natural rubber latex, some individuals may develop extreme sensitivity to these proteins or chemicals. The body's immune system is triggered and will react to any future exposure to latex. The body believes latex is harmful and produces antibodies in response.
Finding the cause
It will be necessary to determine the source of the latex allergy when making a claim. For the claim to be successful, In the context of work-related illness, it must be established that the latex allergy was caused by a breach by the employer. Sources of an allergic reaction to latex can include:
- Latex gloves (e.g. when mislabelled as latex-free)
- Latex balloons
- Inhalation of latex particles
- Rubber balls and other rubber products
Witness statements an medical evidence will be used to demonstrate the trigger for the allergic reaction.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
There are two applicable categories of latex allergy response: Type I and Type IV.
Type I Latex Allergy Response
Type I is the most severe type of allergic response. Symptoms occur immediately following contact with latex and can include respiratory difficulties, skin reactions and asthma. In very serious cases Type I latex allergy can produce anaphylaxis. This is a potentially life-threatening allergic response which severely restricts the ability to breathe.
Type IV Latex Allergy Response
A Type IV Latex Allergy response presents symptoms several hours after contact with latex. Symptoms typically include an itchy rash at the site of exposure, such as the hands if latex gloves have been worn.
Compensation is calculated based on the severity of the injury, so more general damages compensation is paid for most claims for a Type I response than for a Type IV reaction.
Compensation is also paid for the impact the symptoms have had on your life. If complications result from a Type I reaction, and claim can also be made for resulting injuries and longer-term conditions such as asthma.
Medical tests will be used to identify the type of latex allergy:
- Type I Latex Allergy - blood and skin prick tests, combined with a detailed clinical history
- Type IV Latex Allergy - ?patch testing' can confirm which chemicals are producing the latex allergy reaction
If you are unsure if your injury or illness resulted from an allergic response to latex, you can still make a claim. Your lawyer will arrange for an independent medical report to confirm the latex allergy diagnosis.
Employees who are regularly in contract with products containing latex could be at risk of developing a latex allergy.
Higher-risk latex exposure occupations include:
- Medical staff, including doctors, nurses and surgeons
- Dental surgeons and nurses
The most common latex allergy producing product is latex rubber gloves. Latex gloves are often powdered to stop them sticking together. Latex allergy may be triggered from this airborne power, even where no direct contact is made with the gloves.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), employers must assess the risks of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace, including latex.
Employers must take reasonable steps to control the risks of latex exposure. Employers must also provide training and information on latex exposure in the workplace.
Preventative measures in the workplace can include:
- Provision of non-latex gloves
- If latex gloves must be worn; providing a powder-free, low protein option
- Screening employees who have excessive exposure to latex products for latex allergies
If an employer is proven to have failed in their duty of care under COSHH Regulations, they could be held liable for latex allergy compensation claims.
No Win, No Fee agreements, also called Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), comprise the foundation of a injury claim.
A CFA is essentially a contract or "terms and conditions" between your lawyer and you.
The agreement sets out the work the solicitor handling your case provides and a success fee that will be deducted from the compensation if the case is successful.
By choosing a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor, you have peace of mind knowing that you will never be out of pocket and there will be absolutely nothing to pay at the outset.
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.
The national panel of QLS solicitors handle all types of road accident claims, from less-severe claims to life-changing injuries. Our lawyers are chosen on the basis of their specialist expertise and their track record in winning claims.
About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert