Industrial Disease claims are claims brought for injuries and conditions caused by your past or present working environment.
They differ from Accidents at Work because:
- exposure to the cause of the illness may have occurred some time ago;
- more than one employer (including former employers) may be liable;
- the symptoms can take a long time to show.
They are usually related to working in noisy, dusty or dirty conditions, involve the use of vibrating power tools or exposure to chemicals or other toxic substances.
Types of Claim
- Mesothelioma ‐ a cancer affecting either the lining of the lung (Pleura) or the lining of the abdomen (Peretoneum). It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos (either directly or indirectly). It can take up to 40 years for symptoms to appear.
- Asbestosis ‐ a dry almost constant cough with shortness of breath caused by breathing in tiny particles of asbestos over a long period of time. It may develop into Mesothelioma.
- Asthma ‐ usually known as occupational asthma to distinguish it from asthma which develops during childhood (congenital asthma). It is caused (or existing asthma is made worse) by prolonged exposure to a dusty working environment.
- Vibration White Finger ‐ a condition which affects the hands and fingers causing numbness, a tingling sensation and blanching (whitening). It is caused by using vibrating power tools e.g. pneumatic drills, road plating machines, and chainsaws over a long period of time.
- Hand, Arm, Vibration Syndome (HAVS) ‐ more properly called WRULD (Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder) claims. They include Vibration White Finger (above), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and De Quervains and are caused by extensive or prolonged use of power tools or by a repetitive action involving one piece of equipment.
- Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) ‐ includes full or partial deafness or a related condition such as Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing or hissing sounds in one or both ears) due to exposure to a noisy working environment or your employer's failure to provide adequate ear protection.
- Dermatitis ‐ flaking or blistering of the skin (normally on the hands or arms) leading to severe itching and/or bleeding. It is caused by exposure to chemical or biological substances (contact dermatitis) or by long periods of contact with water.
Making a Claim
While tobacco smoking will not help lung or chest conditions, being a smoker (either now or in the past) does not necessarily mean that you cannot pursue a claim.
For all Industrial Disease claims it is important that you seek medical advice as soon as you show any symptoms. Your GP will take a history and may ask you about the work that you do now or have done in the past. You should ask your doctor whether he believes your symptoms are related to that work.
Even if your GP cannot give you a definite answer, if you think you have any of the above you should seek legal advice immediately.
It is helpful if you bring with you to your first appointment details of your employment history, i.e. who you worked for and when, your job title, and the kind of work that you did.
For an initial chat, to obtain further details, or to arrange your (FREE) first appointment phone us on 0800 214 072 or 01603 620508, or email us.
Fosters Solicitors team of Personal Injury lawyers have a wealth of experience and knowledge to assist you in relation to any legal query or matter you may have. Call us on 01603 620508 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the department will be in touch very soon.
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