Whilst compensation claims for accidents in the workplace are seemingly commonplace these days, less is known about the rights for those suffering from other industry-related health issues.
Anyone who has suffered an injury whilst in the course of their employment is entitled to seek advice on making a personal injury claim. Compensation may be payable for all sorts of industry-related health problems, from simple slips, trips and falls to more complex cases involving industrial deafness or industrial diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or even vibration white finger.
Responsibility: who is liable?
In any kind of workplace, the employer has a legal responsibility to protect his employers, so far as is reasonably practicable, from known hazards. All reasonable precautions should be taken and the correct training and equipment should be given to all workers. This duty of care is well established in law and when breached, may leave the employer open to a claim for compensation from a sick or injured worker. Workers who come into contact with or handle dangerous chemicals might want to check whether or not such chemicals can reasonably be replaced by less harmful substances. If this is not possible, your contact with the chemicals should be kept to a minimum and the correct safety clothing and equipment should be used. Once training and equipment have been provided, it is the responsibility of the employee to utilise that training and wear the right equipment; however, employers are still ultimately responsible.
Making a claim
If you feel that you have suffered an industrial illness or disease, or indeed have suffered an industrial accident, after seeking help from a medical practitioner you should seek personal injury claim advice. Seeking advice as soon as you are aware of a potential problem can be enormously beneficial, as you will receive information about the sort of evidence that you will need and will find out if indeed you may have a valid claim. Professional advice will also allow you to ask any questions that you may have either about the claims process itself or about the sort of compensation figure that you may be entitled to should your claim be successful. Your initial enquiry will not, however, place you under any obligation whatsoever to pursue a claim in the future.
It should be noted that many industrial diseases and illnesses can get progressively worse, even when the sufferer is removed from the environment that gave rise to the problem in the first instance. This is another good reason to seek advice early on, as although you may not feel as though you want to claim now, as your problem worsens, you could start to see a real need not only to get compensation, but also to bring your employer to task and make him improve safety procedures for other employees. Seeking personal injury claim advice early does not irrevocably tie you to making a claim, but will be of enormous benefit should you decide that this is the route that you wish to take.