Whilst it is advisable to retain a firm of solicitors with expertise in the area of industrial disease, any sensible claimant should [...]
Industrial Disease Claims
Industrial Disease Claims
Many people wrongly believe that only those working in heavy industry can suffer from ‘industrial disease’. In fact, industrial disease claims are open to a wide range of employees, and cover a significant variety of conditions. Click on the headings below to learn more.
In order to be able to claim, you will generally need to be able to prove negligence. This means that there will have to have been a duty of care owed to you, that duty must have been breached, and that breach must have caused the illness or injury. In some industrial disease claims, proving this element of causation can be difficult, as it is not always straightforward to isolate incidents at work from other potential causes. To deal with this, the courts have built up a range of special rules.
The most obvious ailments which lead to industrial disease claims, such as asbestosis, are brought about by exposure to some form of noxious substance. However, these are not the only types of injury which can be claimed for. Injuries which may seem less serious, such as repetitive strain injury, are also common. The amount of compensation you will be owed is worked out according to guidelines laid down by the courts, which ensure that similar claims are granted similar amounts of damages.
In order to stand a reasonable chance of success, you will need to retain professional legal representation. It is possible that you may qualify for legal aid, although this is now unlikely in most cases. Instead, you should be able to undertake a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, in which your solicitor only charges you a fee if successful. As you have will have won your case, this fee is likely to be paid by the defendant. Alternatively, you may be able to take out legal expenses insurance, or may already be covered by trade union membership.
Industrial disease cases can be complex, and for this reason it is vital to find the right solicitor for you. Whilst there are a number of reputable accreditation schemes to help you to do this, you will also need to use your common sense in judging whether your solicitor is likely to do a good job. As ever, the best way of being sure is to ask for recommendations from friends, family and colleagues.
Even if you have retained a competent solicitor, it is still important that you understand the claims process. Your solicitor is likely to undertake their own investigation into your claim before launching action. Once they have done so, they will need to follow the Pre-Action Protocol as laid down by the Ministry of Justice, and will probably employ a barrister if your case goes to court. They will need to ensure that your claim is made within the ‘limitation period’, and that you have a reasonable prospect of success.
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