There are a couple of things you can do if you are unsure.
Firstly, if you have not already seen a doctor about your symptoms then you should make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. For the sake of your own health above anything else, it is important that your injury or disease is properly diagnosed and that you receive whatever treatment you might need.
Secondly, if you have been diagnosed, or investigations are underway but you are still unsure if your injury has been caused by your past employment, you can speak to a member of our team who will be able to discuss your injury and work history with you and give a preliminary view on what the cause might be.
Some injuries and diseases are more likely to be as a result of your work history than old age, such as Vibration White Finger, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and Asbestos related diseases like Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Of course, your employment may not be the only cause of your disease, and it could be due to a combination of factors.
However other injuries, for example hearing loss, can simply be as a result of old age even if you have been exposed to a noisy workplace; or it could be due to a combination of both.
Ultimately, we are not doctors and cannot say for certain what the cause of your injury may be. However, if we think your injury or disease is likely to have been caused by the environment you worked in or the equipment that you used, then later in your case we will ask an independent medical expert to examine you and give a firmer opinion to support your case.
What happens if I die before settlement has been achieved? Can my family continue with the claim and obtain compensation?
The simple answer is yes, they can. Your family can carry on with your claim and the compensation they win will form part of your estate. Strict time limits still apply and family members should contact us to discuss individual scenarios.
Once the compensation has been paid to you, that money is yours and will form part of your estate when you die. You can therefore include it in your Will and pass it to your family or to charitable organisations as you would with any other assets you have.
Yes, there is. You generally have three years to bring a claim for industrial disease compensation, although there are some exceptions that our team can explain if your case requires it. The start date of the three year period can vary dramatically depending on your individual circumstances. Unlike an accident, which occurs on a definite date, an industrial disease can develop over many years of exposure to a hazardous environment, so there is no “fixed” date when your injury actually occurred.
As a result, working out the date that the three year period starts can be a complicated task, taking into account when your symptoms first started, when a diagnosis was made, and what knowledge you had about the risks of the environment you were working in.
If you think you have a potential claim for industrial disease compensation, it is very important that you speak to one of our team as soon as possible, as you may in fact have much less than three years left to bring your claim. After speaking with one of our team, we should be able to give you a much better idea of what the time limit is in your individual case.
This is a common situation, because many industrial diseases only start to show symptoms years and even decades after being exposed to a hazardous environment or harmful equipment, and sometimes long after the company has ceased to exist.
Fortunately, this does not prevent you from making a claim. The claim is made against the company’s insurers, who are much more likely to still be in existence. We can make enquiries with the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office, an organisation that keeps a database of employers’ liability insurance policies, to try and identify the relevant insurance company for your former employer at the time you worked there.
So, even if your former employer stopped trading many years ago, there is still a very good chance that we can find their old insurers to make your claim against.
In general, although your medical records will be very helpful and contain lots of useful information, they do not include all of the information that is required to reach a proper compensation settlement for you.
You will therefore usually need to be medically examined by an independent medical expert at some point during your claim. The expert will write a report which will confirm what your injury or disease is, what has caused it and how your health might improve or deteriorate in the future. The expert can also give an opinion on what work you could do in the future, what care you might need or what equipment might help you. The medical report will be used to assess how much compensation you should be awarded.
It is likely that we will obtain copies of your medical records for the independent medical expert to review, as your records will contain details of the investigations and tests your own doctors and surgeons have already carried out. The independent medical expert can then work from the records and also their examination of you to form their opinion.
The length of time to conclude an Industrial Disease Compensation Claim varies greatly from case to case and can depend on what industrial disease you are suffering from and how quickly your employer admits that they are at fault for causing your disease.
If you are suffering from Mesothelioma, your claim may be concluded relatively quickly, as the High Court have a “fast track” procedure for Mesothelioma claims owing to the unfortunately short life expectancy for those suffering from this disease. Your case could be settled within as little as six months in such circumstances.
In other industrial disease claims, it can take around twelve to twenty-four months to conclude, but could take longer, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
In all likelihood no.
95% of our cases are settled without the need to go to court.
Most are negotiated and settle many months before any trial date.
If you do need to go to court, you should rest assured that our legal team will ensure that you are looked after, and that your case is presented to the very highest professional standard.