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Industrial disease claims

At Digby Brown, we understand the complexities involved in industrial diseases. Our dedicated team of industrial disease solicitors has decades of experience in helping people affected by complex or life-altering conditions they developed through the course of their work.

What are examples of an industrial illness disease?

Industrial illnesses, also known as occupational diseases or industrial diseases, are health conditions that arise and develop following safety failures in the workplace. These health conditions and illnesses are often from exposure to hazards and risks in the workplace. These illnesses often result from the result of prolonged or excessive exposure to certain harmful substances, environmental factors, or working conditions., working in unsafe conditions or not being provided with the correct safety equipment or PPE.

Below are some examples of industrial illnesses that have been observed in the UK, and a more comprehensive list of pages can be found above. Some of the most common industrial diseases include:

  • Asbestosis: This is a chronic lung condition caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres fibres. Asbestos was commonly used in construction and other industries until its ban in the UK in 1999. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to scarring of the lung tissue, breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and has a long latency period, often appearing most commonly diagnosed several decades after someone is exposed to asbestos.
  • Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS): HAVS is a condition that affects the blood vessels, nerves, and joints of the hand, wrist, and arm due to prolonged use of vibrating tools or machinery. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, pain, and reduced dexterity.
  • Silicosis: This lung disease is caused by inhaling silica dust, which can occur in industries like mining, construction, or quarrying. Prolonged exposure to silica dust can lead to scarring of lung tissue, breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of tuberculosis and lung cancer.

No win, no fee personal injury solicitors

The expression “No win, no fee” is often used in personal injury cases.  It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses. 

A number of solicitors are prepared to handle personal injury cases on a “No Win – No Fee” basis but very few are able to offer their clients complete protection if the case is unsuccessful. 

In that event, the client could end up being liable for many thousands of pounds in legal expenses or the case won't be fully investigated and therefore likely to under-settle.

Compensate 'no win, no fee' funding

Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and where and if necessary go to court.

If for whatever reason the case is unsuccessful, Compensate pays all your legal expenses and those of your opponent – you pay nothing

On average our clients receive over 3 times the pre-litigation offer

Because of Compensate funding Digby Brown's success rate is extremely high and on average our clients receive three times the pre-litigation offer.

In the event the case is successful, a small percentage of your damages will be deducted with VAT to pay for this service. The percentage which Compensate will charge depends on the degree of risk involved. We believe that this is the fairest method of giving clients access to justice whilst ensuring their cases are fully investigated, prepared and funded.

Don’t take our word for it, just read many of the court decisions and case studies on our website.

Beware of compensation offers which may be too good

We know you will have seen many adverts offering 100% compensation or telling you that you will not lose any of your compensation, however we believe there are a number of problems with companies that do this.

  • How do they make their money if they don’t charge you anything?
  • If they aren’t taking any money from you, the client, what incentive do they have to ensure you receive the right level of compensation, appropriate to the injuries you have sustained?
  • Fully preparing a case, finding out exactly what happened and what the consequences of your injuries may mean in the long term, is expensive, how do they do this properly?
  • If they aren’t fully preparing these cases will they just accept the first offer they are given on your behalf by the Insurance company?
  • It makes simple business sense, the less work they do the higher their profit margin is - they simply have no incentive to work harder on your behalf.
  • These adverts in the main are from English firms on national television which operates in a different way and therefore wouldn’t apply to a Scottish person.

We know from the many client cases we mandate from other firms of solicitors (in the main at the request of the client who is extremely unsatisfied with the service received for the other firm) that many shortcuts are taken in preparation and that the first offer received is being recommended for acceptance, regardless of the value. 

Getting something for nothing is usually the first sign of poor service.

Correct level of compensation with Digby Brown

Our experience and statistics show time and time again we will achieve the correct level of compensation which will be substantially more than the insurer is initially prepared to offer.

Even after we have deducted our percentage as a success fee you will gain considerably more than you would have achieved using a 100% compensation model.

Contact Digby Brown's personal injury solicitors

We have offices across Scotland in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Aberdeen and Ayr.

For further information about no win, no fee, or anything else, call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form below and someone will get back in touch with you.

How long have I got to make an industrial disease claim?

Generally speaking, in Scotland, you have three years from the date that medical professionals noted your condition to make an industrial disease claim.

The three years runs from the latter of these two dates –

  1. Last date employer negligently exposed the employee to dangerous substance or practices; or
  2. The date on which it became reasonably practicable for an individual to be aware of a sufficiently serious injury/diagnosis, caused by a particular act or omission and that a particular defender was responsible for the exposure which led to the injury’s development.

The three-year period may well start to run prior to any medical diagnosis by a doctor.

For this reason, if you believe that you may have a condition that could have been caused by your working conditions, it is important that you seek medical and legal advice as soon as possible.

The first step is to simply speak to you and take a statement where we will gather details of:

  • Your diagnosis
  • Your symptoms
  • The impact the condition is having on your life i.e. tasks you now struggle to do (or can’t)
  • Any specific needs you now have (such as help with walking, household tasks or being reliant on oxygen masks for breathing)
  • Your prognosis (if provided by health care professionals)

A crucial aspect of having a successful industrial disease compensation claim is showing the exposure is negligent. This means we need to gather evidence that shows, on the balance of probabilities, that the exposure was both negligent and causative of your recent diagnosis and nothing else. This means that within your statement we will also want to discuss:

  • Your work history – past roles, duties and the details of employers you worked for
  • Any locations where you may have been exposed to
  • Details of any PPE (not) provided to you
  • Details of how your employers asked you to perform your duties i.e. were you asked/expected to cut corners in health and safety?
  • Details of any friends or former colleagues who may be able to support your version of events
  • Gathering this information helps us understand the situation and build a picture of what happened.

After that, we need to prove it. This means we need to gather crucial pieces of evidence like:

  • Medical reports
  • Employment records
  • Supporting witness statements
  • Working with care providers to ensure the full needs of you and your family are considered

We even take steps to track down the insurance policies of dissolved or liquidated companies. Compensation has to come from somewhere and most of the time it is from insurance companies (unless you are applying for a government-funded scheme). So the reality is that if there is no insurance there can be no claim.

However, Digby Brown has decades of experience in successfully tracking down historic policies - and even restoring previously liquidated companies - to make sure people have access to justice and the damages they and their families deserve.

Who else can make an industrial illness claim?

In our experience it is more common for former tradespeople to develop industrial diseases however there are other people who can go on to develop industrial diseases – especially in relation to asbestos claims.

It is already known that spouses and family members of trade workers could develop asbestos conditions. This happened when workers would return home in dusty clothing – this brought asbestos fibres into the house and decades later their wives or children developed asbestos conditions.

Regardless of how you were exposed, in each case, we will instruct the right experts to support your claim.

The key to any industrial disease injury claim is remembering it is the responsibility of the employer to keep their workers safe and they are meant to do this by:

  • Conducting thorough risk assessments, particularly for injuries caused by repetitive activities.
  • Providing appropriate safety equipment, such as ear protectors, to mitigate potential harm.
  • Minimising exposure to toxic substances whenever feasible.
  • Offering comprehensive training programs to prevent injuries, like proper manual handling techniques to avoid long-term back problems.

How long does an industrial disease claim take?

Generally speaking, industrial illness and disease cases tend to be complex as historical, medical and engineering   evidence is required to build a strong case. We always advise that you seek out an experienced industrial disease solicitor to provide you with legal expertise whilst acting as quickly as possible to give you the best possible chances of success. 

In addition, the gathering the kinds of evidence and statements set out above we will also seek to recover other supporting evidence like:

  • Your medical records – to illustrate the extent of your condition
  • Insurance details of your former employer – This will ensure there is a route to compensation

But don’t worry – it is our job to gather all this information. It’s precisely what we’re here for. We know you will be focused on your well-being or your family – and rightly so. But we have the knowledge and resources to recover all necessary documents to help.

How much compensation am I likely to receive?

The amount of compensation you can receive for an industrial disease claim is not predetermined or set as each case is unique. At Digby Brown, we are committed to ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve.

The factors that contribute to determining the compensation amount include:

  1. The severity of the Disease: The seriousness of your industrial disease plays a crucial role in assessing the compensation you may be entitled to. The extent of physical and emotional harm caused by the illness is taken into account.
  2. Long-Term Impacts: We consider the long-term consequences that industrial disease has on your life. This includes evaluating any lasting effects on your health, well-being, and ability to carry out daily activities.
  3. General Pain and Suffering: Compensation may be awarded for the pain and suffering endured due to the industrial disease. This encompasses the physical and emotional distress caused by the illness.
  4. Loss of Earnings: If the industrial illness has resulted in a loss of earnings, either temporarily or permanently, we factor this into the compensation calculation. This includes assessing the impact on your current and future earning potential.
  5. Medical Expenses: Any medical expenses incurred as a result of the industrial disease, such as treatments, medications, and rehabilitation, are considered when determining the compensation amount.

By taking into account these various aspects, our dedicated team our industrial disease solicitors strive to ensure that you get fair compensation.

Our Industrial disease solicitors will guide you through the claim process

Wherever possible, our industrial disease solicitors like to follow up on the initial discussion by arranging a face-to-face meeting with you, either in our office, at the hospital or we are happy to come to your home if this is most convenient.

At this first meeting, we will explain exactly what steps we will be taking and the process involved in seeking financial compensation.

We will also let you know what you can do to help us. We will fully explain how we fund the case through our no win no fee compensate funding scheme.

Why choose Digby Brown?

We have a long track record of representing victims of industrial diseases who are represented by a dedicated team of highly experienced industrial disease solicitors.

You may already know that Digby Brown is already recognised as a leading personal injury firm by independent legal watchdog Chambers & Partners. Well, our Industrial Disease team is also celebrated in its own right as Fraser Simpson, the Partner who leads the department, is recognised as one of the top legal minds in Scotland for industrial disease claims.

Our expertise is further recognised by support charities like Asbestos Action and Clydebank Asbestos Group who have recommended our service to patients they help. We have supported both groups – and the people and communities who depend on them – for decades, from fundraising activities to partnership campaigns.

We pride ourselves on being experts in this field but more than that – we pride ourselves on the results we deliver to those who deserve it.

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