Occupational Cancer Claims
Working in certain industries can put you at risk of developing an industrial disease, due to exposure to harmful substances.
If you have worked in an environment that has exposed you to dangerous substances including asbestos, carcinogens and radiation, you could be at risk of developing a type of occupational cancer.
Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating, however a diagnosis can be made worse if your illness is a result of your working conditions. Our industrial disease solicitors are experienced in helping clients to get the justice, rehabilitation and compensation that they deserve.
We offer our clients:
- No Win No Fee agreements
- A free, initial, no-obligation assessment
- Expert medical negligence legal advice
- Maximum compensation
We will handle your claim with empathy and care. Contact us today on 0344 854 7000 or submit your enquiry below and we will call you back.
What is occupational cancer?
An occupational cancer is caused when a person is subjected to prolonged exposure to cancer-causing substances in the workplace. Harmful substances including:
- UV exposure
Can be inhaled, ingested and absorbed through the skin, which can lead to development of cancer.
What are the most common occupational cancers?
The most common occupational cancers include:
Lung Cancer: largely caused due to exposure to asbestosis, but can also be caused through exposure to carcinogenic chemicals like cadmium. Radon exposure and silica dust inhalation can also cause lung cancer.
Nasal/Sinus Cancer: This can be caused due to exposure to leather and wood dust.
Throat/Laryngeal Cancer: Which can develop through exposure to acid mists.
Liver Cancer: Due to exposure to vinyl chloride used to make PVC.
Skin Cancer: Caused through working outside for prolonged periods of time, or through exposure to mineral oils and coal-tar distillation (non-melanoma skin cancer).
Bladder Cancer: This can be caused through exposure to benzidine used in dyes and pigments.
Who is at risk of developing an occupational cancer?
People who work in the following professions may be more likely to develop occupational cancer due to their exposure to harmful chemicals, including:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Military personnel
What is my employers’ responsibility?
All employers have a legal duty of care to protect their employees from harm in the workplace. If your employer has failed to put systems in place to minimise your exposure to carcinogens, they could be found liable for causing your illness if you develop an occupational cancer.
In some industries it is not always possible to remove carcinogens completely, as the substance is needed to complete the process. In this case your employer should follow the guidance set out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) to minimise exposure and ensure that when employees are exposed they are protected through:
- PPE: Including breathing masks, eye protection, gloves and other safety clothing.
- Training: Training staff so that they are aware of all of the risks and how to best mitigate them, including how to properly use and wear PPE and operate equipment.
- Installing and maintaining safety measures: This can include installing barriers, warning signs and ventilation.
If your employer fails in their legal obligation to protect you from such risks, and you are later diagnosed with an occupational cancer they could be found liable. This is so long as it can be proven that your cancer was caused as a direct effect of the carcinogens in the working environment.
How much compensation am I entitled to?
If you are making a claim for an occupational cancer your compensation settlement will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case. Your solicitor will calculate the value of your claim based on general and special damages.
General damages cover your pain, suffering and loss of amenity following an illness or injury. The Judicial College sets the ‘Guidelines for the assessment of general damages in personal injury cases’, which outlines the amount of compensation to be paid in personal injury claims. Your solicitor will follow this when calculating the value of your physical and psychological injuries.
Special damages include financial losses and expenses that you have incurred as a result of developing your illness. Special damages that you can claim for include:
- Current and future loss of earning.
- Travel costs to and from medical appointments.
- Care costs.
- Mobility aids.
- Costs of adapting your home or vehicle.
How long will the claims process take?
The length of time it will take for your claim to settle depends on a number of different factors, including:
- If, and how quickly, the third party accepts liability.
- The complexity of the case.
- The time it takes to gather medical records and reports.
- How easy it is to identify the employer responsible for causing the illness.
Is there a time limit for making an occupational cancer claim?
You have up to three years from the date in which you were diagnosed, or became aware that your occupational cancer was caused due to your exposure to harmful substances in the workplace.
Can I make a claim even if the company I worked for has ceased trading?
You are able to make a claim even if the company that you worked for, at the time of developing an occupational cancer, has ceased trading. This is because your existing employer would have had insurance in place to cover claims of this nature. It is therefore still the insurer’s responsibility to pay-out on compensation claims.