Industrial disease is such a wide area and covers so many possibilities we can only scratch the surface in these guidance notes. For advice on making a compensation claim for industrial disease or industrial illness, speak our specialist in industrial disease claims, Neille Ryan on 0845 603 1057.
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Evidence is vital – not only documentation but also witness evidence, in particular when it comes to proving what really went on in a workplace. Often employers claim to have operated systems which offered reasonable protection to employees, but we frequently find that while in theory / on paper those systems were in use, in practice they often failed / were impractical / were unavailable.
If, when you have provided us with your evidence and we have investigated the claim further, we think that there is a claim then another stumbling block is establishing whether the employer is still in existence and, if they are, can their insurers for the period in question be traced? There is little point in pursuing a claim for damages unless there is someone who, at the end of the matter, has the means to pay you.
Once the employer / insurers have been traced then we have to notify them of the claim and they basically have 6 months in which to investigate it and admit / deny liability. This is known as the ‘protocol period’.
Where a decision has been made to proceed with the claim then we will need at least one medical report confirming the illness / disease from which you are suffering and giving an opinion on the cause. It sometimes happens that a Claimant attributes their illness / disease to a former occupation but careful analysis by medical experts establishes a completely different cause for which there is no claim. For example, respiratory illnesses are often attributed to dust exposure at work but can also be caused by such things as cigarette smoking.
It may be necessary to obtain expert evidence on the work system which was in operation from someone such as a Consulting Engineer, to establish what your employer should have been doing, compared with what they were actually doing to protect you and whether, if they did fail you in any way, that failure is sufficient to warrant a claim.
We have experience and expertise in acting for a whole host of occupational illnesses / diseases including vibration white finger, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asbestos related diseases, occupational asthma and work related stress.