Silicosis is an incurable industrial disease caused by exposure to silica that damages the lungs. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with silicosis, you may have grounds to seek compensation from your employer. That may be the case if your employer didn’t take steps to prevent you from becoming ill. In this guide about silicosis compensation claims, we’ll examine how much compensation could be paid for silicosis and when you could be eligible to claim.
If you have any questions about silicosis compensation claims, please get in touch. A specialist will review your case, explain your options and provide free legal advice. If one of our personal injury solicitors believes that you have a strong enough case, you won’t be asked to pay any upfront legal fees as your case will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.
Please continue reading to learn more about silicosis claims or call us on 0800 6524 881 for a free consultation about your case.
Table of contents
- What Is Silicosis?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Silicosis Compensation Claim?
- What Occupations Are At Higher Risk Of Developing Silicosis?
- Examples Of Employer Negligence That Could Lead To A Silicosis Claim
- How Much Compensation For Silicosis Could I Claim?
- Making A Silicosis Claim On Behalf Of Somebody Else
- What Evidence Will I Need For A Silicosis Compensation Claim?
- What’s The Time Limit For Making A Silicosis Claim?
- Starting The Silicosis Compensation Claims Process
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), silicosis can reduce lung function after Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) gets into the lungs. RCS is found in some clays, rocks and sands. When working with these materials, silica dust may form. Exposure to silica dust over prolonged periods can lead to silicosis.
Once the dust gets inside the lungs, they can become inflamed and, over time, this can lead to fibrosis in the lungs (scarring or hardening). Some of the most common materials that contain silica include sandstone, mortar, concrete, gritstone, shale, slate and brick.
Chronic or accelerated silicosis can occur after exposure to silica dust over many years or decades. Acute silicosis is rarer because it involves exposure to large amounts of silica over a relatively short period.
Employers have a duty of care to try and protect your well-being while you’re at work. In silicosis compensation claims, this can be established by laws such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Act 1992.
Therefore, you could claim compensation for silicosis if:
- You’ve received a diagnosis of silicosis from a GP; and
- Your employer’s negligence led to your condition.
As silicosis can take years or even decades to develop, it can be quite difficult to prove the cause of your illness. That’s why we’d always suggest working with a specialist personal injury solicitor. If you work with one of ours, they’ll examine your work history in detail and gather the evidence to prove what went wrong in an attempt to secure the maximum compensation for silicosis possible.
People who work in the following roles and industries are more at risk of developing silicosis:
- Demolition and construction.
- Stonemasons and stone cutters.
- Ceramics, pottery and glass manufacturing.
- Quarrying and mining.
- Worktop manufacturing and cutting.
Whatever type of job you’ve done in the past, please get in touch if you’ve recently been diagnosed with silicosis.
Some of the most common symptoms linked to silicosis include:
- A persistent cough.
- Breathlessness and wheezing.
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Weight loss and lack of appetite.
- Night sweats.
- Swollen legs.
- Discolouration of the lips.
As silicosis gets worse, many people will struggle with simple activities like climbing stairs or walking. It is not unusual for silicosis sufferers to end up housebound.
Unfortunately, silicosis may also increase the risk of other life-threatening or life-changing conditions including tuberculosis (TB), kidney disease, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, lung cancer, arthritis and Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
In the very worst cases, lung damage can lead to respiratory failure and lead to fatalities.
So, if you wish to sue an employer for silicosis compensation, you’ll need to show that their negligence caused your illness. Examples of negligence that could result in a silicosis claim include:
- If you weren’t trained on how to handle materials safely.
- Where suitable face masks were not provided to reduce the inhalation of silica dust.
- If you worked in poorly ventilated conditions.
- Where regular rest breaks away from your working environment were not permitted.
- If regular risk assessments were not carried out by your employer.
Later on, we’ll explain what evidence could be used to prove that your employer was negligent and how that caused you to develop silicosis.
When claiming compensation for industrial injuries and illnesses, you should think about any suffering that has already occurred as well as any that will occur in the future. Compensation for a silicosis claim could therefore cover:
- Physical pain and discomfort.
- Depression and other forms of mental health issues linked to your illness.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal activities.
- Loss of earnings.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel costs.
- Care costs.
- Changes to your home or vehicle to help you deal with your condition i.e. stair lifts or handrails.
Each silicosis claim is different because any settlement is based on how the claimant has suffered. Therefore, your solicitor will be able to offer a personalised compensation estimate once they’ve reviewed your claim in detail.
As part of a silicosis claim, an independent medical report is required. This is something your solicitor will arrange. After a meeting to discuss how you’ve been affected by silicosis, a medical expert will report back on your prognosis. This report will be helpful when trying to determine how much compensation you might be entitled to.
Please get in touch with our claims advisors to discuss how much compensation for silicosis you might be eligible to claim.
If a loved one is too ill to claim compensation for silicosis, you may be able to manage a silicosis claim for them by becoming their litigation friend. This is something our solicitors can help with. Once you’ve received approval, the claim will proceed as normal.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to silicosis, you may decide to seek justice on their behalf. This could include compensation for the suffering they endured before their death. Also, your solicitor may be able to secure funds if you were financially dependent on your loved one’s income or pension.
To find out more, please speak to a member of our team. We know that dealing with the claim will be difficult but you won’t be put under any pressure and we’ll work at a speed that suits you where possible.
If you want to prove that your employer caused your suffering, you’ll need to provide evidence to convince their insurer. You will also need to prove the extent of your suffering. The types of evidence that could be used to do this include:
- Medical records. It’s important to prove that you have been diagnosed with silicosis and how severe it is. Therefore, your medical records will be requested if you decide to claim.
- Witness statements. Your colleagues may be asked to provide a statement about your working conditions. Also, friends and family may be asked to explain how your illness has affected you.
- Work history. Your solicitor will work with you to establish which employment exposed you to silica dust. Your national insurance history may also prove useful here.
- Financial records. If you’ve incurred costs or lost money since you became ill, bank statements, pension letters and receipts could all be used as evidence.
Your solicitor will use as much evidence as is necessary to present a strong and concise case on your behalf. If you’ve secured any evidence already, please let us know when you call to discuss your silicosis claim.
You’ll typically have 3-years to start a silicosis claim from the date your illness was diagnosed by your doctor. The sooner you can start, the better in our experience because your solicitor will need time to investigate and secure evidence to support your claim.
If your prognosis is understood and your employer accepts liability, compensation could be awarded in around 9 months or so. If the claim needs more time to be processed, your employer’s insurers may agree to make interim payments if your illness is affecting you financially.
Our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis for any silicosis claim they work on. That means that:
- There are no upfront legal costs to pay.
- You won’t pay legal fees if the claim fails.
- You’ll only pay for your solicitor’s work if compensation is awarded.
If you’d like to get the silicosis compensation claims process started we’re here to answer any questions you might have.
Our live chat team is standing by to answer any further questions about a silicosis compensation claim so please feel free to get in touch on 0800 6524 881 today.