Occupational Illness Claims - Video
A copy of our occupational illness/industrial disease compensation
video should be viewable below. A transcript of the file is also provided for your
convenience. We hope you find the content useful and informative.
Freephone: 0808 129 3320 or email us
using our online enquiry form.
Transcript - Occupational Illnesses - Compensation Claims
My name is Emma Costin
and I am Head of the
Occupational Disease Department at Simpson Millar. Most people know what
is meant by a personal injury but I am not so sure regarding occupational disease.
We deal with a wide range of diseases, the most common of which are probably the
illnesses such as asbestosis, diffused pleural thickening, mesothelioma,
asbestos lung cancer but also work related
deafness, dermatitis which can be caused for example by exposure to latex
or cleaning chemicals or even hairdressing chemicals at work, also occupational
cancers including those caused by radiation and
exposure to poisonous chemicals. We also deal with
stress at work claims and
repetitive strain injury claims as well as vibration white finger
and other neurological diseases caused by
exposure to work equipment over a prolonged period of time.
We have a specialist department at Simpson Millar that deals with occupational diseases
distinct from any other departments because there are a number of issues related
to occupational disease claims that are specialist. In particular, the exposure
to the dangerous chemical or substance or work process typically took place either
over a long prolonged period of time or many years ago so we can be dealing with
companies or employers who have long since been dissolved or taken over, that means
that we have to be specialists in tracing what has become of those companies and
also their insurers, and having a dedicated team means that we have a large database
that we can use to search for insurers’ and employers’ details against which has
proved invaluable in succeeding in these cases for our clients.
Also there are legal issues that are distinct to occupational disease claims that
differ from other personal injury actions, one of which is limitation. Normally
somebody has 3 years from the date when they had an accident within which to bring
a claim. For occupational diseases there is no single accident or event but often
you are dealing with something that happened over a prolonged period of time. Therefore
the law says that someone has 3 years from the date when they first knew that they
may have an illness caused by work within which to bring a claim and insurers are
alive to this point and often challenge Claimants who bring actions, for example,
for an asbestos related illness or work related deafness by saying that they have
brought their action our of time.
These are specialist areas and we have a specialist team who are used to combating
these arguments and we have had a great deal of success in challenging insurers’
arguments on these fronts in Court.
Another reason why we have set up a specialist department with deal with occupational
diseases is because we recognise that it is very important for people to be seen
in their own home as soon as possible. Because of the nature of occupational diseases,
may be the negligent act has taken place repeatedly over a long period of time when
dealing with people who are elderly or retired, and we realise that we cannot expect
these people to travel to our offices or to deal with us on the end of a telephone
line and that it is must more helpful and easy for these type of clients to be seen
in their own home, so we have members of our occupational disease department based
in all of our offices nationwide who are very used to travelling around the country
to see our clients to take statements from them, talk them through the claims process
and if necessary to take them through Court forms and other form filling that might
be necessary during the process of the claim. Many of our clients feel much more
reassured about the claims process after they have met one of the members of our
team and they have been through the claims process with them in their home and explained
all the pitfalls and processes.
People are often worried about bringing a claim where there former employer has
gone bust, dissolved or ceased to exist in another form, perhaps it has been taken
over by a larger company, but this doesn’t always matter because as long as we can
trace the insurance company who insured that firm at the time of the negligent act,
for example at the time when someone was exposed to noise or was exposed to asbestos
then we will be able to bring an action for the injured person. If a company is
dissolved or gone bust normally we will have to restore the company and that’s a
technical process again that we are used to doing. Sometimes if the company wasn’t
incorporated in England and Wales we will need to engage agents, for example, if
the company was incorporated in Scotland we work with a Scottish agent who will
restore companies for us there. This means that if and when we come to issue Court
proceedings there is a legal entity the restored company who we can sue but it will
not be the restored company who will be paying the compensation, it will be the
employer’s liability insurer who we previously would have traced because we have
a database of employer’s liability insurers that it very extensive and we also have
links with the Association of Personal Injury lawyers and other Claimant bodies
and have access to an even greater database of companies and their insurers stretching
back over many many years, so please be reassured if the company that you work for
doesn’t exist, that does not mean that you will not succeed in your action and you
should still seek legal advice.
Many people are understandably concerned about consulting a Solicitor because they
think that it is going to cost them a lot of money. This isn’t the case with personal
injury or occupational disease claims. These days the very vast majority of cases
are dealt with on a no win no fee agreement which I am sure most people have heard
of. What that means is that the Solicitor doesn’t get paid unless the case is won
and it is as simple as that. Those that aren’t run on no win no fee agreements are usually
funded by Trades Unions. Even if you are no longer employed by the company that
you used to work for it is always worth checking with your Trades Union whether
they will fund a litigation for an occupational disease claim because many of them
will do so because they are political issues.
People often ask me what is special about Simpson Millar as opposed to another law
firm who runs occupational disease claims. What I usually say to them is that we
genuinely do have a national network of solicitors all of whom are qualified lawyers
with a specialism in occupational disease claims, that means that they normally
run occupational disease claims and most of their case load will be for occupational
disease cases. This means that they truly are specialists in acting for Claimants
and we recognise how important it is to see people in their own homes as soon as
Another area where we are finding an increasing number of clients coming to us because
they have seen something relevant to their claim on the website usually are relating
to occupational cancers and occupational illnesses caused by exposure to unusual
chemicals, radiation or metals and we are developing a reputation for acting for
Claimants in these areas. Because of the issues that are being raised by Defendants
and their insurers regarding limitation and the time in which these cases are brought
to Court it is really important that if you believe that you are suffering from
an occupational illness or condition caused by your employment whether now in or
in a previous employment that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
We welcome enquiries from people who are concerned that they might be suffering
from an occupational disease or illness either through our freephone helpline or
online or just to email us at our web addresses which are published on the website.
We get back to people as quickly as we can, hopefully within 24 hours and we can
usually tell you after a brief chat whether you have got a claim that is worth investigating
We look forward to hearing from you.
Head of Occupational Illness
Call us now on freephone: 0808 129 3320 or send us an email using our
online enquiry form.
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