Work Related Illness. All you need to know about making a work related illness claim from leading personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell.

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1 Work Related Illness Personal Injury All you need to know about making a work related illness claim from leading personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell.

2 Your encouragement and advice to pursue the claim was good advice and we are both grateful for your support. Thank you again for your diligence and support throughout the process. Don Contents Introduction Why use Irwin Mitchell? How can I prevent illness at work? When can I make a claim? How much does it cost? How much compensation will I get? What happens when I claim? What else can we help you with? Useful contacts This information relates to the law and procedures in England and Wales. Please contact us if you need advice about the law and procedure in other legal jurisdictions.

3 Introduction 5 We have the experience and knowledge to pursue your claim for compensation and know what sort of issues you and your loved ones might be facing. We have successfully represented more than 200,000 people with work related illness claims including many high profile cases. People in almost any job can get work related illness. Respiratory diseases including asbestosis and asthma, cancers, skin diseases and industrial deafness are all examples of work related illness and are all life-altering conditions. If you have suffered or are suffering from an illness that has been caused by your working conditions you could have a claim for compensation against your current or former employers. That is because they have a duty to protect you from harm and if they do not do so, they can be held to account for your pain and suffering. Compensation can help you pay for medical treatment and make adjustments to your home if necessary. That s why you should always try and claim compensation for a work related illness. Even if the claim is against your current employer, they should have insurance in place to cover their costs so you should never feel guilty. All you need to do is tell us about what you are suffering from and when or how you think your disease might have been caused. We will investigate fully to collect evidence of a link between your illness and your job or previous job. We will also look for proof that your employer did not protect you from becoming ill. Our specialist team of work related illness claim solicitors take great care in making sure that you understand what will happen during your case. We always give advice in plain English and do everything we can to support you every step of the way. Above all, we put you first.

4 Why use Irwin Mitchell? 7 Irwin Mitchell is one of the largest and most experienced personal injury law firms in the country. Our reputation for helping work related illness sufferers is second to none and every year we recover millions of pounds of compensation for people who have been injured in this way. Our service Employing many of the country s finest personal injury lawyers, our highly specialised team combines powerful legal arguments with care and consideration to ensure the best possible outcome for you. Our friendly professional service includes: Ensuring specialist employment solicitors give you advice about your employment rights if you are worried Arranging for you to receive the best support for your recovery and rehabilitation Asking the court to pay some of your compensation early if needed so that you can receive private medical care and treatment, and to help you to pay your bills if you cannot work due to your illness Expert advice on state benefits, employment rights and other financial issues Help if you need it from solicitors in our other departments such as financial planning, personal injury trusts, wills advice and power of attorney. Campaign for improvements We also have a long history of campaigning for improvements in health and safety. Our aim is to improve the quality of life and levels of compensation for those who have suffered illness at work.

5 How can I prevent illness at work? 9 Here are five basic precautions you can take to prevent yourself getting a work related illness. 1. Ask either your employer or health and safety representative for a copy of the company s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health [COSHH] assessment. They are legally required to carry out a full survey of all hazards at work and you are within your rights as an employee to ask to see this. It should give you an idea of what steps your employer is taking to protect your health. 2. Ask for the data sheets or any other information your employer may have about any hazardous chemicals you are using. 4. If your concerns are serious, report them to the Health and Safety Executive and/or the Environmental Health Department. 5. Speak to your employer directly. If you are not comfortable doing this then prepare a list of questions and ask your health and safety representative to speak to your employer instead. You should ask things like: What protective equipment or clothing will my employer provide me to keep me safe? Have they considered using alternative, less hazardous substances? Can the way in which I work be changed in order to reduce any exposure to hazardous substances? How are they going to medically supervise employees involved with the substance or process in question? Will they be monitoring my working atmosphere for dust and/or fumes and will the results of any monitoring be made available for employees? 3. Report any worries or concerns you may have to your employer. It is better if you can do this in writing and that your letter is signed and dated. You should also send a copy to your health and safety representative and keep a copy for yourself too.

6 When can I make a claim? 11 You must normally bring a claim within three years of when you first realised or thought that your illness might have been caused by your working conditions, or three years after you developed symptoms. Do I have a case? If you are unsure whether you have a claim you or a family member just needs to pick up the phone and talk it over with us. We ll assess your case free of charge, tell you what we think and then you can decide if you want to go ahead. We are also able to take cases over from other lawyers. We have helped many people who have been dissatisfied with the advice or service they have received from their lawyers, and have gone on to achieve the best possible outcome in all aspects of their claim including access to medical care, rehabilitation and compensation. Variations However, many types of industrial disease won t cause symptoms to develop for years. If you worked for an employer 20 years ago and were exposed to asbestos, it might only be now that you are starting to experience symptoms or receive a diagnosis. If so, do not worry about the three-year time limit: it is still possible to make a claim for compensation. What are my chances of winning? We have a long track record of winning compensation cases where the client initially thought they did not have a claim. When you contact us we will give you realistic advice on the chances of winning based on the information you provide. It is not possible to give a definitive answer on any case. However, the more information we have the more accurate an assessment we can make. We will always give you an honest, straightforward opinion.

7 How much will it cost? 13 Don t worry about legal costs. Contacting us for initial advice on your claim will cost you nothing even our phone number is free to call. If we advise you to pursue a claim with us, we will review all the options for funding it. New Legislation The Government introduced some changes to how legal costs and funding for personal injury claims will work from 1 April Due to these changes you will no longer be able to recover all of your legal costs from your opponent. Whilst all of your legal costs can no longer be recovered from your opponent, it is likely that you will still recover the substantial majority of your basic legal costs. Options for Funding your Claim There are a number of ways in which you could fund your case. These include: Conditional Fee Agreement, commonly known as a No Win No Fee agreement Legal Expenses Insurance as part of your household or car insurance you may have legal expenses cover to help with any legal costs Trade Union if you are a member of a trade union they may provide assistance for some legal issues. If you do not have access to legal expenses insurance or trade union assistance, your best option is to consider a No Win No Fee agreement. Even if you do have access to other funding options, a No Win No Fee agreement may still be the best option for you. When we discuss your claim in more detail we will tell you if the No Win No Fee option is available or if we need to look at the other funding options above.

8 15 How a No Win No Fee agreement can work for you If after reviewing all of the funding options with you and we recommend that our No Win No Fee agreement in combination with an insurance policy designed to protect you is your best option, you can be reassured that there is no financial risk to you if you are unsuccessful*. If you win: Your opponent will pay the majority of our basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees, medical reports) If you win, any costs not payable by your opponent will include: - The premium for your insurance policy to protect you fully against any risk of legal costs - Some of your basic legal costs which cannot be recovered from your opponent - A success fee which compensates us for the risk that if it was unsuccessful then we would not recover any legal fees at all If you win, you won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has successfully come to an end and then any of the costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you If any disbursements cannot be recovered from your opponent these will be covered by your insurance policy There are no hidden costs. You will receive regular updates about the costs being charged to your case and any costs not recovered from your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you To help you with your legal costs, the Government has provided a 10% increase in the amount awarded to you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. If you lose: We can promise you, there is no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful* You won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket whilst your claim is being pursued We would make no charge whatsoever to you You will be fully covered by your insurance policy for any disbursements You will be fully protected by your insurance policy from any of your opponents legal costs There are no hidden costs. You will receive regular updates about the costs at key stages throughout your case so you are fully aware of the charges involved. If unsuccessful there is no financial risk to you.* We will do everything we can to protect and support you to proceed with your claim and we will keep you updated at all times. Remember, there is absolutely no financial risk to you or your family if you are unsuccessful.* * Subject to entering into a No Win No Fee agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.

9 How much compensation will I get? 17 The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the seriousness of your injury, how it has affected your life, how much money you have lost or will lose as a consequence and whether you will need extra support in the future. Individually assessed We will advise you at the outset on how your opponent`s insurers and the courts approach the assessment of compensation and how that will apply to your case. However, it is important to bear in mind that everyone is different and the consequences of the same injury in terms of working life and home-life will vary from person to person. Keeping you informed As we learn more about you and your circumstances, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate idea of the financial value of your claim. You can be assured that we will do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We will also advise on the best payment terms to suit your immediate and ongoing needs. As well as securing financial compensation, we will help you and your family with the practical issues and day to day impact of your injury as well as helping you to get access to the best medical care and rehabilitation. Your advice, support, knowledge and listening ear have always been very much appreciated by us both. Needless to say the financial support you have achieved for us gives us a more positive outlook for the future. Mike and Janet

10 What happens when I claim? 19 Once you have instructed us to claim on your behalf, we will investigate your case thoroughly by gathering witness statements and other relevant details about your illness and on-going requirements. Insurance Once we have all the details of your case, a claim will be made against the relevant person or company, who usually have insurance. We will then wait for a response from the insurance company you are claiming against. This can go one of two ways - either they decide to meet your claim or they do not. Don t worry if an insurance company turns down your claim at first as this often happens - it does not mean that your claim will fail. Out of court The vast majority of cases are settled before they go to court. However, if your case is one of the few that is to be decided by a judge don t worry: it s perfectly normal and we ll be there to help you every step of the way.

11 What else can we help you with? 21 We don t just specialise in work related illness. Irwin Mitchell has dedicated teams working in all areas of personal legal services, enabling us to deliver quick and efficient legal advice on anything from settling family disputes and wills or buying a house. Our ability to offer clients a wide range of such specialism under one roof is one of the key benefits of our services. Our friendly professional staff give straightforward honest advice in all areas of personal legal services including: Buying or selling a house Divorce, children and family matters Employment difficulties Financial planning including tax and trusts Personal injury or illness Planning or environmental decisions Questioning social, education and health care provision Support on making decisions about personal welfare and healthcare matters and how the Court of Protection can assist Wills, trust and probate services. Whatever your legal issue our specialist staff will be pleased to help you sort it out all you need to do is pick up the phone and give us a call.

12 Useful Contacts 23 Asthma UK Summit House 70 Wilson Street London EC2A 2DB Adviceline: Website: British Lung Foundation Goswell Road London EC1V 7ER Telephone: Online enquiry form Website: British Safety Council 70 Chancellors Road London W6 9RS Telephone: Website: BTA (The British Tinnitus Association) Ground Floor Unit 5 Acorn Business Park Woodseats Close Sheffield S8 0TB Telephone: from within the UK only Fax: from within the UK Fax: +44 (0) outside the UK Chemical Hazards Communication Society PO Box 222 Lynmington SO42 7GY Telephone: Website: Greater Manchester Hazards Windrush Millennium Centre 70 Alexandra Road Manchester M16 7WD Telephone: Web:

13 25 Health and Safety Executive HSE Infoline Caerphilly Business Park Caerphilly CF83 3GG Telephone: Website: HSE have regional offices throughout the UK. Full details are listed on their website. London Hazards Centre Hampstead Town Hall Centre 213 Havestock Hill London NW3 4QP Telephone: Website: Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service 3rd Floor Queens Building 55 Queen Street Sheffield S1 2DX Telephone: Website:

14 Notes 27

15 Looking for help with a claim? Freephone Follow us on To see a list of our offices please visit our website. Irwin Mitchell LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales, with number OC343897, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. All Scottish cases will be handled by a separate Scottish legal practice, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP, which is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. Published March 2013

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