Silicosis Lung Condition & Compensation Claims Explained

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Silicosis lung condition & compensation claims

Silicosis is a relatively rare lung condition which is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica dust over a prolonged period of time. If you believe you are suffering from silicosis as a consequence of your previous working environment, then you may well have a claim for compensation.

Just because the condition may develop months or even years down the line does not necessarily exclude you from taking action against an employer.

Medical research shows that the vast majority of those suffering from silicosis will only recognise the development of the condition once they stop working with silica dust.

Unfortunately, once the condition begins to take hold, it can get worse even after you have stopped working with the material. It is therefore important that you seek medical attention as soon as you recognise the symptoms of silicosis because, while there is no cure, there are ways in which you can manage the condition.

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What Is Silicosis?

In simple terms, this is a long-term lung disease caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica dust over a prolonged period of time. While the condition tends to develop as a consequence of constant exposure over a 10 to 20 year period, there have been instances of silicosis with exposure of between five and ten years.

Unfortunately, this medical condition can lead to an array of other potentially life-threatening illnesses.

What Are the Main Symptoms of Silicosis?

Silicosis is classified as an industrial disease with the main symptoms being:-

  • Persistent shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Constant coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing

While in the vast majority of cases, the condition can be managed to a certain extent, it is also fatal for some people.

What Are the Consequences of Silicosis?

While silicosis is dangerous in isolation, it can also prompt an array of other serious medical conditions such as:-

  • Heart failure
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung cancer
  • COPD
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • TB
  • Various chest infections

As a consequence, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms and may have been exposed to silica dust in your working life.

Should My Employer Provide Safety Equipment?

Yes. It is vital that your employer provides safety equipment when using types of stone, rock, sand and clay, which contain the material. Some of the more common industries where silicosis is prevalent include:-

  • Stonemasonry
  • Stone cutting
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Pottery
  • Ceramics
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Sandblasting
  • Mining
  • Quarrying

All employers have a legal obligation to ensure the physical and mental well-being of their employees. Failure to provide adequate safety equipment is one of the central elements of UK government legislation.

A failure to provide such equipment could lead to a ruling of negligence and open the door to compensation claims.

Is There a Time Limit for Pursuing Compensation for Silicosis?

As with all industrial disease/personal injury claims, there is a three-year time limit during which you will need to lodge your claim for compensation. Interestingly, while the vast majority of injuries are diagnosed on the day of the accident, this is not always the case.

Medical condition such as silicosis develop over a prolonged period of time (up to 20 years in some cases), and the symptoms may take many years to emerge.

There is medical evidence to suggest that it is only when the individual is removed from the hazardous environment that the symptoms emerge and the condition takes hold. As a consequence, it is highly unlikely that you will be diagnosed with silicosis in the early stages of its development.

Therefore, the laws surrounding the claiming of compensation for industrial diseases stipulate that the three-year window of opportunity will only begin once you have been diagnosed.

How Can I Pursue a Compensation Claim Against My Employer?

As a victim of silicosis, you will need to provide evidence that your employer has been negligent, which led to the development of the condition.

There are various types of evidence that can support your claim including:-

  • Failure to provide safety equipment
  • Lack of training
  • Failure to undertake risk assessments
  • Unsafe working environment
  • Evidence of similar incidents in the past
  • Refusal to act on employee concerns
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Photographic evidence

As it is unlikely that you would come into contact with silica dust in your non-working life, to the extent required to develop silicosis, it should be fairly simple to link the development of the condition with your previous working environment.

Should I Appoint a Claims Management Company?

Even though silicosis would appear to be a relatively simple condition to diagnose and link with a specific working environment, you will still need to navigate the legal system. As a consequence, many people prefer to use claims management companies when seeking compensation for industrial diseases. They are fully aware of the legal system, the evidence required and the timetable of events.

How Strong Is My Claim?

Once you are put together as much evidence as possible, you should then approach a claims management company and seek their advice. They will look at your evidence, and the details of your case then advise you of your potential chances of success.

If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer to take on your claim on a “no win no fee” basis. This effectively removes your liability to costs incurred by the claims management company in pursuing your claim. These can be reclaimed from the defendant if your claim is successful.

Will I Need to Attend Court?

The vast majority of industrial disease compensation claims will never see the light of a courtroom with out-of-court settlements commonplace. This ensures that the claimant receives compensation as soon as possible, and the defendant avoids potentially large legal expenses/costs associated with defending their case.

Even if your claim does go before the courts, it is important to remember that you are not the one on trial and you are simply reiterating the evidence you have provided.

Summary

Industrial disease claims are more commonplace today than ever before with the likes of silicosis fairly easy to diagnose and link with a previous working environment. As a consequence, the vast majority of these cases will be settled out of court and relatively quickly.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making an Industrial illness Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Industrial illness Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries & illnesses they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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