A Guide To Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

Were you injured by a hazardous material at work and are looking to start a personal injury compensation claim? If so, this guide on hazardous materials accident claims will detail all the steps involved. Starting with an explanation of what a hazardous substance is, we will then look at how a valid claim for injury can be made.

There is a duty of care that applies to all employees, including those who work with hazardous substances. If breached, the employee can have a claim against the employer for the injuries caused. So we will look at some examples of how an injury involving hazardous materials might happen.

After this, our guide explains how compensation will be calculated if your accident at work claim is successful. Evidence is an essential part of building a claim and we list various forms of proof that might help your case. The final part of our guide explores how a personal injury solicitor could handle the claim using a type of No Win No Fee agreement with you.

You can speak to our dedicated advisors at any point as you read. They are happy to answer any questions you might have and can also offer a free assessment of the strength and eligibility of your claim. Simply:

A person wearing a bio hazard suit working with hazardous materials.

Jump To A Section

  1. What Is A Hazardous Substance?
  2. What Are Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?
  3. How Could You Suffer An Injury When Working With Hazardous Materials?
  4. How Much Compensation Is Awarded For Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?
  5. What Evidence Could Help In Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?
  6. What Is A No Win No Fee Hazardous Substances Claim?
  7. Read More About How To Make A Compensation Claim

What Is A Hazardous Substance?

Hazardous substances is a term used to describe chemicals, irritants and other products that are known to have the potential to cause harm. The level of risk they pose depends on the material in question and how long a person is exposed to it.

For example, certain cleaning products will cause burns to the skin, while other products can cause lung damage through inhalation of their fumes. It could include coming into contact with contaminated soil or contact with a hazardous substance directly. Some hazardous substances include:

  • Arsenic
  • Carbon Monoxide.
  • Chlorine
  • Chromium
  • Dioxin.
  • Lead
  • Mercury.
  • PCB (Poly-Chlorinated Biphenyl)
  • Pesticides
  • Radiation.

Toxic material.

What Are Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?

Employers owe a duty of care to staff. Firstly, there is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA) requirement to take reasonable and practicable steps to prevent employees from suffering harm as they work. This includes when handling substances hazardous to your health.

Also, the Control of Substances Hazardous To Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) is legislation designed to manage the way in which dangerous materials are used, stored and transported. In addition to this, under The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992, employers need to supply essential personal protective equipment (PPE), giving clear guidance to staff about the necessary precautions to take when working with hazardous substances. A failure to uphold this duty could give rise to hazardous substance claims.

Therefore, you could have grounds to seek compensation for injuries caused to you because an employer failed to comply with these laws. If you think this might apply to you, please call us to discuss.

How Could You Suffer An Injury When Working With Hazardous Materials?

Below we look at some example ways that employer negligence might give rise to an accident with hazardous chemicals. These examples could form the basis of a compensation claim:

  • An employer provides inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to a staff member. As a result, they burn their hands trying to work with chlorine-based products.
  • Employees are not correctly trained in the safety procedures for handling arsenic in a laboratory setting. This causes a member of staff to suffer poisoning in breach of health regulations.
  • The warehouse of a fertilizer plant is not well maintained and hazardous materials leak. An employee inhales toxic fumes and suffers lung damage because of this.
  • Manual handling training is not provided and an employee drops a hazardous chemical causing fumes to leak. The gases cause an eye injury.

There are many other ways people get injured leading to hazardous materials accident claims. Injuries are not only physical harm as psychological injury can form part of a claim. It’s possible to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the worry of exposure to something like radioactive materials. If you feel this should be part of your claim, speak to our advisors about your options.

A man in a bio hazard suit holding a red bottle of hazardous material.

How Much Compensation Is Awarded For Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?

There are two heads of loss that are taken into account when calculating injury compensation. General damages apply a figure for the physical pain and psychological injuries caused by hazardous substance injuries. Also, they take into account long-term health impacts and how long the expected recovery will be.

Medical proof is a useful way of supporting a claim and an independent medical examination may be required as part of the claims process. A personal injury solicitor can help arrange one with you at a convenient time and place.

Alongside the medical findings, those responsible for calculating a value for general damages might refer to publications such as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The award bracket amounts listed here cover a variety of injuries. Below, we’ve put together an excerpt of typical injuries that might be caused by contact with hazardous substances:

Compensation Guidelines

Multiple Forms of Injury and Special Damage AwardSevere Up to £1 million plus.This award reflects multiple types of severe injury and special damages for medical treatments, rehabilitation costs and loss of earnings.
Burns SeriousLikely to exceed £127,930Cases where burns cover more than 40% of the body with continuing physical and psychological suffering.
Lungs(a) Serious£122,850 to £165,860Typically a younger person with a serious disability and probability of worsening and premature death.
Lungs(d) Breathing Difficulties£38,210 to £66,920Breathing difficulties that require frequent use of an inhaler and impact working and social life.
Lungs(h) Temporary Problems£2,690 to £6,500Cases of aggravated bronchitis or other chest issues that resolve within a matter of months.
Kidney (b) Significant Up to £78,080Instances where a significant danger of future urinary track infections occur or other loss of normal kidney function.
Asthma(a) Severe £52,550 to £80,240Permanent injury that causes prolonged coughing, sleep disturbance and grossly impairs quality of life.
Hands (a) Dermatitis£16,770 to £23,430Cases where both hands are affected by dermatitis and both employment and domestic capability is impacted.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (c) Moderate £9,980 to £28,250The person will have recovered from the trauma on the whole with any continuing effects not being considered grossly disabling.
Eye(h) Minor£4,820 to £10,660Instances where the eye is splashed with a liquid or fume/smoke that causes initial pain and interference with vision that is temporary.

Please be aware that these amounts are guidelines only. Claims will always differ from case to case. Furthermore, our table includes a topline figure which has not been taken from the JCG.

Can You Claim For Loss Of Earnings Caused By Dangerous Chemicals?

You might also qualify to be awarded the second head of loss called special damages as part of your hazardous substance compensation claim. These reimburse the claimant not just for lost earnings, but for other financial harm they experienced as a result of their injuries.

Evidence is required to include a claim for special damages. It has to show monetary loss because of the injury suffered. Therefore, it could include the following:

  • Wage slips that reveal a drop or loss in earnings caused by time off work.
  • Impact on your pension, attendance bonus or future career prospects.
  • Proof of prescription charges.
  • Medical bills.
  • The receipts for domestic care costs paid to people who looked after you.
  • Tickets and receipts for essential travel.

Our team of advisors are happy to discuss general and special damages in greater detail. Simply reach out through the contact options above to receive expert, free guidance on hazardous materials accident claims.

What Evidence Could Help In Hazardous Materials Accident Claims?

Evidence is an essential part of proving that the employer caused the accident and injury. With this in mind, you can gather the following to support your case:

  • Get a copy of CCTV footage that showed the accident.
  • Request the contact information of eyewitnesses so that a statement can be gathered from them later.
  • Take photos of your visible injuries and the hazards that caused them.
  • Retain proof of poorly stored or mislabelled hazardous materials.
  • Keep a personal record of important dates and treatments.
  • Request copies of medical findings that support your claim of injury and/or illness caused by the substance.

For help knowing what steps to take when injured at work, speak to our team of advisors. They can offer personalised guidance on collecting evidence in hazardous materials accident claims.

What Is A No Win No Fee Hazardous Substances Claim?

You’re not legally obliged to use a lawyer to start a personal injury claim for an accident at work  However, it makes sense to access their expertise and insights if you can. Although you might have worries about the cost of appointing a solicitor, there is an option that can help.

Our solicitors can conduct hazardous materials claims through a form of No Win No Fee agreement. They can offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which includes the following advantages:

  • No initial fees need to be paid for the solicitors to begin work on your case.
  • No fees need to be paid for the solicitor’s onging services.
  • If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t need to pay for their services.
  • The compensation is subject to a limited percentage deduction if the claim is successful, payable to your solicitor. This restricted success fee means that the bulk of the award goes to you.

A CFA could enable you to start your hazardous substance claim today. Why not take a moment to connect with advisors and see if they could place you with an expert personal injury solicitor from our panel?

A solicitor, who is an expert in hazardous materials accident claims, meeting a client.

Read More About How To Make A Compensation Claim

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In conclusion, thank you for your interest in our guide about hazardous materials accident claims. For further assistance, please reach out to our dedicated advisors on the contact points above.