Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

In this guide, we will explain under what circumstances hazardous materials accident claims could be made. You could come into contact with materials hazardous to health in various places, for example, at work or in a public space. We will look at the relevant legislation governing health and safety in these areas and outline the criteria of eligibility that must be met in order to make a personal injury claim.

Man holding up a canister of hazardous materials in a hazmat suit

Additionally, we will explore the different ways you could be impacted from exposure to hazardous materials, such as developing physical and psychological injuries and sustaining  financial loss. We will discuss the compensation payouts that could be awarded to address the impact on your quality of life.

Later in this guide, we will provide information on the types of dangerous substances found in the workplace as well as the environment. We will also discuss the evidence required to support a hazardous materials claim. Furthermore, we will discuss the benefits of seeking legal representation from a No Win No Fee solicitor.

Please continue reading to learn more. Alternatively, speak to one of our advisors. They offer expert legal advice that is both free and confidential. What’s more, they are available 24/7 so that you can get in touch at a time that suits you. To reach them, you can:

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A Guide To Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

Hazardous materials may be used in a variety of workplaces and other environments for a range of purposes, such as cleaning chemicals. The use of these materials could result in injuries if the appropriate safety measures are not taken.

Employers owe their employees a duty of care to prevent them from sustaining harm in the workplace or whilst performing work-related duties. Similarly, those in control of a public space owe a duty of care to those who visit the space for it’s intended purpose.

Hazardous materials accident claims have certain eligibility criteria that must be met. This is as follows:

  • A third party owed you a duty of care at the time and place the accident occurred.
  • They breached this duty of care.
  • As a result of the breach, you suffered injuries.

You can contact our advisors to discuss when you could be eligible to claim following an accident at work or an accident in a public place.

What Is A Hazardous Materials Accident?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a regulator for workplace health and safety. They explain that a substance hazardous to health can take many forms. This could include:

  • Chemicals
  • Fumes, vapours and mists
  • Dusts
  • Nanotechnology
  • Gases and asphyxiating gases

A hazardous materials accident can occur when a person is exposed to a dangerous substance and, as a result, suffers harm. This could result in immediate physical injuries, such as chemical burns, or long-term industrial diseases, such as occupational asthma. Injuries and other health conditions could either be caused by or exacerbated by exposure to materials hazardous to health.

If you have been injured by a substance hazardous to health due to a third party breaching their duty of care, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim. Speak to one of our advisors to ask any questions you may have and receive free legal advice.

What Are The Responsibilities Of An Employer?

An employer’s duty of care to take reasonably practicable steps to protect their employees from harm is outlined by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Some of these duties include:

  • Providing proper training
  • Carrying out regular risk assessments
  • Ensuring maintenance and repairs are carried out within the correct time frame.

Furthermore, when using hazardous materials in the workplace, your employer must abide by The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). This legislation outlines the regulations that protect employees from the risk of being harmed due to hazardous materials in the workplace.

Under COSHH, employers have a duty to assess the risks posed by hazardous substances to employees and take steps to either prevent or adequately control the risks. This can involve assessing what hazardous substances will be involved in workplace activities, how these can cause harm and steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of harm.

If your employer fails to uphold their duty of care and causes you to sustain harm as a result, this is employer negligence. For this, you could be eligible to make a claim. Please speak to one of our advisors for more information about hazardous materials accident claims.

Exposure To A Hazardous Material In The Environment

You could also be exposed to hazardous materials in a public place. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the body or person responsible for the space must take steps to ensure your reasonable safety. For example, they should assess risks and, where appropriate, provide signage to clearly mark hazards.

Additionally, the steps that employers need to take under COSHH are also appropriate to those in control of public spaces. As such, they must also ensure they adhere to this legislation if handling hazardous substances that could put members of the public at risk.

Please speak to our advisors to learn more about the hazardous materials accident claims process.

How To Make Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

When you are injured in an accident involving hazardous materials, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Additionally, you should gather evidence proving your injuries and the negligence that caused them. The evidence you could collect can include:

  • Photographs of your injuries and the accident scene.
  • CCTV footage.
  • A medical report of the injuries you suffered and your treatment from an independent medical professional which may be required as part of the claims process.
  • Witness contact details.
  • If the accident occurred in the workplace, it should have been recorded in the accident report book where there are 10 or more employees.

Should you require advice on the evidence you could provide as part of the hazardous materials accident claims process, speak to a member of our team.

Calculating Compensation For Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

There are two potential types of compensation that can be awarded in successful hazardous materials accident claims:

  • General damages – This reimburses you for the physical pain and suffering resulting from your injuries or any psychological harm caused.
  • Special damages – This reimburses you for past and future monetary losses that your injuries caused.

Personal injury solicitors can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), updated in April 2022, to help them value general damages. Therefore, we have used this document to create the table below. It contains guideline compensation amounts for different injuries.

Injury Notes Compensation Bracket
Asbestos-Related Disease (a) The person will have mesothelioma which will cause impairment of both their quality of life and function, as well as severe pain. £63,650 to £114,460
Asbestos-Related Disease (b) Cases of lung cancer where the symptoms are more protracted than in cases of mesothelioma. £70,030 to £97,330
Asbestos-Related Disease (c) The person will suffer from pleural thickening and asbestosis, where respiratory disability attributed to asbestos will typically exceed 10%. This causes progressive symptoms of breathlessness and reduces lung function. £35,500 to £105,850
Asbestos-Related Disease (d) The person will suffer from pleural thickening and asbestosis, where respiratory disability and lung function impairment attributable to asbestos will be up to 10%. £15,100 to £35,500
Asthma (c) This bracket includes bronchitis and wheezing. This will affect the person’s work or social life. However, there will likely be a substantial recovery within a few years from the exposure to the cause. £19,200 to £26,290
Asthma (d) This bracket will involve relatively mild asthma-like symptoms usually resulting from exposure to harmful and irritating vapours. £10,640 to £19,200
Dermatitis and Other Skin Conditions (a) Both of the person’s hands will be affected by dermatitis, causing soreness and cracking and affecting both domestic and employment capability. £13,740 to £19,200
Dermatitis and Other Skin Conditions (b) One or both hands have dermatitis which continues for a significant period. However, it settles with treatment and the use of gloves when performing specific tasks. £8,640 to £11,410
Chest Injuries (e) Toxic fume inhalation. This will cause the person residual damage but will not permanently interfere with lung function. £5,320 to £12,590
Minor Eye Injuries (h) Injuries within this bracket may include being splashed by liquids, which temporarily interferes with vision and causes initial pain. £3,950 to £8,730

Please consider the amounts in the table as a guide because each settlement amount will vary. and continue reading for more information on special damages.

Special Damages

A special damages payout could include reimbursement for the following costs associated with your injuries:

You must provide evidence to prove financial losses, for example, receipts, bank records or payslips. Speak to one of our advisors for advice regarding the compensation you could be eligible to receive for your claim.

No Win No Fee Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

Using the services of a solicitor under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a type of No Win No Fee agreement, could provide the following benefits:

  • There are generally no upfront or ongoing fees to pay for a solicitor’s services.
  • Should your claim fail to succeed, there are generally no payments for you to make for their services.
  • Should your claim succeed, a solicitor under a CFA will deduct a small percentage of the compensation. This is a success fee and is subject to a legal cap.

Speak to one of our advisors to have your claim assessed. Should they find it could be valid, they may put you in contact with one of our specialist solicitors, who could offer to work with you under a CFA.

Start Your Claim

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to discuss hazardous materials accident claims. You can reach our advisors by:

  • Calling on 0800 073 8801
  • Filling out our online ‘contact us’ form via our website
  • Using the live messaging feature on this page.

Essential Resources

Please explore these guides for more information on personal injury claims:

External links for you to explore:

Thank you for reading this guide to hazardous materials accident claims. If you need any other information, please get in touch using the number at the top of the page.

Guide by JO

Edited by MMI