Diagnosed with silicosis?
If you have silicosis as a result of poor working conditions, we can help you make a no win no fee silicosis compensation claim.
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Silicosis Claims

Silicosis is a severe lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust, also known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS). The condition usually develops after exposure to silica dust particles over a long period, often several years or decades.

If you have been diagnosed with silicosis or any other related disease, you may be entitled to make a silicosis compensation claim. A personal injury solicitor can assist you in assessing your eligibility to make a claim for compensation against your employer, whether former or present.

To make a successful silicosis claim, your solicitor must prove that your diagnosis is linked to your working conditions and your employer failed to provide you with a safe working environment. For example, you may not have been provided with suitable PPE (personal protective equipment), such as dust masks, when working in dusty conditions, resulting in you suffering from this illness.

The personal injury lawyers we work in partnership with have years of experience in helping people claim compensation for a host of industrial illnesses and accidents, including claims for silicosis. If you are entitled to damages, they will provide a no win no fee* service, so there are no upfront costs, and if they cannot win your case, you will not pay a penny.

What is silicosis?

Silicosis is a preventable respiratory disease that affects the lungs. It is caused by silica, one of the most common minerals on Earth, whose dust is released into the air when some stones, rocks and types of sand are cut down, crushed, or drilled. When silica dust is inhaled, small particles which cannot be cleared by coughing or through mucous become embedded into the lungs.

Silica dust is toxic and can lead to an inflammatory reaction which can cause the lung tissues to become scarred and thickened. This condition is known as fibrosis, and when it happens, it becomes difficult for the lungs to take in oxygen properly.

Extremely high levels of exposure to silica dust can cause the disease within a year. But in most cases, it takes between 10 and 15 years of exposure before the symptoms of silicosis will occur. The main symptoms that people with silicosis suffer from are shortness of breath, persistent coughing and a general feeling of tiredness and weakness. These symptoms often worsen over time and can make everyday tasks such as climbing stairs a struggle.

Although rare, this condition can be fatal if it causes the lungs to shut down and stop working as they should. It can also lead to other severe conditions, such as lung cancer, kidney disease, heart failure and tuberculosis. You can find further information about the illness on the NHS website.

Silicosis can be broken down into three main types:

  • Simple chronic silicosis – This is the most common form of the condition and occurs after long-term exposure to low amounts of silica dust for over two decades. Suffering from this form of the condition will usually cause a dry cough, shortness of breath and tiredness.
  • Accelerated silicosis – This form of lung disease is seen in workers exposed to silica dust over a shorter period but with more elevated levels of dust inhalation. The amount of exposure can be between 5 to 15 years, and the symptoms caused by lung inflammation are usually more severe.
  • Acute silicosis – This is a rarer form of the disease that results from short-term exposure to large amounts of silica dust. The symptoms can develop within a few weeks and include extreme breathlessness, too much fluid in the lungs, chest pain and low blood oxygen levels.

In the United Kingdom, there are around 20 to 30 estimated new cases and an average of 12 deaths per year from silicosis according to the HSE. There are no specific tests to diagnose the condition, so it may take several tests and doctor’s visits to get a diagnosis, such as:

  • Chest x-rays or CT scans to check for scar tissue and determine how much damage has been done;
  • Tests that measure lung function and how much air you breathe in and out to evaluate the capacity of the lungs;
  • Sputum tests to rule out other diseases, such as tuberculosis;
  • A bronchoscopy is a procedure that lets doctors look at your lungs and air passages to check for damage;
  • A lung biopsy allows doctors to remove a tissue sample for further testing.

If you are diagnosed with silicosis, you might be entitled to claim silicosis compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim, you can call free on 0800 032 3660 or enter your details, and you will be contacted by an experienced legal adviser, with no obligation to proceed.

Employer responsibility to protect workers against silicosis

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, an employer is responsible for protecting their employees’ health from potential risks of diseases and illnesses. Every employer is legally obliged to undertake risk assessments regularly to ensure that high safety standards are met and managed successfully. Oversight or failure in this area can lead to staff suffering from illnesses or injuries caused by their job or work environment and can entitle you to make a silicosis claim.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that exposure to silica dust caused the death of more than 500 people working within the construction industry in 2005.
Employers also have a legal responsibility under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to take appropriate steps to avoid exposing workers to dangerous substances, which include silica. When exposure cannot be avoided, employers must take reasonable steps to minimise the impact and subsequent risk of illness. This may include the following steps:
  • Conducting risk assessments
  • Providing employees with suitable personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation and extraction systems are in place
  • Providing employees with the necessary safety training
  • Educating workers about the dangers and safe handling of silica dust
  • Carrying out regular inspections of machinery and equipment

If you have been diagnosed with silicosis, it may be possible for you to claim silicosis compensation. The solicitors we work in partnership with have vast experience in processing silicosis claims and would be pleased to discuss the details of your case during a free consultation.

Who is most at risk of developing silicosis?

Silicosis can develop when silica dust particles are released into the atmosphere and inhaled. This usually happens in work environments where sand, stone, granite, quartz, and similar materials that contain silica are drilled, ground, crushed or cut. Therefore, people that are employed in the following industries are considered most at risk:

  • Construction
  • Quarrying
  • Demolition works
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing of ceramics and pottery
  • Sandblasting
  • Stone Masonry
  • Bricklaying
  • Farming
  • Glass manufacturing

Although the above industries present a greater danger than many others, people can still develop silicosis while working in many other environments and professions.

If you are suffering from the effects of silicosis, and you feel that your exposure to silica dust was due to the negligence of your employer, you could claim compensation for your illness. To begin a silicosis compensation claim, call 0800 032 3660 or use our online claim form to receive a call back.

Can I make a silicosis claim?

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling crystalline silica, usually in workplaces such as farms, mines and construction sites. A silicosis diagnosis could mean that your employer breached their duty of care towards you and might entitle you to start a silicosis claim against them.

A free consultation with a legal adviser is the easiest way to find out if you have a valid claim. They will evaluate your circumstances to determine whether:

  • Your employer has failed to take the necessary measures to protect your health and safety
  • Their negligence exposed you to silica dust
  • You were diagnosed with silicosis as a result

If your solicitor believes you have a fair chance to receive silicosis compensation, they will help you gather all the necessary evidence to build a strong case. This could be in the form of:

  • Your National Insurance records and other documents relating to your employment history
  • Medical evidence confirming your exposure to silica dust
  • Medical records related to the diagnostic tests and treatments you received
  • An independent exam with a medical expert that your solicitor will arrange for you
  • Evidence of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your diagnosis

Once you have everything you need to file a silicosis claim, your solicitor will contact the other side and let them know about your intentions to pursue compensation. If they admit liability for your illness, you can begin to negotiate a settlement. Otherwise, your solicitor will initiate court proceedings, and your claim may need to be argued in court.

How much compensation can I claim for silicosis?

There is no set amount that is awarded in a silicosis compensation claim. This will largely depend on the severity of your illness, your financial losses, and the future expenses you are expected to incur. In every personal injury claim, you can recover two types of damages:

General damages is the compensation you receive for the intangible losses caused by your condition, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental anguish and emotional trauma
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Physical impairment
  • Inability to pursue a hobby or leisure activity

When it comes to general damages, it is often difficult to calculate the precise amount of silicosis compensation you should receive. Unlike special damages, they do not have a set monetary value assigned to them. The Judicial College offers compensation guidelines for general damages that solicitors use as a starting point in silicosis claims. For example, you could receive:

  • Up to £51,460 for a respiratory illness causing breathing difficulties and the necessity to use an inhaler;
  • Between £51,420 and £65,710 if you were diagnosed with a more severe form of silicosis that significantly affects lung function and breathing capacity;
  • Between £65,710 and £91,350 if you developed lung cancer that affects the quality of life and ability to carry out daily activities;
  • Up to £127,530 if your lung illness causes severe disability and premature death.

Special damages are easier to calculate as they compensate you for more ascertainable losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses for hospitalisation, diagnostic tests, or treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to work due to your condition
  • Travel expenses
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

If you want to learn more about your silicosis compensation prospects, you can have your case assessed at no cost by calling 0800 032 3660 for a consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, you can start your claim online by filling out our simple online form here.

How long does it take to make a claim?

If you have been diagnosed with the condition, a personal injury solicitor could help you file a silicosis claim for compensation. As the illness takes years or even decades to show symptoms, you have three years from the date you received a diagnosis to take legal action.

The amount of time it will take for your claim to settle once you start legal proceedings depends upon the particulars of your case, such as the severity of your illness and the evidence you have to support it. While most silicosis claims take between 12 and 18 months to settle, the number could vary greatly on either end.

For example, when the claimant has a limited time to live, claims can be fast-tracked. Likewise, if multiple factors are up for dispute, a silicosis compensation claim can take significantly longer to settle. In any case, your solicitor will ensure you get the compensation you deserve as soon as possible.

There are several things you can do to speed up the claims process and receive silicosis compensation as soon as possible:

  • Contact an experienced solicitor as early as possible after you receive a silicosis diagnosis;
  • Document everything about your illness and your expenses from day one;
  • Fill in all the required forms and documents required to start the claiming process;
  • Work with your solicitor to arrange a free medical assessment with an independent healthcare professional as soon as possible;
  • While it is not usually advised, you could decide to accept an early settlement from the defendant if you want to receive your compensation as quickly as possible.

Your solicitor will try to prove as soon as possible that your silicosis diagnosis was due to your employer’s negligence. As a general rule, it is not in your best interest to rush your claim, as this could mean you may not receive the full compensation award you might be entitled to.

If there are no liability disputes and you have immediate financial needs, your solicitor might be able to arrange an interim payment on your behalf. This is a sum of money advanced to you from the total compensation you will get at the end of your silicosis claim.

How much will it cost to make a silicosis claim?

If you are eligible for silicosis compensation and have decided to proceed with a claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement. This means that you do not have to pay them any upfront fees for their services, and there is no financial risk to you in starting a silicosis claim.

Before starting legal proceedings, you will sign a conditional fee agreement with your solicitor. The main benefit of the agreement is that you do not have to pay them anything if they fail to win compensation on your behalf. On the other hand, if your case is successful, you will pay your solicitor a success fee of up to 25% of your silicosis compensation.

Another benefit of the no win no fee service is the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy. This is a legal expenses insurance that provides financial coverage if your claim is unsuccessful, and it will cover costs and disbursements, such as:

  • Fees requested by the court
  • The defendant’s solicitor fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Medical reports
  • The costs of printing and copying
  • Barrister fees if your case goes to trial

With an unsuccessful silicosis claim, the ATE policy is self-insuring and is classed as a disbursement. That means you must pay for the premium only if you receive compensation for your damages.

To find out if you are eligible to start a silicosis compensation claim on a no win no fee basis, you can request a free assessment with a legal adviser by calling 0800 032 3660. Alternatively, you can fill in our online claim form to receive a call back.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.