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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Work-Related Illness?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 28th November 2022. Welcome to our guide on work related illness claims.

Work-related illnesses are a pressing issue facing the United Kingdom today. Statistics from HSE show that 1.6 million people were suffering from work-related ill health in the 2019/20 period. This figure includes both new and long-standing cases.

If you find yourself with a work-related illness, you should know that you are not alone. More importantly, you need to know that there are actions that you can take. If your work related illness developed as result of negligence on the behalf of your employer, then you could have the potential to make a valid work-related illness claim.

If you believe there to be even the most remote possibility that you could have a valid work-related illness claim, then you should read this free guide provided by our company.

Select a section:

A Guide to Claiming for a Work-Related Illness

This guide is provided to you by our company primarily to give you the ability to make an informed decision regarding your potential work-related illness claim. We care about you receiving the justice that you deserve after suffering from a work-related illness, and so we want you to make the best decision and get the worker’s compensation work related illness you need.

The guide will cover a range of information relevant to your work-related illness claim, including the details of the process itself and the general context surrounding work-related illnesses. Importantly, the guide will also advise you on the best ways to go about your claim, highlighting how vital a Claims Service is and how they assist in maximising your chances of receiving the compensation that you deserve.

If, however, you find yourself with further questions after reading through this guide then you should call us on 0800 073 8804 to speak to our advisors. However, you can also contact us by filling out the form on our website. Another way to reach us would be to use the live chat window that should be in the bottom right corner of your screen. If you’re deemed to have a valid personal injury claim, we could connect you with a specialist solicitor. All of the lawyers on our panel with 100% of their clients on a No Win No Fee basis.

What is a Work-Related Illness?

Work related illness

Work related illness

The most important aspect of your claim, and certainly the first step that you should take if you are considering making a work-related illness claim, is determining what exactly a work-related illness is. While many people believe a ‘work-related illness’ to be a tightly defined legal term, it actually has considerably broad applications.

Work-related illness covers any medical condition or disorder, pre-existing or otherwise, which is either caused or made worse through an event at a place of employment. As you should be able to see, this covers a broad range of different issues that may be afflicting you and includes medical conditions that are only aggravated by a workplace accident rather than caused by it.

Claiming for Illness Caused by Work Related Stress

The reasons why work-related stress is such a prevalent illness caused by work are twofold. Firstly, stress is in effect a mental condition. This means that it is able to affect people working in any possible job, regardless of whether they are in a career with risk factors for illness. Secondly, work-related stress can easily exacerbate pre-existing illnesses and cause further conditions that affect people, such as anxiety and insomnia. So, it is possible to make illness and injury claims against your employer, even for mental conditions that have been caused by work.

If you are making a work-related illness claim for work-related stress, then it may be difficult to determine responsibility, and thereby financial liability, for your illness. If your stress has come about through voluntary overtime, then your employer may not be liable at all. However, typically work-related stress falls under the duty of care of your employer, and as such, they are normally considered liable if they ignored health and safety regulations regarding such matters.

Claiming for Back Pain Caused by Work

Another common illness that arises as a result of work in the UK is back pain, particularly chronic back pain that has developed over a number of years.

The reasons why back pain caused by work is common in the UK are surprisingly simple, firstly being that it affects both manual and office workers. While manual workers are more commonly affected, particularly working within the construction industry, office workers also develop back pain through poor posture or long hours.

Secondly, back pain is an illness that can be easily aggravated by other conditions, especially work-related stress. Stress inhibits the body’s natural healing abilities, and as such muscle and joint pain is more prominent in people who are also suffering from high levels of stress as a result of their jobs.

If your work-related illness claim is for back pain caused by work, then liability can typically be easily established. As part of the regulations set out and enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, your employer has a duty of care to ensure your health and physical competence to complete any task they set. As result, they are normally considered liable for any work-related illness you suffer from.

Claiming for Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDS) Caused by Work

Work related illness claims can also arise in the UK due to musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders are common in all areas of employment but are particularly commonly associated with manual labour.

Musculoskeletal disorders include all upper limb and back disorders, and are typically caused by repeated lifting of heavy and awkward objects, in manual labour, or holding your body in awkward positions for extended periods of time, in non-manual labour. These disorders are common as a result of the ease with which they can develop over a long period of time, worsening incrementally and thereby easily developing untreated.

Similarly to work related illness claims for back pain caused by work, the liability of these claims can also lay with your employer.

Claiming for Upper Limb Disorders Caused by Work

A less common, but still present, work-related illness in the UK is an upper limb disorder. This is particularly common within manual labour but does still occur with less frequency in non-manual labour.

These disorders typically occur as the result of repetitive muscle movements that cause a strain on the muscles or joints of your upper limbs. Issues surrounding shoulders and elbows are most common with manual workers, especially heavy industry and construction workers, while finger and wrist issues are common with office workers.

As in most cases of work-related illness, your employer is typically considered liable for such illnesses as a result of their duty of care for their employees.

Other Common Illnesses Caused by Work

However, these common causes of work-related illness are not the only forms of illness that can occur. Here is a more comprehensive list of illnesses commonly caused by work:

  • Work related hearing loss – results from noises exceeding 85 decibels. This illness particularly affects workers within the construction industry.
  • Dermatitis/skin inflammation – results from exposure, either acute or prolonged, to an irritant. This illness particularly affects workers in the domestic industry, particularly cleaners.
  • Asthma/difficulties breathing – results again from exposure, typically prolonged, to material that sensitises the lungs and respiratory systems, such as powder or cleaning chemicals. This illness particularly affects workers within the food industry.

As you can see here, there is a wide range of different common illnesses caused by a work accident, affecting many different parts of your physical and mental health. However, there are many more.

Any illness that you suffer as the result of your employment environment can be claimed for, so do not hesitate to make your work-related illness claim if you cannot find your particular situation described in this guide.

Illness at Work Facts and Statistics

Many work related illness claims are made due to temporary health conditions developing due to insufficient levels of health and safety at work. However, there are thousands of examples of employees, unfortunately, passing away due to the industrial illness they developed due to the conditions in their place of work.

HSE Statistics show 12,000 deaths that have been attributed to work-related illnesses. Some of these cases are lung cancer caused by asbestos, but there are other causes listed too. You’ll find a graph below showing the breakdown of these figures, by the condition that caused the deaths in 2019/20.

work related illness claims graph

work related illness claims graph

Assessing the Severity of a Work-Related Illness

When you are considering making your work-related illness claim, our company has learnt that one of the most important aspects individuals typically prioritise is the amount of compensation that you could receive.

However, the severity of your illness suffered will primarily drive this compensation amount. For example, if you are claiming compensation for work-related stress then the stress at work compensation payouts you could be offered may depend heavily upon the severity of your stress and the effect that it has had on you.

This is why our company places much emphasis on establishing the severity of your illness, both colloquially and professionally through a local medical assessment that we can arrange for you. If you want the best chance possible of receiving the compensation that you deserve, then you will need to consider the severity of your illness and receive a professional assessment.

Generally, the severity of your illness is determined by the effect that it has on you, and mostly the duration of that effect over a period of time:

  • Minor severity – is generally concluded if the illness you suffer from has a minimal effect on you over a relatively short period of time, such as a week.
  • Moderate severity – is generally concluded if the illness you suffer from has a moderate effect on you, impacting significantly on your life, over a longer period of time, such as a number of months or a year.
  • Severe severity – is generally concluded if the illness you suffer from has a radical effect on you over a long or short period of time, potentially including life-long and terminal illnesses.

While this does give you an accurate if a general guide to how severity is determined, it by no means should ever replace a medical assessment. Not only is receiving a professional medical assessment vital to the success of your claim, as it will be more appropriate as part of your claim, but also to your health if some aspect of your illness has been overlooked.

The Long-Term Effects of Work-Related Illness

As is previously stated, the long-term effects of your work-related illness largely drive the amount of compensation that you could receive as a result of your claim. This is why recognising the effects is so important in making an accurate estimation regarding your potential compensation amount.

Generally speaking, the long-term effects of work-related illness can be categorised into physical, mental, and life effects:

  • Physical effects – include the physical pain and suffering as a result of your illness, including any surgery or treatment you may have had to go through in order to treat said illness.
  • Mental effects – include the emotional pain and suffering as a result of your illness, particularly if the diagnosis affects your future significantly such as relating to death or impotence/sterility.
  • Life effects – include the effect of your illness on your life, such as any negative financial consequences or loss of future prospects.

While it is important to recognise the effects yourself, if possible you should have them professionally assessed by doctors, psychologists and accountants to ensure that anything you claim for will be successful.

What to do if You Have Suffered a Work-Related Illness

If you have suffered from a work-related illness, the process of what to do can seem to be confusing and difficult, especially if complicated by casual advice given by others. However, the process is relatively simple and made simpler still through the advice given in this guide.

Your first priority should be to attend to any medical requirements caused by an illness, either calling the Emergency Services or taking yourself into hospital depending upon what state you find yourself in and what illness you have suffered.

Once you have made sure that you are safe, you should begin gathering evidence relevant to your illness and accident in order to support your claim for compensation for work-related illness:

  1. You will need evidence in support of the accident. This could include witness statements or camera footage if available, but preferably the Accident Record Book should provide substantial evidence in such cases where the accident was properly recorded.
  2. You will need evidence in support of your employer’s negligence. The idea of negligence and responsibility is key to your work illness compensation claim and could include a lack of training or failure to adhere to other health and safety standards.
  3. You will need evidence in support of your illness’ severity. As previously mentioned in this guide, evidence of this nature will drive your compensation amount and typically takes the form of a medical assessment.

Once you have collected all of this evidence, you should next begin to investigate your claim further through a Claims Service such as our company. We are even able to assist you in collecting evidence, once you have chosen our services.

Examples of Payouts For a Work-related Illness

If you suffer a sudden illness at work due to third-party negligence, you may be able to claim compensation by making a personal injury claim. There are two different heads of claim you could receive compensation through: general damages and special damages.

General damages are the compensation amount paid to the injured person for the pain and suffering caused by the work-related ill health. Factors that will determine how much you receive should your claim be successful include:

  • The severity of your condition
  • Whether any permanent health issues have been caused
  • The overall negative impact the ill health has had on your life
  • How long it will take to recover. The compensation amount will also take into account how difficult recovery will be for you.

Special damages relate to the injured person’s financial losses caused by the work-related ill health. Losses you may be able to claim for include loss of earnings, travel expenses, adjustments to your home and healthcare costs. However, you need evidence to prove the value of the losses. Potential evidence includes payslips, invoices, bank statements and receipts.

To learn more about examples of payouts for work-related illness, contact our team for free legal advice using the above details.

Common causes of accidents and ill health at work

Whether you’ve suffered a sudden illness at work or a long-term mental health issue, you may be able to claim if you can show that it was caused by negligence. For example, common causes of accidents and ill health at work could include:

  • Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Inadequate training
  • Workplace bullying or harassment
  • Unsafe work environment

Some examples of conditions that these could cause include:

  • Work-related asthma
  • Stress
  • Hearing loss or complete deafness
  • Mesothelioma
  • Skin disease
  • Infectious diseases
  • Work-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Asbestos-related disease
  • Vibration-related condition

However, these lists are not exhaustive. To find out more about if you’re eligible to claim, get in touch with our advisors at any time.

No Win No Fee Accidents At Work Solicitors

If you are interested in working with accident at work solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis, our solicitors could potentially help you. Under this contract, you won’t be obliged to pay your solicitor’s fees if your accident at work claim is unsuccessful.

The success fee you pay to your solicitor if your claim does succeed is capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013. This means you get to keep the majority of your compensation and cannot be overcharged.

For further information on claims for an injury at work, speak to our advisors and they could connect you with our expert No Win No Fee solicitors.

Compensation At Work – Work-Related Ill Health Claims

If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘work is making me ill’, and you could prove it was due to your employer’s negligence, it’s possible you could claim. When considering payouts though, it’s important to note that there is no average for compensation for work accident claims as every case has unique circumstances.

Many factors affect what you could receive. This includes the impact of the illness on your day-to-day life and your ability to continue working. Furthermore, if your illness is permanent and you’re unable to make a full recovery, this could also influence any compensation.

The table below lists possible compensation figures for work-related ill health and other work injuries. These figures come from the 2022 edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a source that legal professionals regularly use. The figures in this publication, examples below, are calculated using past court payouts, but they are not guaranteed.

Injury Description Amount
Eye Damage (d) completely blind in one eye £54,830 to £65,710
Finger Injury (b) serious vibration white finger syndrome – work and home life will have been affected £16,760 to £31,640
Wrist Injury (b) significant disability, some movement deemed useful will remain £24,500 to £39,170
Hand Injury (h) moderate – the higher end of the bracket will relate to those who have had surgery but it has been ineffective £5,720 to £13,280
Elbow Injury (a) severely disabling £39,170 to £54,830
Lung (a) Mesothelioma – severe pain, impairment of lung function and quality of life £63,650 to £114,460
Shoulder Injury (c) moderate – limited movement due to frozen shoulder – symptoms persist no longer than two years £7,890 to £12,770

The numbers above are examples of general damages, one of the two potential heads of a claim. General damages focus on physical pain, psychological suffering, and impact on the quality of life.

Special damages, covering financial loss, such as a loss of income and medical costs could increase the settlement that you may receive. Get in touch today to see if you could be eligible to claim special damages.

How to Start a Work-Related Illness Claim

When you begin the process of your work-related illness claim, there is no need to fear what the future may bring. With the professional support and advice that our company provides, making a work-related illness claim could not be simpler.

The most difficult stage of starting your work-related illness claim is the first, namely gathering evidence in support of your claim. This evidence, as previously explored by this guide, provides stability for your claim and could include almost anything.

You should next begin using the services of a Claims Service, particularly our company. You can do this by calling us or filling in our contact form, or using the live chat function below. After this, you will receive a free consultation session regarding your work-related illness claim where we provide an accurate and honest prediction of how your claim could go in court.

If after this consultation you choose us as your Claims Service, we can begin assisting you with your claim in earnest. This would include further evidence gathering, with our professional assistance, and simply and calmly explaining each step in the process of your claim with you.

Why Choose us as your Claims Service for a Work-Related Illness Claim?

When you are making your work-related illness claim, it is vital that you use the services provided by a Claims Service; we believe that our company is best placed to provide you with such services.

Our company can provide you with the support and assistance that you will need throughout the claims process; our team of legal experts will use their collective years of experience in the field of work illness claims to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

However, more importantly than that, we are a strong, ethical company whose commitment to justice stands throughout our ethos. Our No Win No Fee policy is but one example of this commitment, and we will do our best to ensure you receive the compensation and justice that you deserve.

Call for Free Advice and To Start a Claim

We can help you get what you deserve, regardless of whether or not you believe that you deserve it or have any chance of success.

You can be successful in your claim, you just need the support that we are happy to give you. Contact us today by calling 0800 073 8804, filling in the contact form or using the live chat function on this page and we can begin to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you lose your job due to an illness?

You cannot be legally let go from your job solely because you have become ill. However, if the illness prevents you from carrying out your role for a short period of time, you may need to take time off work while you recover. Alternatively, your injuries may be severe enough to prevent you from returning to work.

In this instance, you could claim back any past or future loss of earnings under the special damages head of your claim.

A calculation could be made to work out how much you had the potential to earn until retirement age if your health had not been affected. Then, it can be awarded to you to account for this.

Are you entitled to full pay if you’re injured at work?

Your employer is generally not legally-bound to pay you if you are unable to work for a period of time. However, it may depend on what’s outlined in your contract. If you’re not eligible to receive full pay after being injured at work, you may be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

This is unlikely to amount to your regular wage but can assist with some costs whilst your illness or injury is affected your ability to work.

How long after can you claim for an injury at work?

As per the Limitation Act 1980, you have 3 years from the date that your injury was sustained to begin a claim. However, in cases of work-related illness, this date can be difficult to pin down. This is because many illnesses may be caused by to prolonged exposure to unsafe conditions.

For example, you may now suffer from noise-induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus due to your employer not supplying you with suitable ear protection in an overly noisy environment. The effect on your hearing was likely cumulative, so there would be no singular date that could be named as the start of your 3-year time window.

Due to this, you can use what’s called the “date of knowledge”. This is the date that you realise your symptoms can be attributed to unsafe working conditions. So, this time limit is a little more fluid.

Helpful Links

Injury At Work Claims and Compensation Amounts

Have you had an accident at work? find out how much compensation you can claim and call us for free advice.

How Much Compensation For Mesothelioma Claims

If you or a family member has been exposed to asbestos and as a result, you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer contact us today for free legal advice.

A General Guide To Personal Injury Compensation

More information on the process of making a claim.

Litigation Friends

It’s possible to have someone else make work related illness claims on your behalf. Here’s how.

More Information On Mesothelioma

Find out more about this work-related illness from the NHS.

Other personal injury claims guides

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.