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How much compensation can I claim for an Hazardous Materials Accident injury?

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 5th May 2023. Welcome to our hazardous materials accident claims guide for injuries suffered as a result of negligence.

Whether out in the public domain or at the workplace, there is a wide range of different substances and materials which people can come into contact with on a daily basis which can cause you harm or which can lead to illnesses. A hazardous materials accident or contact with many of these materials or substances can cause people serious harm, or even long-term diseases. Often this contact is not the fault of the victim and can result in the grounds for a compensation claim.

If you have suffered from an injury or long-term illness as a result of contact with or exposure to a hazardous materials accident, you could be able to make a hazardous substances claim. Being exposed to hazardous materials and substances, at home, in the workplace or in public spaces can be damaging or even life-changing. It can result in illness leading to physical, emotional and even financial strain on you and your family.

As with many kinds of personal accident and injury claims, there are criteria and time limits for you to bring about your hazardous substances or industrial disease compensation claim. To be eligible to make an accident or injury compensation claim after you have been exposed to an accident involving hazardous materials, you need to:

  • Have sustained your hazardous materials accident within the last three years. It needs to be the result of an accident either at your workplace, whilst working for your employer or in a space someone else is responsible for.
  • Be able to clearly demonstrate that someone else, whether an employer, company, authority or individual is legally responsible for your accident.
  • Be able to prove that your injuries or illness were caused by the exposure or accident.

In putting together this guide we have endeavoured to make it as comprehensive as possible. If after reading it you still have any questions you can contact our expert team and discuss any accidents involving hazardous materials you have had. You can:

  • Call us on 0800 073 8804
  • Chat to us using the pop-up window in the bottom right
  • Fill out the online form on our website to see if you could have a valid claim

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A Guide To Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

Hazardous Materials Accident

Hazardous Materials Accident Claims Guide

Welcome to our hazardous materials claims guide for injuries suffered as a result of negligence.

In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about hazardous substances claims for the workplace or other spaces. We have put together a complete and comprehensive resource covering the causes of these types of accidents and provide you with the resources to put a claim together, maximising the amount of compensation you could receive.

Hazardous materials, such as chemicals, are used in a wide variety of work and other environments. Prominent workplaces can include farms, factories, laboratories and industries such as pest controls. Other everyday environments include homes, offices, and schools as well as shops, hairdressers and beauty salons. Common reasons for hazardous substances claims include workplace exposure, passive smoking or even food poisoning.

In working environments employers are required to make sure the use of hazardous substances and materials are controlled and that exposure to such materials is minimised. Risk assessments must also be carried out. Any employer, company owner or another responsible person must follow the risk assessment, implement and maintain effective measures to control the use of such chemicals or materials. Incidents resulting in industrial disease compensation claims can result in people being poisoned and can lead to long-term conditions such as dermatitis, certain cancers, and asthma.

If you have been affected by exposure to a hazardous substance or material as a result of a working environment or other situation which is not your fault, you may be entitled to a compensation claim.

What is a Hazardous Materials Accident?

Before making hazardous materials claims, it’ll help to know what types of accidents could be responsible.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, a hazardous material is one that is hazardous to your health. They include any material or materials that can cause damage to a person such as personal injury or illness. Some of the most common causes of hazardous materials claims being made are those listed below.

Carbon monoxide: Accidents involving hazardous materials such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous substance and exposure to it can be life-changing. Victims of exposure to carbon monoxide should be entitled to compensation for their resulting illness.

Toxic Torts Compensation: This covers a wide range of hazardous environmental substances. These types of claims cover illness or injury caused by exposure in a public place.

Food poisoning: Food poisoning is one of the most common kinds of accidental exposure to a hazardous substance. If you have had food poisoning you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation for any resulting losses that you incur if you have to take time off from work.

Passive smoking: Hazardous materials accidents statistics show that second-hand and passive smoking causes around 165,000 new cancer cases each year in the UK. If you have experienced passive smoking in your workplace, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

Contaminated Soil: Hazardous materials and substances need to be disposed of in a safe way and within the guidelines laid out by the Health and Safety Executive. When people dispose of materials in accordance with the correct guidance, and soil is contaminated you could be able to make a claim for an accident involving hazardous materials.

Hazardous substances can be found in and out of the workplace. Between January and October 2020 there were 295 reported cases of Legionnaires disease. The disease is caused either by drinking infected water or inhaling air that contains Legionella pneumonia.

Toxic waste which is dumped illegally or otherwise incorrectly can result in serious illness to employees and the public at large. Negligence is the primary cause of exposure to toxic waste in the UK, and the reason behind so many of these compensation claims. Thousands of employees across the UK experience pain, illness or injury each year as the result of contracting conditions such as lung disease, cancers and other conditions as a direct result of exposure in the workplace.


Remember, under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) every employer has a legal responsibility to protect employees from exposure to hazardous substances. If this responsibility is not taken seriously, it could lead to a breach of their legal duty of care. This is considered negligence, and you could make a claim for hazardous substances compensation as a result.

Warehouse Accidents Caused by Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials claims could be made as a result of warehouse accidents.

Industrial disease compensation claims can cover a variety of accidents such as poisoning at work. This can occur in warehouses or other industrial areas. Generally, a warehouse accident involving hazardous materials are caused by ingesting, inhaling or otherwise absorbing toxic chemicals through the skin. There are a wide variety of hazardous materials and chemicals which can result in poisoning accident compensation claims. These chemicals and materials include;

  • Arsenic.
  • Carbon monoxide.
  • Chlorine (in swimming pools and other areas).
  • Benzene, which can be a cause of lung cancer.
  • Chromium, a toxic chemical.
  • Diesel and hydrocarbons.
  • Dioxin. This is a highly toxic and environmentally persistent organic pollutant.
  • Mercury.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCB’s.

You do not have to have come into contact with hazardous material in a workplace. If you are a member of the public and have come into contact with a toxic or hazardous substance, such as industrial waste due to the inappropriate disposal of this waste, you could have a hazardous substance claim.

How to Claim For a Hazardous Materials Accident at Work

If you have been exposed to a hazardous substance or material and have suffered either a personal injury or an illness as a result, you may be entitled to make hazardous materials claims. Whether your exposure was at work or in the home, someone will be to blame.

Starting your claim for any accidents involving hazardous materials can be easy to do once you have the right solicitor and expert legal team to represent you. To be sure of winning your case and maximising your compensation claim, you should choose a reputable firm that has the necessary expertise and experience.

In order to win your industrial disease compensation claim, you will need to be able to prove the accident was the result of negligence caused by someone other than yourself. You and your solicitor will need to demonstrate that the accident or negligence resulted in either an injury or illness of some kind.

As a claimant, you could be an employee or a member of the public visiting a place or even at home. The principle holds that you need to have suffered an injury that is not your fault. Remember, those who are responsible for the contamination have a duty of care. If those responsible do not do this, they can be held to account for a compensation claim.

At Legal Expert, we have a team of dedicated personal injury solicitors who are able to deal with some of the most complicated hazardous materials accident claims. We will work with you too;

  • Collect any evidence such as CCTV footage, accident reports, and witness statements.
  • Obtain the correct and necessary medical reports.
  • Help you to ensure all paperwork is correctly filled out and is collated.

Hazardous materials accidents can be extremely serious and we take hazardous materials claims just as seriously. We strive to take care of your case and care of you. We can provide you with our legal advice and services on a No Win No Fee basis. We will assess your toxic materials case and take you through its merits before you commit to working with us. Choosing the right solicitor can be a problem, but we take the hard work out of it so you can sit back and recuperate.

What To Do if You Have Suffered a Hazardous Materials Accident

If you have suffered an illness or injury as a result of a hazardous materials accident that you were not responsible for, these are the next steps you need to take to make hazardous materials claims.

Before you start making a claim, you need to get some answers. Make sure you are armed with as much information about the process of hazardous materials claims as you can be. You should also find as much information on the culpability of the person or persons responsible. This all helps you to make a more informed choice later. Our resources and webchat are all excellent resources to start you on your hazardous materials claims journey.

The second step is to compare legal services. Many solicitors such as Legal Expert are willing to work with clients on a No Win No Fee basis. One of the first questions you should ask early in the process is what their eventual fee will be in the case of a win. Your choice of solicitor could affect how much compensation you end up receiving.

Our specialized personal injury and illness solicitors have years of experience in processing complex and complicated injury and illness claims. Our team will help you gather all the evidence you need. We will assemble medical reports and get the right paperwork. They will also work with you to ensure it is all correctly filled out.

Following this, we will ensure that we do everything to ensure that you can spend your time relaxing, resting and recovering from your illness or injury. The results of hazardous materials accidents and toxic substances can be extremely serious. In some cases, they can even be fatal. Our No Win, No Fee legal services remove some of the stresses involved in making a claim.

How Much Could You Be Owed In The Event Of An Accident Involving Chemicals?

You might be interested in a list of compensation payouts in the UK if you suffered injuries due to a chemical spillage. However, this may not be helpful for you because compensation is awarded on a case-by-case basis. A list may not consider the specific factors of your injury.

If your claim is successful, general damages will be awarded for the physical and mental suffering caused by your injuries. To help value claims, legal professionals use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provides a list of different injuries alongside guideline compensation brackets.

We have included some of the figures from the JCG in the table below. However, it is only to be used as a guide.

Injury Amount Notes
Scarring Likely to exceed £104,830 The claimant has suffered significant burns covering 40% or more of their body.
Facial Disfigurement – Very Severe £29,780 to £97,330 In this bracket, the claimant is relatively young (teen to early 30s) and suffers a very disfiguring cosmetic effect to their face along with a severe psychological reaction.
Facial Disfigurement – Less Severe £17,960 to £48,420 In this bracket, the claimant suffers with a substantial disfigurement along with a significant psychological reaction.
Digestive System Illness (b) (i) £38,430 to £52,500 The claimant suffers severe toxicosis. Symptoms include serious acute pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. They require hospital admission for days or weeks. A significant impact on the ability to work and enjoy life is caused by continuing incontinence, haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome.
Digestive System Illness (b) (ii) £9,540 to £19,200 In this bracket, the claimant suffers serious but short-lived food poisoning. It causes diarrhoea and vomiting over the course of 2-4 weeks. However, some remaining discomfort and bowel disturbance with an impact on their sex life and food enjoyment lasting a few years.
Digestive System Illness (b) (iii) £3,950 to £9,540 The claimant experiences food poisoning. This causes significant discomfort, stomach cramps and an alteration of bowel functioning along with fatigue. A complete recovery occurs within a year or two.
Dermatitis (a) £12,900 to £18,020 The claimant experiences dermatitis to both hands. It causes cracking and soreness with an impact on their employment and domestic capability and there are some possible psychological consequences. It may last indefinitely.
Dermatitis (b) £8,640 to £11,410 The claimant suffers dermatitis of one or both hands. It lasts for a significant amount of time but settles with treatment and/or the use of gloves.
Psychiatric – Moderate £5,860 to £19,070 In this bracket, the claimant has suffered problems coping with life, education and work, along side problems in their personal relationships. However, their prognosis is good.
Chest (e) £5,320 to £12,590 The claimant experiences some residual damage that does not interfere permanently with their lung functioning from the inhalation of toxic fumes or smoke.

Special Damages

Additionally, you might be awarded special damages as part of your settlement. This is to compensate you for the financial losses caused by your injury. However, in order to claim special damages, you might need to submit receipts or other pieces of evidence regarding your losses.

Examples of losses you might be able to recover include:

  • Your loss of earnings for time spent off work. This includes your past and future losses.
  • Medical expenses, such as specialist bandages and creams.
  • Travel costs, such as the taxi fares to and from your appointments.
  • Repairs or replacements of property damaged in the incident that caused your injuries.

For more information about what might be included in your claim, get in touch with our advisors. As part of our free services, we can also provide you with a more accurate claim valuation.

How To Start Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

Do you want to start making hazardous materials claims for yourself?

After we have reviewed all the evidence and information related to your claim, such as hazardous materials accident reports, the next step is starting your case. Obtaining and filing all the necessary reports can be stressful for you to do yourself, so we always aim to do this for you. We can start by chatting over the phone to establish the validity of your case. If your injury or illness is still causing you pain, we will ensure you receive the medical attention you require. This also helps to diagnose the full extent of your injuries and case.

Some personal injury claims can be straightforward with the claimant getting their compensation in a short period of time. More complex cases or those where the claimant has a more serious or longer-term injury can take more time for us to resolve. If the other party you are making the claim against does not accept responsibility or if there is an apportionment of blame between the person bringing the claim and the defendant, it can take longer to resolve your case.

There is not an exact formula for how long these processes will take and when a settlement will be reached. Sometimes it can even be in the interest of the injured party to reject an initial offer. This has the chance to result in a larger total payout later.

Why Choose Us For Your Hazardous Materials Accident Claim?

Clients choose to work with Legal Expert for a variety of reasons. If you need to make hazardous materials claims, we are able to help. We can help you get compensation if you are suffering pain, losses, and suffering.

The main things we have found that you need to do to get your claim going include the following steps. Start by finding a solicitor who can help you to maximise the value of your compensation payout. You also want to find one who will leave you with as much of your financial settlement as possible, taking as low legal fees or insurance costs as possible.

Your solicitor needs to be someone who is experienced in personal injury law and has expertise in that area. You also want to ensure that your chosen solicitor is available for you to meet with.

No Win No Fee Hazardous Materials Accident Claims

You may have heard of No Win No Fee legal services for personal injury and accident claims. In this type of agreement is a promise to help you make a claim for damages or compensation, without you having to make upfront or ongoing payments for their legal services. You will only pay if your solicitor wins your case.

No Win No Fee claims are made on what is known as a conditional fee agreement or a CFA. These often comprise an important part of personal injury and illness claims. No Win No Fee agreements mean that you won’t have to pay a penny upfront and that you also won’t have to make any kind of payment if you lose your case.

The CFA or No Win No Fee agreement is a contract between your lawyer and you. The agreement will detail the work your solicitor will carry out and the fee if the case is successful. Thanks to a No Win No Fee agreement, you can get complete peace of mind in the knowledge that you won’t need to pay anything at the outset and that no matter the outcome, you won’t end up out of pocket. We make sure that you won’t be faced with any hidden costs.

Hazardous Materials Claims FAQs

What are hazardous substances and materials?

Substances and materials that have the potential to be harmful or dangerous to humans, animals or other life forms are hazardous.

What are some examples of hazardous materials?

These include but are by no means limited to:

  • Arsenic.
  • Carbon monoxide.
  • Chlorine (in swimming pools and other areas).
  • Benzene, which can be a cause of lung cancer.
  • Chromium, a toxic chemical.
  • Diesel and hydrocarbons.
  • Dioxin. This is a highly toxic and environmentally persistent organic pollutant.
  • Mercury.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCB’s.

How do you identify a hazardous material?

Many hazardous materials will often have labels on their containers that will show you that they are hazardous and how they could harm you.

What to do if you come into contact with hazardous materials

If you come into contact with hazardous material, we recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible.

If you come into contact with it in the workplace, you should also ensure your accident is reported in the accident logbook, as this could be helpful evidence for your claim.

What steps would you take if you found hazardous materials on site?

Some hazardous materials may be necessary for your workplace. If so, you should handle them with care and ensure you are wearing the appropriate PPE. Your employer is obligated to provide such PPE to ensure your safety. If your employer does not provide it PPE and you are harmed as a result, you could potentially claim compensation.

What is PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used to prevent dangerous materials from harming those working around them. It’s a legal requirement for employers to provide correct PPE to their employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

What is employer negligence?

If your employer fails to uphold their legal duty of care to protect you from harm as much as is reasonably possible, this is an example of negligence.

Do I have grounds to claim?

Providing you suffered as a result of third-party negligence, you could have grounds to make a claim for compensation.

How can a No Win No Fee agreement help?

With a No Win No Fee agreement, you’ll only have to pay your solicitor if they win your compensation for you. Therefore, you don’t have to pay out of pocket or worry about financial risks.

How can Legal Expert help?

We can provide you with a claims management service and connect you to a solicitor from our panel to handle your case.

How can I contact Legal Expert?

There are a number of ways you can get in touch with us here at Legal Expert. Over the phone is not the only method. If you do prefer to speak over the phone, then our number is in the section below.

Alternatively, you could use the pop-up live chat window in the bottom right corner of this page to speak to a member of our team.  In addition, there’s also the option to fill out the online form on our website. By doing this, you should have more of an idea of whether or not you have a valid claim.

Call today for free advice and to start a claim

If you still have any questions about making hazardous materials claims, need some advice or would like to inquire about making a claim, our dedicated solicitors are on hand to offer a no-obligation consultation where you can discuss your case and your options.

At Legal Expert, we regularly handle all kinds of personal accident, injury and illness claims on a regular basis. Where and however you have suffered your hazardous materials accident, we have the advice and expertise you require. We can start by organising a free advisory call over the phone with one of our experts.

You can get in contact with us today by using the chat feature on our website, requesting a call back using the contact form, or by calling us today on 0800 073 8804. We are waiting to start helping you get the compensation you deserve today.

Useful Links

Separating hazardous materials

The best ways to separate hazardous materials as directed by the Health and Safety Executive.

Storing Chemicals

Government advice on storing chemicals.

Advice For Acid And Chemical Burns

Information from the NHS.

Litigation Friends

Information from the government on how to appoint an adult to make a claim on behalf of someone else.

How Much Could I Claim For A Chemical Burn Injury?

Find out how much you could claim for a chemical burn injury.

Accident At Work Claim Compensation Amounts

Find out how much compensation you can claim after an accident at work.

Thank you for reading our hazardous materials claims guide.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      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.

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