Personal Injury Claims

Occupational Lung Diseases Claims

Expertise and experience

In regions such as the North East of England, employment in heavy industry has come at a significant cost to the health of its workers. Prolonged exposure to dust-laden environments has led to a significant base of health problems in mining, quarrying, construction and shipbuilding.

Silicosis, Welders’ Lung (Siderosis of the lung), Kaolin Pneumoconiosis and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis are all conditions brought on by prolonged exposure to dust. The Health and Safety Executive reports that silica-related lung cancer cases, as a consequence of silicosis, are estimated to cause 800 deaths per year.

At Browell Smith & Co Solicitors, we have the expertise and experience to represent clients in claims for lung damage caused by inhalation of dust of various types, eg Silicosis, Welders’ Lung (Siderosis of the lung), Kaolin Pneumoconiosis and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (all conditions brought on by prolonged exposure to specific forms of dust).

Contact our expert team today to arrange a free initial consultation at any of our offices, in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively at your home, to discuss your particular requirements.

Dawn Bagley

Solicitor - Head of Personal Injury & Medical Negligence

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Adam Burton

Chartered Legal Executive - Personal Injury

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Hayley Watson

Legal Clerk - Personal Injury & Financial Mis-selling

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Silicosis

Silicosis is an incurable lung disease which is caused by breathing in large amounts of dust containing respirable crystalline silica (RCS). While it normally occurs over a prolonged period of time, on rare occasions where exposure is particularly high, acute silicosis can develop quickly.

Silica is an extremely common substance, found in; stone, rock, sand, clay and numerous other materials. People who work with these materials, especially in a job that causes silica dust such as drilling, cutting, blasting and hammering, are most at risk of developing silicosis.

The disease occurs when dust from rocks or ceramics, containing crystalline silica, is inhaled into the lungs. When the dust comes into contact with the lining of the lungs it causes inflammation and eventually leads to a thickened, scarred lining within the lungs (fibrosis). It also damages the tissues within the lungs, preventing them from functioning normally.

Health and Safety regulations require employers that have environments in which stone dust is common to provide the following:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Appropriate ventilation and extraction
  • Risk assessments to gauge whether the environment is potentially harmful
  • Training to ensure safety procedures are followed

Silicosis often does not develop until up to 30 years after exposure. Many clients were unaware that the powders and dusts to which they were exposed contained silica.

If you have been recently diagnosed with silicosis and think it could have been caused by your work, our legal team can guide you through the claims process. It is often still possible to claim even if the company you worked for is no longer trading.

At Browell Smith & Co, our expert lawyers are experienced in handling claims for silicosis sufferers.

Time Limits

As with all claims for personal injury compensation there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the court.

In accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident.

For silica/stone dust related conditions, court proceedings must be commenced within three years of the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you might be suffering from a silica/stone dust-related condition caused by a third party, for example your employer or the owner of the premises where you were working if you were a contractor.

If court proceedings are not begun within three years from the relevant date, then the negligent party may escape paying compensation on the basis that your claim is out of time. So we would urge you to seek professional advice as soon as possible.

Time limits for silica/stone dust related conditions are complex and differ from case to case, particularly when bereaved relatives seek compensation on behalf of a former family member.

A firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence is not always necessary and in such circumstances seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.

As with all claims for personal injury compensation there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the court.

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