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industrial injury and disease claims services

24 July 2018

Our clients

Our industrial injury and disease team represent a wide range of clients throughout the UK from public bodies (including local authorities, emergency services and the NHS) to insurers, brokers, liability adjusters and private sector commercial organisations in the leisure, agricultural, mining and manufacturing industries.

Trends in disease claims

Alleged occupational disease claims (whether from historic working practices, ongoing manufacturing processes or the interplay between employees and their working environment) is of significant ongoing concern to both employers and their insurers.

We anticipate that the high volumes of industrial deafness and hand/arm vibration claims that our clients have witnessed in recent years will persist. At the same time, emerging risks from changes to working practices and the exposure of the workforce to new chemical, physical and biological agents are also continuing to be identified.

Straightforward clear advice

We identify the strengths and weaknesses within a Defence promptly and advise clients on those claims that require early settlement. In doing so, where appropriate, we help clients to minimise their financial outlay in terms of costs, damages and lost productivity.

Defensible claims are tenaciously investigated and robustly defended. We are mindful of clients’ concerns of potential floodgate arguments and work with our clients to pro-actively manage identified risks. We work closely with our clients to manage identified risks and provide our constructive advice and training. We proactively help clients to reduce the risk of them receiving future disease claims and increase the defensibility of any claims that are intimated.

Limitation, causation and foreseeability

Our team has extensive experience in successfully defending claims on the basis of limitation, foreseeability and factual/medical causation. We recognise that limitation only trials in particular can give clients an opportunity to successfully defend claims without needing to incur the expense of both engineering and medical expert evidence.

In one recent limitation-only trial in Sheffield County Court, the Claimant found himself faring so poorly under cross-examination that he chose to leave the witness box and the Courtroom without permission and he then left the Court, not to return. His claim against our client was struck out as an abuse of process and we were awarded costs.

Fraudulent disease claims

Our team is quick to recognise the markers that might suggest that a disease claim is potentially consciously exaggerated or fundamentally dishonest. We work very closely with our experienced counter-fraud team in order to identify a potentially fraudulent claim and to meet any such claims with a robust and pro-actively decisive response.

Our expertise

Our cross office team of specialists are experienced in dealing with all types of industrial injury and disease claims to include:

  • asbestos related diseases – including malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and diffuse pleural thickening
  • industrial deafness claims
  • vibration claims – including hand/arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and whole-body vibration (WBV)
  • respiratory disorders caused by exposure to chemicals (including environmental tobacco smoke), crystalline silica dust, birds – such as asthma, rhinitis, psittacosis, baker’s lung, dermatitis and cancer
  • skin disease claims – due to exposure to chemicals or materials such as latex that may lead to industrial dermatitis
  • stress and bullying
  • work related upper limb disorders – such as repetitive keyboard use or production line injury
  • miscellaneous cumulative injury – including repetitive lifting/handling resulting in back symptoms.

focus on...

Legal updates

Commercial Court allows reinsurance claim without evidence of policy document

In October 2017 we reported on this matter in which, at that time, the claimants had applied six weeks before trial for a late amendment to their particulars of claim.

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Legal updates

Psychiatric reports - can you challenge the ‘diagnostic’ tests?

How often in psychiatric reports prepared for medico-legal purposes do experts cite the results of ‘diagnostic’ tests including the Impact of Events Scale (IES) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to establish whether or not a claimant is suffering from psychiatric injury?

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Legal updates

Deborah Magill (executor of the estate of Colin Stuart Magill deceased) v Panel Systems (DB Limited) (2017) EWHC (QB)

The case of Magill considered the basis for awards made under the special damages heading of “loss of partner’s care and attention”.

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Legal updates

Material contribution in cases of psychiatric injury

Diane Jennifer Kennedy v London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAS) 2016 QBD - difficulty of raising causation arguments when defending psychiatric injury claims.

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