Exposure to Hazardous Substances

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When death is caused by exposure to a hazardous substance

Most people who die following exposure to a hazardous substance or chemical, were exposed to that substance at work. Asbestos is the classic example of this, with thousands of workers developing and dying from diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis many years after they were originally exposed.

There are many ways that hazardous substances can cause harm – for example, through dermal absorption (skin contact), ingestion (swallowing) or inhalation. Some common examples of hazardous substances include the following:

  • Corrosives: such as sulphuric acid, nitric acid, chromic acid, acetic acid and hydrofluoric acid.
  • Toxins: such as cyanide, silica and acetone.
  • Irritants: such as ammonia, solvents or mercury.
  • Carcinogens: such as benzene or asbestos.

Hazardous substances in the workplace

Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees. This is enshrined in numerous legal instruments, most notably within the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).

If your employer has failed to uphold their obligations in this regard and you have suffered ill health or injury as a consequence, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Talk to Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland today for more information.

Domestic and non-workplace exposure

Fatal accidents as a result of exposure to something hazardous can also occur at home and while out and about. Examples include:

  • The accidental release of a poisonous substance from a factory, or as a result of a road accident
  • Breathing in droplets of air from water supply and air conditioning systems that are infected with Legionnaires disease
  • Being exposed to germs such as MRSA while a patient in hospital

Seeking legal advice

If you have lost a loved one as a result of their exposure to a hazardous substance, you may have a claim for compensation.  

However is a very complicated area, as a great deal of time may elapse between exposure and illness, or it may be hard to prove that the death was directly related to the exposure. In most cases, a compensation claim must be made within three years of the date of exposure or three years from the date on which the symptoms associated with the exposure were first diagnosed.

Serious and fatal injury claims specialists

Thompsons' injury solicitors are experts in advising and representing claimants in relation to serious and fatal accident claims. We have specialist teams of solicitors, solicitor advocates and other professionals who deal solely with claims relating to fatal injuries and exposure to substances such as asbestos, Hepatitis C and C Difficile.

We have been involved in many leading cases on asbestos-related diseases and campaign vigorously for the rights of people who are suffering from or have lost loved ones to diseases such as mesothelioma, MRSA and Hep –C. You can find more on our involvement in these issues in the campaigns section of this website.

But we also understand the overwhelming financial and emotional impact that losing someone can have on those left behind. Our solicitors are sympathetic and understanding, and will fight to obtain the maximum compensation for you, in the quickest time possible. Whenever appropriate, we also seek to ensure interim payments to meet your most pressing financial needs.

If you have lost someone in a fatal accident, even if you are unsure whether you would be able to claim, contact our No Win No Fee lawyers today on 0800 0891 331. 

For expert legal advice and support, Talk to Thompsons.

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