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Claiming compensation for occupational cancers

At the start of our working lives, we all choose occupations and careers for different reasons: to become independent, to make a positive contribution, or to support ourselves and our families. Unfortunately, for a few of us, our occupations may lead us to eventually developing occupational cancers.

For example, there have been 3000 cases of cancer among firefighters, police officers and contractors who worked at Ground Zero and those who worked at or lived near Ground Zero, the site of the September 11 terror attacks in 2001. Many of these workers breathed in the dust of pulverised buildings for several weeks or months. These workers inhaled dust containing many different chemicals, they ate meals at the site surrounded in dust, and often they did not wear masks. A number of these workers have gone on to develop a rare form of cancer called oropharyngeal cancer and are currently struggling to get insurance coverage for their medical treatment.

Without a dramatic environmental event, such as the exposure to toxic dust created by the terrorist destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, what are the most common forms of occupational cancer and what are the most common reasons for it?

What is occupational cancer?

While cancer can be caused by many factors including genetic factors and lifestyle risk factors, occupational exposure to known and probable carcinogens results in one in 20 cancer deaths in Great Britain.

Causes of occupational cancer

Occupational cancer can be caused by exposure to certain carcinogenic agents, mixtures, and exposure situations:

  • Dusts (including asbestos and silica);
  • Chemicals and chemical compounds (including benzene, cadium and nickel compounds);
  • Radiation; (including sunlight and ionizing radiation) and
  • Industrial processes (including aluminium production, coal production, iron and steel founding, rubber manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, and mining)

Asbestos exposure

The most common type of occupational cancer results from past asbestos exposure. This can result in asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The construction industry has the highest number of occupational cancer cases, often resulting from working on buildings containing asbestos.

Cancer caused by asbestos exposure can take many years to develop. For example, mesothelioma cancer, an aggressive disease caused by asbestos, can take between 40 to 60 years to develop after the initial exposure. Due to the length of time involved, it can be difficult to pursue a claim against the employers who negligently exposed workers to asbestos.

From April 2014, there is now a new option for families of victims of mesothelioma cancer who are unable to trace a liable employer; families will be able to apply for compensation, worth on average £123,000 under the Mesothelioma Act 2014. If you fall into this category, please contact one of our professional team who can advise you on your options, or you can find out more information here.

Seeking compensation

Employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace for their workers. Employers who negligently expose workers to cancer causing substances and environments are responsible for this harm. If you are suffering from the effects of occupational cancer, make sure to seek the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone in your family is suffering from occupational cancer, you will have many serious medical and personal issues resulting from the cancer. Injury Lawyers 4U can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve. Then you and your family can focus on medical treatment and what is best for you and your family.

Injury Lawyers 4U are ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors, so generally, if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t need to pay anything. If you have occupational cancer, just fill in this short contact form and we will contact you straight back.

Our professional team of lawyers specialise in claims resulting from occupational cancer and we can help you navigate this difficult time by advising you in an empathetic, professional manner.