Compensation claims for poisoning
The word ‘poisoning’ is often thought of as a deliberate act to harm an animal or person. However it may be surprising to know that poisoning is often non-intentional, in fact this is the case in the majority of such situations. Whilst the poisoning may not be intentional, it may be that it did result due to the fault or negligence of an individual or company. Poisoning affects old and young alike. For example in 2002, it was recorded that 25,000 children under the age of five attended A&E as a result of poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning alone kills around 50 people each year and affects many more. Alarmingly, in the UK, nearly 3000 deaths were officially attributed to poisoning solely from legal and illegal drugs in 2013.
Types of poisoning
Poisoning can arise from many sources, some of which are well known and some of which may be more surprising:
- Food – this could be due to harmful bacteria or the food itself (e.g. certain type of mushrooms)
- Poisonous substances including chemicals / pesticides
- Cosmetics, vitamins, craft supplies, plants, cleaning products (these can poison young children)
How can I prove I have been poisoned?
In short, it depends. For situations of food poisoning you suspect was caused by a food retailer, you must act quickly, generally within three weeks of being poisoned. We would recommend obtaining a note from your General Practitioner which confirms a suspected case of food poisoning and when this was observed. In the case of chemical poisoning, it will be important to prove that you were actually exposed to a poisonous substance and that the person or company concerned failed to protect you from that exposure. Keeping medical notes, photographs, any proof of exposure, receipts and as many details and facts as possible will be crucial in making a case for compensation. Our lawyers understand what will be needed to help maximise the likelihood of a successful claim and will advise you accordingly.
Can I claim for compensation if I have been poisoned?
There are number of laws that cover poisoning. In the very common scenario of food poisoning, it is the Consumer Protection Act 1987 that protects the consumer. This law states that the food they sell must be free from harmful bacteria, which could lead food poisoning. Not only can the restaurant be sued, but also the producer and importer to the EU too.
In the case of exposure to toxins in a work setting, there are other legal mechanisms that strictly enforce safety including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002). This covers many industries, all of which utilise chemicals, including farming, hairdressing, cleaning, printing and even oil rigs. In all such cases it is imperative that you act quickly as time limits may apply to the type of claim you are requesting.
Another very common example of poisoning is from carbon monoxide. This can result from faulty appliances or heating systems. If the poisoning is acute, it can have extremely harmful consequences even fatal. If a private landlord or the local Council has the responsibility of maintaining the appliance producing the gas, then you are well within your rights to seek compensation if you have been exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Our lawyers have considerable experience of dealing with claims for a wide range of cases of poisoning and will provide you with clear, concise guidance through each step of you claim from your initial enquiry to final decision.
What happens next?
If you believe you have been poisoned and wish to inquire as to whether you are entitled to receive compensation, call our offices on 0800 221 8888 to speak to one of our friendly staff. We will evaluate your case and let you know quickly whether it is worth pursuing a claim. Alternatively, you can request a call back through our contact form and we be in touch in the manner in which you have requested.