Even if you no longer work for a particular employer you may still be able to claim compensation from them for a work related accident or illness. Maybe you have moved on, maybe your employer has gone out of business or perhaps your injuries might be such that you are now unable to work for them.
The implications of an accident or illness can affect people in a variety of ways. Maybe you have had to take time off work and have lost money as a result. Your injury or illness may mean that you are unable to perform your job as well as before your accident. This could affect your potential earnings. Perhaps you now have added expenses as a consequence. Are you suffering pain and a diminished quality of life?
Don’t leave it too long to make a claim!
In normal circumstances you have three years from the date of first becoming aware of an injury or from when a disease was contracted as a result of your employment to make a claim. The rules are normally very strictly applied. Even if your case is rock solid, if you wait more than three years to make a claim the chances are that you won’t be allowed to proceed with it. The sooner you can get things moving the better, for a variety of reasons. Memories will be fresher, documentation more accessible and the chances of your employer still being around are stronger. Even if your employer has gone out of business, it is still possible to track down their insurance company and pursue your compensation claim with them.
Though the three year claim cut off is usually strictly enforced there are exceptions and it’s definitely worth taking the advice of a specialist work injury solicitor to assess your chances of success. A minor, for example, has three years from the age of 18 to make a claim even though the illness or accident may have occurred years ago.
What if you feel that an illness you are now suffering was caused a long time in the past? Was your accident or illness caused much longer than three years ago? What if, through not fault of your own, you have been made to suffer years later for working in an unhealthy environment, without adequate protective equipment or training? Maybe you had to deal with dangerous substances or machinery that caused long term health problems not identifiable at the time.
If you find yourself with an injury caused in the past, an industrial disease for example such as an asbestos related illness, dermatitis, occupational asthma, silicosis, repetitive strain injury, emphysema, or respiratory disease such as mesothelioma, the symptoms may not become obvious until decades after exposure. In such cases it’s not a case of when the disease was caused, it’s a case of when you first knew or ought to have known of the existence of your condition. That’s when the three year clock starts ticking.
Whether it was one week ago, one year ago or 30 years ago every employer has an important range of responsibilities when it comes to the safety and protection of their staff. They have and had in the past a duty of care towards their employees. If you feel that you weren’t adequately protected then seek specialist legal advice. If the evidence suggests that you were let down by your employer and your health was not protected as it should have been then you may be entitled to compensation for the suffering caused.