What are industrial injuries?
Industrial injuries are injuries, diseases or conditions that a worker sustained or contracted in the course of performing their work. They are often the direct result of negligence, or breaches of health and safety legislation on the part of employers – in which case a claim can be made for personal injury compensation.
What are the categories of industrial injury?
Industrial injuries fall under two main headings:
1. Work-related diseases and conditions: these include diseases the worker contracted as a result of their work, such as breathing problems caused by chemicals; cancer caused by their working environment; and asbestosis. It also includes, for instance, deafness caused by continual use of machinery
2. Work-related accidents: these include accidents that occurred as a result of defective machinery; through lack of training on machinery or vehicles; falls from heights; scalds; and so on
Industrial injuries cover a vast range of injuries, diseases and conditions. If you have suffered an injury or illness as result of your work, seek expert legal advice to find out if your employer could be held liable, and to determine what benefits you may be entitled to.
There is a wide variety of workplace injuries or conditions that mean a victim is potentially eligible for benefits, depending on their individual circumstances. The main benefit available is Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
What is Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
IIDB is available for individuals who:
- Are disabled as a result of a workplace accident
- Suffer a disease or deafness caused by the workplace or in the course of their work
The amount you are entitled to depends on the seriousness of your disability or condition. However, do note that if you are awarded damages for loss of earnings as a result of your injury/condition, any benefit you received prior would be have to be repaid.
Who is eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
You can claim IIDB if:
- you were employed at the time of the accident or incident, or
- you were on an approved employment training scheme or course when the accident or event happened, and
- the accident which led to the illness and disability happened in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland or
- in the case of a disease, you were employed and discharging your job-related duties which caused your disease
What diseases are eligible under the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
The Government is keen to protect the well-being of workers in their workplaces, and there is an extensive list of more than 70 diseases for which IIDB is available, including:
- Diseases caused by asbestos exposure
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Cirrhosis of the Liver
- Primary carcinoma of the lung
- Primary carcinoma of the nasopharynx
Who is excluded from IIDB?
If you were self-employed at the time of the accident, then you are not eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
How much can I receive?
The amount of benefits you could receive depends on two main factors: your age at the time of the injury; and the extent of your injuries, condition or disease. The severity of your injury would be a major factor in determining the appropriate amount of benefit. You will be subject to an assessment by an accredited doctor, and the severity of your injury/condition will be rated on a scale from 1 to 100%.
Normally, you must be assessed as at least 14% disabled to get the benefit. The current weekly rates range from 20% disability at £33.60 to 100% at £168.
Will IIDB affect my other benefits?
You can still receive IIDB if you’re claiming contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance Incapacity Benefit; contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and State Pension.
However, benefits received specifically in relation to industrial injuries may affect other benefits which you and your partner are receiving. If, for instance, you have a low income and you are receiving income support and other types of support, these may be impacted by IIDB.
We strongly advise you to take specialist advice on how IIDB may affect any other state benefits you are currently receiving, or are considering applying for.
What other benefits may be received due to industrial accidents or diseases?
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be entitled to one or more of the following benefits:
Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) which can be claimed for diseases which started before 1 October 1990 and which resulted in a 100% disability rating which necessitates constant attention and care every day.
Pneumoconiosis. Under the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979, certain dust related ailments contracted may be eligible for payment. You must already be receiving IIDB for at least one of the listed diseases.
Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (currently £67.20) can be claimed (in addition to CAA) if your disability is of such severity that you are in need of intermediate or exceptional constant care which necessitates a permanent care giving arrangement.
Reduced Earnings Allowance (REA) is available if you can’t do your usual job or other work with similar pay because of an accident or disease caused by work; and you have a disability or injury which began before 1 October 1990.
When do I claim for benefits?
It is highly recommended that you apply for IIBD as soon as possible after an industrial accident – whether there is an apparent injury or not, or on whether the injury appears mild.
Sometimes, injuries have been known to manifest themselves at a later date – but if no claim was filed then the worker will be ineligible to claim for benefits. In addition, any potential personal injury compensation claim can take years to settle, or to reach a final court hearing if a settlement is not reached.
How do I claim for benefits?
It is easy to complete a claim form for IIDB either by post, or using an online form. The Government has provided a wealth of information on the Department of Work and Pensions that may be useful.
In most cases, benefits are normally deposited directly to your bank account. It may also be paid to your Post office or a National Savings Account. For workers who are blind or otherwise unable to move unaided, arrangements can be made to allow another person to claim the benefits on your behalf.
Can I claim compensation for my accident or illness
If your employer or a work colleague was at fault for your accident or illness, then you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. All workplaces are required by law to have liability insurance for such situations, so any money you claim will be covered by the insurance company rather than directly from your employer. It is recommended to contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible – most will provide a free initial consultation to establish whether or not you are eligible and how much compensation you are likely to receive in the event of a successful work injury claim.