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Monday, June 03, 2013

Seeking Compensation for Severe Medical Conditions

Most of us now take for granted the fact that the work we do to earn a living is as safe as it possibly can be. Of course, some jobs, such as fire-fighter or police officer, carry an inevitable amount of risk with them, and this is something which the people performing them readily accept and cope with.

However, for the vast majority of people work is something which they should be able to do without suffering illness or injury. It’s easy to forget that this wasn’t always the case. In the first onrush of industrialization factories were dirty, dangerous and squalid places in which to work, the people doing the work tended to be looked upon as being pretty much as dispensable as the machinery they were using, and even seemingly tranquil pursuits such as agriculture have, through the years, frequently proved injurious.

By listening to the popular media and some of our politicians it would be easy to assume that Health and Safety measures are nothing more than meddlesome red tape. Tales of councils banning games of conkers and horror stories about an out of control ‘compensation culture’ can obscure the fact that the correct safety procedures diligently applied do nothing less than keep tens of thousands of people alive on a daily basis.

Despite the measures now in place, however, accidents can sometimes still happen, and if you’re injured or become ill through the negligence of your employer then you have every right to seek compensation from them. Many people hesitate to launch such a claim, fearing the effect it might have on their working life, but the truth is that any reputable employer will have insurance in place to cover such eventualities, meaning that the money paid out won’t be coming from their own funds or from the wage packets of your workmates. Another fear holding people back is that they will be discriminated at work following the claim. This is strictly illegal, however, and any employer mistreating their staff in this manner will find themselves facing punishment far more severe than the original claim.

It’s tempting to assume that most accidents at work involve fairly minor injuries brought about by trips or falls, but the truth is that being hurt at work can be serious and have huge ramifications on the rest of your life. Even a simple fall, for example, if it results in damage to your spine, can have a devastating effect upon your ability to walk and thus pursue a full social and working life. In other cases, machinery might damage a limb so much that it has to be removed and falling stock or debris in a poorly managed warehouse could bring about severe head injuries. Despite the advances recently made, peoples still get killed at work every year, a chilling fact which spells out just how badly things can sometimes go wrong.

It’s not always a dramatic one-off incident which causes the problems either. Many people, when they should be relaxing and enjoying their retirement, find themselves succumbing to devastating illnesses caused as a direct result of the work they did. If your employer didn’t take every step necessary to protect you from the environment in which you worked, or the tasks you carried then it’s possible you might fall victim of one of these more common workplace illnesses:

Pneumoconiosis, Mesothelioma and Asbestosis
Lung conditions commonly manifesting themselves amongst people who have been exposed to asbestos dust

Industrial Deafness
Loss of hearing or tinnitus which develops after working in a noisy environment without sufficient protection.

Vibration White Finger
A painful condition which blights the fingers of those who have worked with vibrating equipment such as drills, again without the requisite protection in place.

RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) 
RSI covers a range of conditions which cause inflammation of the tendons in the arm and it is generally brought on by the multiple repetition of a single individual movement, such as clicking a computer mouse.

Dermatitis
Painful inflammation occurring when the skin is unprotected and exposed to dangerous substances.

Bronchitis and Emphysema
Severe lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust particles and particularly prevalent in mining industries.

Any severe injury at work will have a major effect upon your own life and the lives of your family. It may mean you have to have your home completely modified and could prevent you from earning a living in the future. Recovery may be long and difficult and, even when you’re as well as you’re going to get, you might still be a shadow of the person you once were. These are all the reasons why seeking compensation is not only possible but is in fact the right and proper thing to do. No amount of money can replace good health, but it can make dealing with the consequences of ill health that little bit easier. 

The above entry is a guest blog entry

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