Introduction to Compensation for Weils Disease
In order to claim compensation for Weils disease at work, it has to be established that the circumstances surrounding how you contracted the disease were avoidable and due to a breach in the duty of care owed to you by somebody who had responsibility for your health and safety. For most employees, this “person of responsibility” will often be your employer, but if you are a contract or agency worker it could be a contractor, gang leader or the proprietor of the land on which you contracted the disease.
In addition to workers being eligible to claim compensation for Weils disease at work, people who contract the illness while participating in leisure activities – such as anglers and rowers – may also be eligible to Weils disease compensation if it can be demonstrated that you were placed at risk of injury by somebody who owed you a duty of care. If in any doubt, you should always speak with a personal injury solicitor, but only after you have prioritised your health.
How Weils Disease is Contracted
Weils disease is an acute form of leptospirosis – a rare bacterial infection which spreads quickly throughout the body after contact with infected animal urine; usually in slow-moving or stagnant contaminated water where rodents and agriculture mix. If you are making a claim for compensation for Weils disease at work, it is likely that you work with animals close to ponds, ditches or canals, but you could also work in a waste disposal facility, an abattoir, in sewer maintenance or as a vet.
The infection usually develops after contaminated water enters the body through cuts or scrapes on the hands, or splashes into the mouth, nose or ears. Symptoms of Weils disease typically manifest between three days and three weeks after contact with contaminated water and consist of muscle pains, severe headaches, high temperatures, red eyes, nausea, skin rashes and sometimes hallucinations.
Within ten days of the symptoms appearing, significant organ damage can be sustained by the liver and kidney, which lead to jaundice and – in the most severe cases – haemorrhaging from the mouth and eyes. Long term hospitalisation is required in order to recover from the infection – a significant factor when making a Weils disease injury claim for compensation.
Establishing Negligence for Weils Disease Compensation
The Health and Safety Executive publishes a document (INDG84) which advises employers on the risks of Weils disease and how it can be prevented. In addition to performing a risk assessment before a task which may carry a risk of injury is assigned, employers should train staff to be aware of the hazards associated with Weils disease and provide protective clothing in order to reduce the risk of an employee contracting the infection.
Employers should also take steps to get rid of rats from their property, consult with a vet about any cattle infection that may occur and provide adequate facilities to enable those who may have been in contact with potentially contaminated water to wash thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking. If an employee sustains any cut or graze to the skin, First Aid facilities should also be available to dress any wound – no matter how slight – with waterproof plasters.
Should you contract Weils disease, and your employer has not conformed to all the health and safety guidelines, he is likely to be liable for your injury and against whom a claim for compensation for Weils disease at work should be made. Again, if you are unsure of your eligibility to claim compensation for Weils disease at work, you should speak with a personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
Supporting a Claim for Weils Disease Compensation
There are a number of ways in which you can support a claim for Weils disease compensation – the first of which is to make a report in your employer´s “Accident Report Book” if your health allows. Your employer will then be legally obliged to report it to the Health and Safety Executive which should prompt the Executive to launch an investigation into the source of your illness.
The Accident Report Book will cast light on whether an infection has been previously recorded on the property, and a solicitor compiling a Weils disease injury claim for compensation would also liaise with vets who have treated animals on the property and environmental inspectors. As the animals carrying the bacterial infection could also have created a problem on neighbouring property, an investigation into the source of a Weils disease injury would look beyond the area in which the infection was contracted.
You should not wait until a Health and Safety Executive investigation has established negligence before contacting a personal injury solicitor, for although you have three years from the date you were diagnosed with the illness in which to make a Weils disease injury claim, if the negligent party claims that you contributed to your condition by your own negligence or disputes liability for your injury, your claim for Weils disease compensation could become complicated and take much longer to resolve.
How Much Compensation for Weils Disease?
Once liability has been established, your solicitor should calculate how much compensation for Weils disease injury you are entitled to based on the extent of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to contracting the Weils infection. Depending on the level of damage caused to your internal organs, this part of the claims process may take a little time if there is any doubt about you making a full recovery.
How your injury has affected your quality of life will also be taken into account in a claim for compensation for Weils disease at work. If you are unable to complete day-to-day activities without assistance, participate in social and leisure pursuits which would have formed part of your life prior to contracting the infection or have suffered any quantifiable emotional injury which is directly attributable to your injury, these factors will be included in your claim for Weils disease injury compensation.
As mentioned above, your inability to work during a protracted recovery period can be a significant factor when making a Weils disease injury claim for compensation. Your solicitor should address any financial costs you have incurred or may experience in the future – including loss of earnings – in order that you are no worse off financially than if you had never contracted the infection.
Weils Disease Compensation and Insurance Company Approaches
Due to the serious nature of a Weils disease infection, it is highly possible that you will be approached directly by your employer´s insurers or an insurance company representing the person who was responsible for your health and safety at the time you contracted the illness. These approaches sometimes occur before you have even considered claiming compensation for Weils disease at work and, although an admission of liability for your injury, should be treated with caution.
Offers of compensation for Weils disease injury from an insurance company are frequently compiled without the same attention to detail as might be used by a solicitor acting on your behalf, and by accepting an offer of early settlement for your Weils disease injury claim, you run the risk of being under-compensated and unable to pay for medical care and support your family.
Should short-term finances become a problem for you while you wait for a Weils disease at work compensation claim to be resolved, you should speak with your solicitor about applying for interim payments of Weils disease injury compensation. Provided that there is no dispute over liability for your injury, your solicitor will be able to apply for funds from the insurance company until such time as a final agreement is negotiated about how much compensation for Weils disease at work you should receive.
Summary of Compensation for Weils Disease at Work
No two claims for Weils disease compensation are identical – even when the symptoms experienced are the same. For this reason, it is always in your best interests to discuss your claim for compensation for Weils disease with an experienced personal injury solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.
At a time when you may be seriously ill, and in no condition to deal with liability issues, accident reports, health and safety inspections and the approaches of an insurance company, it will be beneficial to have somebody on your side who has experience of making personal injury claims and who will ensure you receive your full entitlement to compensation for Weils disease at work.