Investigating disease claims
Investigating disease claims

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Investigating disease claims
  • Client’s instructions
  • Obtaining occupational health records
  • Obtaining medical records
  • Witnesses
  • Documents
  • Limitation issues
  • Computation of the limitation period (section 11(4))
  • Knowledge of what? (section 14(1))
  • ‘Significant’ (section 14(2))
  • More...

Client’s instructions

As with any personal injury claim the client’s instructions will be crucial. If they have remained resident in the area where the factory was/is situated they may be able to provide important information. In any event, instructions should be sought on:

  1. employments where exposure occurred

  2. reliable work histories provide the most practical and useful measure of occupational asbestos exposure

  3. how the exposure occurred—source

  4. warnings and preventive measures

  5. factory surveys (for instance of dust levels or noise levels)

  6. health tests (for instance lung function tests or audiograms)

  7. witnesses—fellow former employees (and detail of similar or related illness suffered by them)

  8. information going to limitation (see below)

Obtaining occupational health records

Pursuant to paragraph 4.1 of the Pre-Action Protocol for Disease and Illness Claims a potential claimant may in appropriate cases request occupational Records including health records and personnel records before sending a letter of claim.

The prospective defendant should provide the records within 40 days of receiving the request (paragraph 4.3).

Obtaining medical records

At an early stage, the claimant practitioner should obtain medical records which may provide important information, whether recent or historical:

  1. reports or letters regarding old occupational health checks

  2. records of other tests

  3. dates of first consultations/tests in relation to the illness which is the subject of the claim

Witnesses

In cases of long latency there may be difficulty in tracking down witnesses.

However, as above the claimant

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