There is always a challenge when deciding whether a personal injury claim can be considered through the legal system for compensation, and a recent Supreme Court hearing looked at this question.
Employees in a factory over time had become sensitised to the platinum salts which they had been exposed to in the course of their work. This is not normally a problem as there are no related health issues directly attributable to the exposure, however extended and repeated exposure to the substance does cause health issues such as asthma, rashes or other problems to occur.
Once the employers were aware of the problems they proactively sought to take the workers away from the situation, however the workers were not entirely happy as the alternative work was lower paid, they could potentially also have lost their jobs, and therefore felt they had lost out. The High Court ruling which was later supported by the Court of Appeal was that there was no injury to claim for the loss of earnings and it was not an appropriate claim.
The Supreme Court who heard the workers Appeal decided though that if an injury such as sensitisation occurs, and due to the employees health or capability they are placed in lower paid jobs then they do have the correct grounds for a claim.
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