I want to make a claim for Weil’s disease at work. Can you tell me if it is possible to make a claim, and what I must do in order to get compensation?
If you work with or around animals there is a risk of contracting Weil’s disease (also known as leptospirosis), although for you to be entitled to make a claim for Weil’s disease at work you must have contracted leptospirosis because of negligence by your employer.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection contracted from coming into contact with soil or water that has been contaminated with urine from animals carrying Leptospira bacteria. Animals known to carriers of the causative bacteria include livestock – in particular cows and pigs – but also rats and mice, dogs, hedgehogs and a host of other mammals.
If you work on a farm or in an abattoir, or if your line of work requires you to come into contact with soil or freshwater, there is a chance that the disease is work related. If you want to make a leptospirosis compensation claim against your employer, it is your responsibility – with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor – to establish the link between the disease and your place of work.
Although the risk of contracting Weil’s disease is relatively low, employers must supply workers with appropriate protective clothing such as waterproof boots, gloves and overalls to limit contact with potentially contaminated water and soil and animal urine. Most claims for compensation for leptospirosis in Ireland are made when workers have come into contact with contaminated water or soil due to employers failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), although it may be possible to claim compensation for contracting Weil’s disease at work if an employer did not inform you of the risks of contracting the disease.
A claim for Weil’s disease at work must be supported with evidence of employer negligence, which usually comes from statements taken co-workers as to the working conditions and the PPE provided to the staff. If PPE equipment was provided, the staff should have been informed of the importance of wearing it to protect against the disease.
Since collecting evidence of employer negligence can be complicated, it is strongly advisable that you seek legal assistance with the preparation of your claim for compensation for leptospirosis from a personal injury solicitor. A solicitor will advise you if it is possible to claim compensation for contracting Weil’s disease at work under the circumstances and, if so, statements will be taken from work colleagues and other evidence and documentation collected to support your case.
A solicitor will also assess any PPE provided to you to determine if it was of an acceptable standard and if it was properly maintained. A personal injury claim may be possible if you were supplied with poor quality PPE that did not provide a suitable degree of protection.