Suffering from skin cancer from UV exposure caused by driving  or working outside for a living? Your employer may need to compensate you.


We all know that we should put on sun cream when we go to the beach or to the pool, but would you think of applying sunscreen before you drive? For most people the answer to that question will probably be ‘no’ but it is a proven fact that skin cancer can be caused by driving in sunlight without UV protection, especially during the height of the summer.


Employers have a responsibility to mitigate and where possible eliminate risks to your health and safety while you are working for them, and this includes protecting you from sun damage where you drive for a living. If your employer fails in their duty towards you, they could be liable to pay you compensation.


Clare Galvani, Personal Injury Specialist with Lamb Brooks LLP in North Hampshire explains more…


“Although most people are aware of the risk of sun damage when driving with the side windows down, many do not realise that sun damage can still occur if all the windows are up’, says Clare. ‘Those particularly at risk of harm are delivery drivers, which is why sun damage caused while driving has been dubbed ‘white van tan’, but it is no laughing matter. The risk of developing skin cancer from driving is very real and presents a major health hazard for people in these occupations”


“Indeed, skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the UK and levels are continuing to rise. According to Cancer Research UK there are around 15,400 new melanoma cases diagnosed in the UK every year. That is 42 every day!”


Employers Have a Duty to Protect Employees


Your employer must be alive to the problem of work-related skin cancer and could be held legally responsible to pay you compensation if they fail to take adequate measures to safeguard your health and safety. This includes:

  • Ensuring you are provided with a safe working environment
  • Carrying out regular risk assessments to maintain your safety and to identify and address any new risks
  • Providing you with any necessary information, instructions, training, equipment or supervision to ensure you remain safe

If your employer fails to do any of these things, and you suffer harm as a result, then a compensation claim may be possible. Of course, the difficulty with something like skin cancer is in proving that it has developed because of your working conditions rather than something else you might have done.


You can claim compensation from your employer if you develop skin cancer and you can prove that:

  • In all probability it has been caused by your working duties or conditions
  • Where you already had a cancerous growth, this has been aggravated by your working duties or conditions
  • Your employer has not taken reasonable precautions to protect you from the risk of sun damage in circumstances where they ought to

When Should You Take Legal Advice?


If you drive for a living and have been diagnosed with skin cancer, then it is always worth consulting a solicitor.


Skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body, but when it affects drivers it most commonly occurs on the face or on your arms and is known to particularly affect the right-hand side of your body because this is the side that is most frequently exposed. In these circumstances, legal advice should always be sought.


You need to act quickly as you only usually have three years from the date on which the injury occurred to make a claim, and with skin cancer it can be difficult to pin-point this date which is why it is always best to err on the side of caution and make a claim as soon as possible.


If you need help with a skin cancer claim, or any other personal injury matter, please contact Clare Galvani on 01256 305564 or email clare.galvani@lambbrooks.com


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.