THOUSANDS of people affected after buying “toxic sofas” are being urged not to miss a deadline for compensation.
More than 4,000 people from across England and Scotland – including several in Huddersfield – complained of skin irritations and respiratory problems suffered after buying sofas contaminated with the banned substance dimethyl fumerate (DMF) from Argos, Walmsleys and Land of Leather.
The anti-mould fungicide is alleged to have been in sachets stapled inside a range of furniture.
In April this year, the High Court instructed retailers to pay compensation to 2,500 customers in cases where liability was admitted and the injuries suffered were of a less severe nature.
Now Debra Allen, of Barnsley-based Raleys Solicitors, is urging those customers to check with their solicitors that their claims are in order to ensure they receive their payment.
Representing clients in Huddersfield, the West Midlands, Essex and Scotland, she said: “The High Court ruled that retailers should pay out to those claimants where liability was admitted and where symptoms were ‘non-severe’ in order to ensure they received their compensation promptly. This ruling affects approximately 2,500 people.
“They now need to make sure that their solicitor has completed, or is on with completing, a case settlement pack which has to be submitted to the defendant’s legal team by September 30.
This document includes a brief medical report and details of expenses incurred as a result of the injuries they suffered.
“Those affected should already have been contacted by their solicitor about this. If they haven’t then they need to raise it with them.”
The case is thought to be the largest consumer group litigation in UK legal history.
Legal proceedings are still ongoing for more than 2,000 cases in which liability remains disputed.
Debra Allen added: “People have suffered painful rashes, blisters, weeping sores and even chronic respiratory complaints as a result of coming into contact with this substance.
“Some people needed hospital treatment while others have been left with more serious, long-term health problems.
“None of the stories are pleasant and these people are entitled to justice and compensation for the discomfort and distress they have endured.
“Those who are still going through the legal wrangling should not give up their fight.”
The EU has now banned the use of DMF after consumers in at least five European countries suffered skin burns and breathing problems due to the chemical.