Anybody suffering from occupational asthma may not be able to join in with their usual hobbies and activities and carry out their usual daily tasks, or they may not be able to fully participate in family outings. Also. they may not be able to work which in turn will have a negative impact on their finances.
Importantly, employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees from harm whilst at work by providing a safe working environment. If your employer has breached their duty of care, and you have developed occupational asthma because of their negligence, you may be eligible to make an occupational asthma claim for compensation.
Please carry on reading to find out more about claiming compensation for occupational asthma or call our team on 0800 6524 881 to talk with a specialist today.
Table of contents
- What Is Occupational Asthma?
- Am I Eligible To Make An Occupational Asthma Compensation Claim?
- Which Occupations Are Most At Risk Of Occupational Asthma?
- What Types Of Negligence Can Lead To Occupational Asthma Claims?
- How Much Compensation For Occupational Asthma Could I Claim?
- What Evidence Could I Use To Support An Occupational Asthma Claim?
- What’s The Time Limit For Claiming Compensation?
- Starting The Occupational Asthma Claims Process
Asthma is a chronic lung condition caused by the narrowing of the bronchial passage. Difficulty breathing is the predominant symptom of this condition. Asthma may be triggered by exposure to dust, pollen or other airborne substances just about anywhere, but when the exposure occurs in a working environment, it is called occupational asthma.
Identifying and then avoiding the substances causing the condition is important. This will then help with managing the condition and preventing further damage to the lungs.
To be eligible to make an occupational asthma compensation claim, a personal injury solicitor will generally first need to verify the following:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care; and
- They breached their duty of care due to negligence; and
- Their negligence caused you to develop occupational asthma.
If you get in touch with our claims advisors they’ll check these points for you. If they believe an occupational asthma claim is viable, a personal injury solicitor from our team may offer to take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
While you could theoretically develop occupational asthma while working in a range of industries, the risk is highest in certain workplaces. Workers employed in manufacturing industries, particularly those associated with motor vehicles, metals, spray painting, and toxic chemical substances, could be at high risk for developing the symptoms of asthma.
Other high-risk industries include:
- Beauty salons.
If you’ve developed occupational asthma and believe your employer is responsible, please contact our advisors for free advice on your options.
Occupational asthma symptoms are similar to those of other types of asthma, including:
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest tightness.
- Stuffy or runny nose.
- Eye irritation.
Symptoms of occupational asthma can sometimes develop instantly after exposure to a triggering substance, but sometimes the symptoms may take several hours until they appear. Some people find that their symptoms worsen whilst at work, but once they have left the workplace, their symptoms start to improve.
It’s imperative that you seek medical attention if you are suffering any of these symptoms, as occupational asthma can be serious and if left untreated, potentially life-threatening.
There are several legal Acts that have been passed over the years to ensure that workers’ rights are protected and if these have been ignored or abused leading to your illness it’s highly likely you would be eligible to make an occupational asthma compensation claim.
According to Health and Safety and Work etc Act 1974, employers have a legal responsibility to carry out a risk assessment of the workplace and put reasonable measures in place to ensure that their staff are protected from potential hazards.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 or COSHH, employers have a legal responsibility to minimise exposure to toxic chemicals, allergens, and other hazardous substances, where their removal or substitution is not possible.
Some measures that employers are expected to put in place to minimise exposure may include:
- Installing adequate air filtration systems in high-exposure spaces.
- Providing industry-standard personal protective equipment such as face masks and breathing equipment to all employees working in or around high-risk environments.
- Ensuring all staff receive adequate training on the risks involved and how to protect themselves.
- Review risks regularly and update safety measures and procedures as necessary;
- Inspect all safety equipment regularly and carry out required maintenance;
- Place clearly visible hazard warnings with instructions on what to do in case of any accidental exposure.
If an employer fails to carry out the mandated safety procedures, and a worker develops occupational asthma as a result of this negligence, the employer may be held liable to pay compensation.
The amount of compensation for occupational asthma you might be entitled to will generally be made up of two types of damages. These are general and special damages.
General damages refer to the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity caused by having the condition, the treatment required and the future outlook. Whereas special damages refer to any expenses or financial losses incurred due to suffering from occupational asthma. These might include:
- Medical, travel and care costs.
- Earnings you’ve lost already and potential future losses.
- Home and/or vehicle modifications.
If you are unsure of what you may, or may not, be able to claim for occupational asthma, please speak with one of our personal injury solicitors for further advice.
The Judicial College sets out guidelines (for general damages) when it comes to calculating compensation amounts for various injuries and illnesses, including occupational asthma.
Compensation levels for asthma are currently advised as follows:
- £43,060 – £65,740 compensation for severe asthma that is permanently disabling.
- £26,290 – £43,010 for chronic asthma which has caused difficulty in breathing.
- £19,200 – £26,290 for bronchitis and wheezing that has affected working and/or social life.
- £10,640 – £19,200 for asthma symptoms that are relatively mild.
- Up to £5,150 compensation for mild asthma.
Please be advised that these are simply advisory compensation amounts for occupational asthma and do not take into account special damages.
For the best chance of a successful claim and receiving a fair settlement for occupational asthma, you’ll generally need to gather sufficient evidence to support your claim and show proof of your allegations. Without strong evidence, you may not receive as much compensation or may receive nothing at all.
The types of evidence that will help support an occupational asthma claim might include:
- Medical evidence. This may include a copy of the medical report of your diagnosis and notes from your GP.
- Accident report forms. If your occupational asthma was brought on suddenly, you will have had to report it in the work’s accident book. Ask for a copy of the entry.
- Videos and photos. Any video footage or photos of your working environment could help show what type of conditions you were working in and what types of substances you were being exposed to.
- Witness contact details. Keep hold of any witnesses’ details such as work colleagues so that they may be asked for a statement later on if required.
- Your own personal statement. Write an account of your suffering from asthma and the effects it has had on your life.
- Financial records and receipts. These will be able to back up your claim for any financial expenses and losses that you have incurred due to occupational asthma.
If you contact one of our solicitors, they may be able to assist you with gathering sufficient evidence to support your claim.
In accordance with the Limitation Act 1980, the time limit for filing an occupational asthma compensation claim is 3 years and would generally start from when the condition was diagnosed by a medical professional. However, there are some exceptions so we’d advise speaking to a personal injury solicitor on our team to double-check this for you.
Claiming occupational asthma compensation can be a complex process and could potentially take anything from a few months to well over a year to conclude. With that in mind, we always recommend starting your claim as soon as possible to give ample time to build a strong case.
Our solicitors can help you through the claims process in a timely manner to ensure everything has been covered and documented in your claim.
If you would like help and support to pursue your claim against your employer for occupational asthma compensation, please contact our advisors today. One of our advisors will be able to discuss the details of your case with you during a free consultation to determine if you have a viable claim. If they believe you have a good chance of success, they could then connect you to one of our experienced personal injury solicitors who may then offer to take on your claim.
Our solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service and so do not ask for any payments upfront, therefore not leaving you out of pocket. They will do their absolute best to try and secure the maximum compensation available to you.
Please contact us on 0800 6524 881 for more information on how we can help you with the process of making an occupational asthma claim.