If your asthma symptoms are due to exposure to chemicals or allergens in your workplace, you may be legally entitled to file an occupational asthma compensation claim. This is regardless of whether your breathing difficulties started immediately after the exposure or several months after the accident.
What Is Occupational Asthma
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.
If you’re not sure whether you are eligible to file an occupational asthma claim you should contact a personal injury solicitor to get expert advice on your legal rights and the best way to file a claim for compensation.
Workers At High Risk Of Occupational Asthma Claims
While you could develop occupational asthma while working in a range of industries, the risk is highest in certain workplaces. Workers employed in the 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 this condition.
Other high-risk industries include:
- Beauty salons;
- Working with animals;
Symptoms Of Occupational Asthma
There are two forms of occupational asthma, these are known as irritant-induced occupational asthma and allergic occupational asthma.
Irritant-induced occupational asthma is usually caused by accidental exposure such as spillage of some chemical substance, while allergic occupational asthma is usually caused by an allergic reaction to a substance in your works environment.
The symptoms in both cases are the same and may include shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the chest, or wheezing.
Can You Make An Occupational Asthma Compensation Claim?
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 and abused leading to your illness it’s highly likely you would be entitled 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 leading to occupational asthma claims 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 gets occupational asthma as a result of this negligence, the employer may be held liable to pay compensation.
What You Need To Make A Successful Occupational Asthma Claim
The most important thing that you need to file a successful occupational asthma claim for compensation is a medical report stating that your symptoms were caused by exposure to toxic substances at work. You may be able to file a claim even if you are an asthma sufferer and the working conditions exacerbated your symptoms, provided that you can produce evidence to this effect.
You will need to submit strong evidence demonstrating how your employer breached their duty of care. Did the exposure occur because you were not provided with proper personal protective equipment or was it because of inadequate training or faulty equipment? Whatever the reason, the onus is on you to prove the circumstances, which a solicitor can help with.
How Much Compensation For Occupational Asthma?
The court takes several different factors into consideration when awarding compensation for any type of no-fault injuries. In the case of occupational asthma, the compensation you can expect will depend largely on how severe your asthma is determined to be and how much pain and suffering it has caused and may cause in the future. The Judicial College sets out guidelines when it comes to calculating compensation amounts for various injuries and illnesses, including occupation asthma.
Compensation levels for asthma are currently advised as follows:
- Severe asthma that is permanently disabling £40,410 – £61,710;
- Chronic asthma which has caused difficulty in breathing, £24,680 – £40,370;
- Bronchitis and wheezing that has affected working and/ or social life, £18,020 – £24,680;
- Asthma symptoms that are relatively mild, £9,990 – £18,020;
- Compensation for mild asthma, up to £4,830.
As these compensation figures relate to general damages you may also need to claim for special damages which can increase a compensation payout, in which case we would advise contacting us. This way you can speak with a solicitor who can take down every detail and provide a more accurate evaluation on what compensation award for occupational asthma you might actually be able to claim for.
No Win No Fee Occupational Asthma Claims
It is always best to get advice from a solicitor/ lawyer when pursuing any personal injury claim on a No Win No Fee basis. Personal injury solicitors that specialise in industrial diseases and accidents at work should have plenty of experience helping clients win compensation that is due to them after any type of no-fault accident. Having the expertise of one of our experienced personal injury solicitors handling your claim significantly increases not just your chances of winning the claim but also of being awarded the maximum compensation due to you.
Most solicitors offer a free, no-obligation first consultation on an occupational asthma claim, which is a great opportunity for you to get professional legal advice without having to pay any fee straight off. After the solicitor has discussed your situation and what has happened, they will weigh the merits of your case to determine whether or not your claim is likely to succeed.
If the solicitor concludes you do not have sufficient proof or your case is otherwise weak, they may advise you against proceeding any further with your claim. On the other hand, if you have a strong case, the solicitor will do more than just advise you to go ahead with your claim. In most circumstances they will also offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This essentially means that you are never out of pocket at any time while your occupational asthma compensation claim is in progress. You are also not liable to pay anything if you lose your claim. You are only under obligation to pay if your claim is successful.
If you would like to speak with a solicitor about an occupational asthma compensation claim please do get in touch with us today.