Some of the symptoms caused by work-related respiratory conditions can be debilitating and life-changing. In the very worst cases, some lung diseases can be irreversible and shorten your life expectancy. For that reason, employers have a duty of care to make changes in the workplace to try and prevent you from becoming ill. Failure to do so could lead to an occupational respiratory disease claim for compensation.
To help you understand your options, we provide a no-obligation initial consultation about your claim. We’ll try to answer any questions you have and your advisor will offer free advice on what you might want to do next. If we believe you should be compensated for a workplace respiratory disease and one of our personal injury solicitors agrees, you’ll be represented on a No Win No Fee basis. That means that you won’t be asked to pay any legal fees unless you receive a compensation payout.
Please carry on reading to find out more about occupational respiratory disease claims or call our team on 0800 6524 881 to talk with a specialist today.
Table of contents
- What Are Occupational Respiratory Diseases?
- Am I Eligible To Make An Occupational Respiratory Disease Claim?
- Which Occupations Are Most At Risk Of Respiratory Diseases?
- What Are The Most Common Types Of Occupational Respiratory Diseases?
- How Much Compensation For A Occupational Respiratory Disease Could I Claim?
- Fatal Respiratory Disease Claims
- What Evidence Could I Use For An Occupational Respiratory Disease Claim?
- Occupational Respiratory Disease Claims Time Limits
- Starting The Occupational Respiratory Disease Claims Process
Occupational respiratory diseases can occur if you’re exposed to certain irritants such as fumes, chemicals, dust and other hazardous substances in your workplace. Usually, damage to the lungs will happen after periods of prolonged exposure but that’s not always the case.
To try and prevent industrial lung diseases, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that employers have a legal duty to try and:
- Consider using alternative processes.
- Install effective ventilation systems.
- Use less risky materials.
- Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as breathing apparatus or face masks as a last resort.
If you’re suffering from a work-related lung disease because your employer failed to try and protect you, one of our personal injury solicitors may be able to help you claim compensation for your suffering.
Several pieces of legislation mean that employers must try to stop you from being exposed to irritants at work including:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
Breaching the rules set out in these laws could mean your employer has been negligent and you could claim compensation if:
- Your employer’s negligence led to you being exposed to hazardous substances; and
- As a result of that negligence, you’ve been diagnosed with any type of occupational respiratory disease.
It can be tricky to prove what made you ill which is why we’d always suggest taking on specialist legal representation. If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll track down the evidence needed to try and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Although anyone can theoretically be affected by an occupational respiratory disease, some occupations are at higher risk. These include:
Employers should identify the risks of working with hazardous substances and take appropriate measures to minimise exposure to protect their employees’ health. If they don’t and you’ve developed a respiratory disease as a result, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your suffering.
Some of the more common respiratory diseases that can be diagnosed and linked to working conditions include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – covers emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other lung conditions that cause breathing problems.
- Industrial asthma.
- Asbestos-related lung conditions – covers asbestosis. mesothelioma and other conditions caused by working with asbestos or working in buildings containing asbestos.
- Silicosis – where your lungs become scarred following exposure to crystalline silica dust.
- Pneumoconiosis – an umbrella term used to describe respiratory diseases caused by dust inhalation.
- Lung cancer.
- Extrinsic allergic alveolitis – diseases such as farmer’s lung that cause the alveoli to become inflamed.
This isn’t a list of all the conditions that could lead to occupational respiratory disease claims. If you’ve suffered from any type of ill health affecting your lungs or your breathing and a doctor has linked the condition to your employment, please call to see if you might be entitled to claim compensation.
The symptoms caused by occupational respiratory diseases vary from case to case by can typically include:
- Shortness of breath when walking, climbing the stairs or during other forms of non-strenuous activity.
- Coughing that can sometimes be painful.
- Exhaustion and tiredness.
- Coughing up phlegm.
- Chest pain.
An occupational respiratory disease claim may be possible if you’ve suffered in any way and your doctor has linked your condition to your employment.
Any form of illness that affects your breathing can cause physical and psychological injuries. They can also have a large impact on your finances while you’re ill. Therefore, all of these factors should be considered in any claim you make. Each claim will differ from the next but, in theory, could claim for:
- Physical pain, suffering or discomfort.
- Mental harm such as depression or distress.
- Lost earnings or any you’ll lose in the future.
- Hiring a carer or the time a loved one spends caring for you.
- Loss of enjoyment of family activities or your usual hobbies.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel costs.
- Modifications to your house to make living with your illness easier. For example, you may need to make a downstairs bedroom or install a stair lift.
Our team of solicitors have decades of experience in work-related compensation claims. If one agrees to work for you, they’ll review your claim in detail to try and ensure all of your suffering is covered by any compensation payout.
Our compensation calculator for general damages, below, can be used to give some idea about potential compensation amounts for some occupational respiratory diseases:
The exact amount of compensation you could be awarded if your claim is successful will be based on how badly you’ve been affected by your respiratory condition. As such, your solicitor will arrange for a meeting with an independent medical expert as part of the claims process. Once they have met with you, discussed the impact of your condition and read your medical records, a report will be produced to set out your prognosis.
If you have lost a loved one and their death is linked to an occupational respiratory disease, we could help you to make a claim for your loss. We know this won’t make what happened any better but it could help you financially if you were dependent on the deceased’s salary or pension for example. Your claim could also make it easier to deal with funeral expenses or other costs linked to your loss.
If you would like to discuss how we could help, please get in touch today.
In most cases, your employer will ask their insurers to handle your claim on their behalf. As you might expect, they will usually refuse to pay compensation unless there is compelling evidence to prove why your employer is responsible for your suffering. The types of evidence that might help in occupational respiratory disease claims include:
- Your working history – to help identify where you were exposed to the substances that have caused your suffering.
- Medical records – your solicitor will request copies of your GP’s notes to help confirm your diagnosis.
- Witness statements – these could be requested from colleagues to confirm your working conditions or family members to explain how your disease has affected you.
- Correspondence – if you ever raised concerns with your employer in writing or by email, any responses could be used as evidence to support your claim.
- Financial records – to help you recover any costs incurred as a result of your respiratory disease, you should retain any receipts, bank statements or wages slips that are relevant.
During your free consultation, we’ll consider any evidence you’ve already secured so please have it ready when you get in touch.
A 3-year time limit for workplace illness claims is set in law. For occupational respiratory disease claims, your limitation period will usually begin from the date your condition was diagnosed rather than when you were exposed to the dangerous substance.
As your solicitor may need to investigate an exposure that happened years or decades ago, it is probably worth starting the claims process as soon as possible.
Also, an early start to your claim could help as before your claim is finalised, your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments to help you cover any immediate care or medical expenses.
To find out if you could be compensated for a work-related respiratory illness, please call us on 0800 6524 881 today. We’ll offer free legal advice after reviewing your claim on a no-obligation basis.
If your claim is taken on by one of our specialist solicitors, they’ll manage the whole claims process on a No Win No Fee basis. As you won’t need to pay them for their work unless compensation is awarded, you should find everything a little less stressful.
Our live chat team is available now if you would like to know anything else about the process of making an occupational respiratory disease claim.