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Occupational Asthma Claims – A Guide to Claiming Compensation

A diagnosis of occupational asthma can affect your life on a daily basis. Your condition could affect your finances if it restricts you from working or there could be a negative impact on your family life, normal activities or social events. Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed with work-related asthma, it may be possible for you to seek compensation from your employer for your suffering. In this guide, we answer some of the most common questions about occupational asthma claims to explain the claims process.

To provide further support, our specially trained advisors can provide free legal advice on claiming compensation for occupational asthma as part of a no-obligation initial consultation. After your questions have been answered, you could be connected with one of our solicitors to see if your claim is feasible. If it is and you both agree to proceed, your occupational asthma claim will proceed on a No Win, No Fee basis.

For more information on how industrial asthma compensation claims work, you can:

  • Call us on 0333 241 2519 to speak to a specialist.
  • Make use of our online chat service to ask any questions.

Getting legal advice promptly after a diagnosis of asthma can significantly enhance the chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

What Is Occupational Asthma?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), occupational asthma (aka industrial asthma) is an allergic reaction that some workers can develop when exposed to some substances in the workplace.  Following exposure to such ‘asthmagens’, the airways can become hypersensitive. If the lungs become hypersensitive, an asthma attack can occur if the worker is exposed to the substance in future (even at low levels).

Some of the substances known to cause occupational asthma include carmine, coffee bean dust, egg proteins, flour dust, hardwood dust, nickel sulphate, reactive dyes and solder flux. For more information, you can read the HSE’s full list of substances that can cause occupational.

Some of the most common symptoms of occupational asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Wheezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Sneezing and a runny nose.

If you or a loved one is suffering from work-related asthma and would like to check if you might be entitled to compensation, please call our legal advisors about your options.

Can I Make an Occupational Asthma Claim?

While you’re at work, your employer must follow the rules of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to protect your health and safety. This legislation places a legal duty of care on employers. As such, to prevent industrial diseases such as occupational asthma, some of the steps they could take include:

  • Improving ventilation in areas where irritants are used.
  • Providing breathing apparatus, face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) where needed.
  • Allowing staff rest breaks away from the work area.
  • Listening to concerns raised by staff with regard to health and safety.
  • Consider using other materials if possible.

As such, if your work-related asthma claim is to succeed, it will generally need to be proven that:

  • Your employer owed you a duty of care.
  • Your employer was negligent and this led to you being exposed to an irritant.
  • As a direct result of that negligence, you have had an occupational asthma diagnosis in the last three years.

Even if you’re not sure of the above criteria or which employer is responsible for your suffering, we can still help. Therefore, please call today.

What Should I Do If I’ve Developed Occupational Asthma?

If you’re concerned that your working conditions are causing you to develop occupational asthma, you should:

  • Send your employer an email or letter to set out your concerns. Tell them about any symptoms you’re suffering and any changes you’d like them to make.
  • Consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. They can conduct tests to confirm whether you have occupational asthma and advise on the best treatment plan.
  • Let your employer know about any recommendations made by your doctor.

Telling your employer that you’re worried gives them the opportunity to put things right where possible. They could, for instance, ask an occupational health specialist to review your workplace and suggest some changes.

If they fail to act or ignore your requests completely, they could be deemed negligent which could see you have grounds to sue for any subsequent suffering.

What Evidence Can Be Used for Occupational Asthma Claims?

Proving the cause of your asthma diagnosis and the suffering it has led to is crucial if you’re to receive compensation. Some examples of evidence that could strengthen occupational asthma claims include:

  • Details of your work history.
  • Confirmation of your occupational asthma diagnosis from your medical records.
  • Witness statements from colleagues to help confirm your working conditions.
  • Details of any costs you’ve incurred because of your condition.
  • Photographs or video footage of your workplace.
  • Copies of any correspondence between you and your employer regarding your health or working conditions.

Additional evidence such as occupational health reports could be obtained by your solicitor if your claim is taken on.

How Long Do I Have to Claim Occupational Asthma Compensation?

The time limit for claiming occupational asthma compensation is generally 3 years from the date you first became aware that the disease was related to your work and not necessarily from the date it was diagnosed. For instance, if you were diagnosed with occupational asthma on a specific date but had symptoms and suspicions that your work was the cause before the diagnosis, the 3 years could start from the earlier date. The Limitation Act calls this the “date of knowledge”.

It is possible to claim compensation against an employer that you haven’t worked for for a very long time. So long as you start within the time limit, you could be entitled to compensation.

inhaler for industrial asthma background

You can start the process of claiming compensation for industrial asthma with a completely free consultation.

Our solicitors, with 30+ years of experience, provide a 100% No Win, No Fee service, giving claimants a risk-free way to pursue the compensation they deserve.

Start a Claim

Or call now on 0333 241 2519 to speak to a legal advisor.

What Compensation Can I Claim for Occupational Asthma?

If you make a successful claim against your employer for occupational asthma, the settlement you’ll receive will be based on the extent of your physical and emotional suffering (general damages) and any associated costs (special damages).

To help calculate the general damages of your payout, your solicitor will gather medical records and specialist reports to ascertain the full level of your suffering. They may then use compensation figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help value your claim.

The occupational asthma compensation table that follows uses JCG figures but please be aware that the amounts listed aren’t guaranteed compensation payouts.

  • Severe, permanent asthma significantly limiting physical activity, sleep, and quality of life, with greatly reduced employment opportunities, compensation may range from £43,060 – £65,740.
  • Chronic occupational asthma with breathing challenges, occasional inhaler use, and limited employment prospects, prognosis uncertain, £26,290 – £43,010 compensation.
  • Mild, asthma-like symptoms often triggered by exposure to irritants, compensation generally between £10,640 – £19,200.
  • Mild asthma that clears up within months, up to £5,150.

The special damages element of any payout you receive aims to cover any current or future financial losses caused by occupational asthma. For instance, your settlement might cover:

  • Modifications to your home i.e. a stairlift if your asthma symptoms make it difficult to walk up stairs unaided.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost income and future loss of earnings.
  • The cost of a full-time carer at home.

Please get in touch if you’d like us to assess how much compensation for occupational asthma you might be entitled to claim.

Can I Claim Compensation if I’m Not a Full-Time Employee?

Legally, employers owe the same duty of care for workplace safety to all types of employees. That means they must take the same safety precautions for all staff regardless of the type of employment contract they are on.

As such, if you’ve been diagnosed with industrial asthma and you were a contractor, self-employed, a zero-hours worker, a consultant or an agency worker, you may have grounds to claim for your suffering.

We provide a no-obligation consultation for all occupational asthma claims no matter your employment status so please call to discuss yours today.

Will I Be Sacked for Claiming Occupational Asthma Compensation?

Many people worry about the consequences of starting an industrial disease claim against their employer. However, there are laws in place which stop you from being treated any differently by your employer so long as your claim is truthful.

As such, you should not worry about being sacked, bullied, demoted or denied training opportunities as a result of your occupational asthma claim. If that were to happen, a solicitor could help you to claim for unfair or constructive dismissal on top of your industrial asthma claim.

Do You Need a Solicitor for Industrial Asthma Claims?

It can be very challenging to prove to your employer’s insurer that your asthma diagnosis is related to your work. While you are entitled to handle the claims process yourself, instructing a solicitor who specialises in such cases can be beneficial. Doing so could improve your chances of winning your claim and being awarded a fair settlement amount.

If your work-related asthma claim is taken on by a solicitor from our team, some of the work they might carry out on your behalf includes:

  • Finding the evidence needed to present as strong a case as possible.
  • Ensuring your claim is sent to your employer and their insurance provider on time.
  • Shielding you from all queries, questions and objections raised by your employer’s insurers.
  • Sending you updates about your case on a regular basis.
  • Negotiating a fair settlement rather than accepting the first offer received.

What’s more, all industrial asthma claims that are accepted are dealt with on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means that after you’ve signed a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you:

  • Won’t be asked to pay for your solicitor’s work in advance.
  • Will not pay your solicitor for their efforts if the claim is lost.
  • Will pay a percentage of any settlement received as your solicitor’s success fee if the claim is won.

To protect you and ensure you keep as much compensation as possible, the maximum success fee percentage allowed by law is 25 per cent when using a CFA.

Would you like to know if you could make a No Win, No Fee occupational asthma claim? If so, please call today.

Will I Need To Attend Court?

It is quite rare, in our experience, for occupational asthma claims to go to court. It is much more likely that your solicitor and your employer’s insurance provider will do their best to settle out of court to avoid the extra time and costs involved.

However, if your solicitor believes that your claim is strong enough but your employer won’t accept liability for your suffering or their settlement offer is too low, a court date may be booked.

It is still possible for an out-of-court settlement to be reached right up until the date of your hearing. However, if you are represented by one of our solicitors and a court hearing is required, you’ll be supported all the way.

How Long Do Industrial Asthma Claims Take?

The time taken to process industrial asthma claims is not set in stone. Generally, the willingness of your employer to accept liability for your suffering and your prognosis are factors that will affect how long the claims process takes.

In some cases, you could be compensated in around 9 months or so. This might be true if your employer admits liability early and your prognosis is fully understood. Claims can take more than a year in more complex cases but interim payments may be paid while the claim is being dealt with so long as liability has been proven.

Contacting Us About an Occupational Asthma Claim

If you or a loved one is suffering because of occupational asthma, contact our legal advisors now to have your claim assessed. To do so, you can:

  • Phone us on 0333 241 2519.
  • Connect to our free live chat service.

We’ll answer as many questions as we can and provide free legal advice about your claim. You’re under no obligation to proceed with legal action against your employer but if your occupational asthma claim is feasible and you instruct one of our solicitors to start the process, they’ll represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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