Occupational asthma claims

Asthma is a common condition which affects both children and adults. Many people are born with this condition which can be controlled with medication.

However, there are people who develop asthma at work as a result of being exposed to toxic substances. Anyone who works in that type of environment must be protected against these substances but if that protection fails then they are likely to develop this disease.

If you have developed occupational asthma due to exposure to dangerous substances then you may be entitled to compensation. This is based upon whether your employer failed in their duty of care to ensure that you were protected against the risk of an illness such as this.

The employer must take steps to protect their employees against the risk of an accident or illness. In this situation if they know that their employees are working in a potentially hazardous environment then health and safety guidelines should be implemented.

A failure to do so can have serious consequences.

Causes of occupational asthma

This condition is caused by the inhalation of potentially hazardous substances which include:

  • Welding fumes
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Chemical fumes
  • Building dust
  • Solvent vapours

Exposure to these is likely to result in asthma. This condition can be treated and possibly reversed but prolonged exposure may lead to permanent lung damage.

Occupational asthma often develops within 6 months to a year but in some cases it occurs within a few weeks. However, there have been cases where asthma has only developed after 20 years of exposure.

Symptoms of occupational asthma

These are similar to those for any other type of asthma and include a tightening of the airways caused by inflammation and swelling. An excess of mucus is produced which constricts the airway and causes breathing difficulties.

An asthma attack is characterised by wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.

If you suspect that you developed asthma due to exposure to a substance at work then you may notice that your asthma improves when you are not at work. It is worse during the week when you are at work and may affect your sleep.

Effects of occupational asthma

A condition such as asthma can have a limiting effect on your life. Asthma attacks are unpleasant and in some cases, serious enough to require hospital treatment.

An asthma attack can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress.

Asthma is treatable although you have to learn how to manage it on a daily basis. This means using an inhaler and/or medication as well.

There is the stress of having to live with asthma plus you may have to change jobs which only add to this stress. This often results in anxiety and depression.

A change in job can mean a drop in income which will affect you and your family’s standard of living. This can put a tremendous strain on your family and may lead to financial hardship.

Whilst asthma can be controlled there are complications of this disease which can affect your quality of life. These include respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or a collapsed lung, both of which require hospital treatment.

Compensation can help to cover any loss of earnings plus specialist treatment or care.

Making a claim for compensation for occupational asthma

Find a personal injury lawyer or solicitor with experience in handling these types of claims. Claims for industrial diseases such as asthma require the services of someone who has knowledge and skill in this specialist area and will apply that accordingly.

He or she will understand the many complex issues involved with claims such as these and will guide you throughout the claims process.

They should handle your claim with sympathy and care and discuss the likely outcome with you. But before they do so they will conduct an initial review to see what evidence there is to support a claim for compensation.

If you want to know more about the claims process then visit our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for occupational asthma

Claims for personal injury compensation have a 3 year time limit which starts from the date of the accident or diagnosis of the illness.

However, this does vary in certain cases such as those which involve industrial disease due to the length of time between the onset of the disease and the diagnosis.

Check with your lawyer about the time limit for your type of claim.

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