Respiratory illness claims

There are a wide range of respiratory illnesses which are caused by exposure to chemicals, substances and pollutants in the workplace. These substances include asbestos, poisonous fumes, chemical vapours, spores from textiles and coal dust.

These result in a variety of illnesses, some of which are mild but others which are chronic or even fatal.

Respiratory illnesses

The term ‘respiratory illness’ includes a wide range of industrial diseases such as:

  • Occupational asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Coal miner’s lung

Some of these illnesses are treatable but others are not and if they have reached an advanced stage then very little can be done.

An employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are protected against these substances but if this fails then your health is liable to be at risk.

If you have developed any of the illnesses mentioned above then you may be able to claim compensation.

Causes of respiratory illnesses

They develop as a result of exposure to irritants, hazardous substances or toxic fumes within the work environment. Examples of these include:

  • Coal dust, e.g. mining
  • Toxic fumes, e.g. solvents, paints, cleaning materials and pesticides.
  • Poisonous fumes, e.g. welding, pottery and plastics manufacture.
  • Dust and spores, e.g. textiles and wool
  • Chemical vapours, e.g. chlorine and ammonia

If you have been exposed to any of these substances then you may experience an instant reaction. This can take the form of a throat irritation and a sore mouth before the substance is inhaled into the lungs.

Once it reaches the lungs it may cause symptoms that are similar to ‘the flu’. These include tight feeling in the chest, cough, head cold, fever and difficulty in breathing.

Making a claim for compensation for respiratory illnesses

Anyone working in an environment in which they come into contact with dangerous substances or irritants should be safeguarded against these, e.g. protective mask. But if you have not been provided with adequate protection then you may have developed an illness as a result of this.

Consider making a claim for compensation if you have become ill as a result of the above.

Find a personal injury solicitor or law firm who has experience in handling these types of claims. They will have expertise and understanding of the issues involved and should be able to advise you accordingly.

They will explain the process to you and what the time limit is for making a claim. There are strict deadlines with personal injury claims so it is important that you bear this in mind when making an application.

The claims process itself is discussed in detail within this guide. Visit our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a respiratory illness

A claim is valid if it is made within 3 years of an accident, injury or illness.

This tends to differ in industrial illness claims due to the long period of time between the exposure to a harmful substance and the diagnosis of your illness.

Ask your personal injury lawyer, solicitor or claims assessor for further advice.

Personal Injury Guide

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