Occupational asthma or work-related asthma can be caused by exposure to allergens, chemicals or fumes in the workplace. It is a type of industrial disease that, if caused by employer negligence, could lead to a compensation claim. In this article, we are going to look at occupational asthma compensation payouts.
How Are Occupational Asthma Settlements Calculated?
In this guide, we’ll look at why you might be eligible to claim, what employers should do to protect you and what factors are used to calculate how much compensation you might be paid.
Accident Claims UK is here to support you if you do consider making a claim. Our advisors will walk you through the claims process and review your case for free. If there is a reasonable chance of winning your claim, we could connect you with our specialist solicitors. If they accept your case, you’ll benefit from their No Win No Fee service.
Are ready to start a claim right away? If so, why not call us today on 0800 073 8801? Alternatively, you can learn more about occupational asthma settlements if you read the rest of our guide.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
- What Is Occupational Asthma?
- Types And Stages Of Occupational Asthma
- Who Is At Risk Of Developing Occupational Asthma?
- How Do People Contract Occupational Asthma?
- How Do I Check If I Have Occupational Asthma?
- Diagnosis And Treatment
- What Steps Can Employers Take To Reduce Your Risks?
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation?
- Calculating Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
- Further Damages In Occupational Asthma Settlements
- No Win No Fee Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
- Contact An Expert
- Work-Related Injury Claims
- FAQs On Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
A Guide To Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
In this article, we are going to show you your options if you’ve contracted occupational asthma because your employer failed to protect you. We’ll try to answer some common questions such as:
- Can I make a claim for occupational asthma?
- How do you prove occupational asthma?
- Is occupational asthma permanent?
- What is the most common cause of occupational asthma?
- How much compensation do you get for occupational asthma?
Employers have a duty to keep staff as safe as possible at work. As well as implementing steps to stop accidents from happening, they need to implement measures to prevent health problems as well. This can mean they need to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ensure there is adequate ventilation and train staff properly. If they fail to do so, and you are made ill as a result, you could have the grounds to claim compensation.
Time Limits To Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
Many personal injury claims have a 3-year time limit from the date an accident happens. However, as an industrial disease, occupational asthma may not be diagnosed until months or years after it was caused. Therefore, if you do decide to claim, you’ll have 3 years to begin from the date of diagnosis that the asthma was caused by your employer’s negligence.
Many people worry about claiming against their employer. However, you shouldn’t be concerned about seeking the damages you might be entitled to. By law, employers cannot sack you, discipline you or treat you differently because you’re claiming against them. If they did, you could have grounds to begin an unfair or constructive dismissal case.
Furthermore, your claim shouldn’t affect your employer’s profits. That’s because your claim would be made against their insurance policy which all employers must have to protect them.
What Is Occupational Asthma?
You can contract occupational asthma by inhaling substances like fumes, chemicals and dust at work. If you notice asthma symptoms whilst working or if asthma that you had as a child returns, you could have occupational asthma. Symptoms aren’t always noticed right away because your immune system may take some time to react to triggers in the workplace. Once that happens, you may suffer every time you come into contact with them again.
The main symptoms of occupational asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, a tight chest, conjunctivitis and rhinitis (an inflamed nose that might be blocked, itchy or runny).
As we continue through this guide, we’ll review what causes occupational asthma, the industries that are most at risk and how the condition is diagnosed. We’ll then move on to explain why you might be entitled to seek compensation and how much could be awarded.
Types And Stages Of Occupational Asthma
It is important to note that occupational asthma is the same as normal asthma. The only difference is it is caused by an irritant in the workplace. The four stages of asthma are:
- Intermittent asthma (stage 1). Where mild symptoms are not frequent and may come and go. This might happen a couple of times a week or may wake you a couple of times at night per week. An inhaler may be required to ease symptoms such as shortness of breath or coughing.
- Mild persistent asthma (stage 2). While the symptoms of stage 2 asthma don’t happen daily, they are more regular than stage 1.
- Moderate persistent asthma (stage 3). At this stage, you may be woken from your sleep at least once a week. Other symptoms will present daily. You are likely to require medication daily and there will be an impact on daily activities.
- Severe persistent asthma (stage 4). The symptoms at this stage will happen multiple times every day. They will also cause you to wake up at night regularly. Lung function is severely reduced leading to shortness of breath and medication will be needed regularly. These symptoms will cause severe problems with daily activities.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Occupational Asthma?
There are many different workers who might be more at risk of contracting occupational asthma. They include workers in the following industries:
- Manufacturing (particularly the motor trade).
- Baking and food production.
- Spray painting.
- Agriculture and farming.
Additionally, those working in engineering, welding and woodwork could be at high risk as well. For a full list of the substances that could result in occupational asthma, please refer to the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on what can cause occupational asthma.
If you believe your role puts you at risk of contracting occupational asthma, it is a good idea to discuss your concerns with your employer. An occupational health specialist might be brought in to check what changes could be made to reduce your risks. If nothing is done, and you are diagnosed with asthma, you could be eligible to start legal action.
How Do People Contract Occupational Asthma?
Occupational asthma is contracted when the body’s immune system reacts to allergens or irritants that are inhaled in the workplace. Initially, you will probably not notice any problems. However, after the immune system detects the allergen more often, it will react to try and protect you.
For this reason, it is essential that exposure to an allergen or irritant is reduced as soon as a diagnosis has been confirmed.
Many people will worry if they are diagnosed with occupational asthma as it may mean they need to change their job role. They may have to change jobs altogether. Again, it is important to discuss your diagnosis with your employer. They may be able to implement measures to help reduce your exposure or they may be able to find other work for you to do.
How Do I Check If I Have Occupational Asthma?
The first thing to do is to check for the symptoms of asthma. These include:
- A whistling sound when you inhale (wheezing).
- Persistent coughing.
- Shortness of breath or breathlessness.
- A tight chest.
According to the NHS, these symptoms can have many causes. However, they are more likely to be caused by asthma if they:
- Keep coming back and happen regularly.
- Are worse first thing in the morning or late at night.
- Occur when you are exposed to certain triggers like allergens.
If these symptoms are similar to yours, you might want to book an appointment with your GP so that you can be tested. We’ll look at how they diagnose asthma in the next section.
Diagnosis And Treatment
If you have any of the symptoms of occupational asthma, you should seek advice from your GP. To see if they should diagnose asthma, they may use the following:
- Peak flow test. You’ll be given a meter that records how quickly you can blow air out from your lungs. You’ll be asked to use the meter several times a day for a few weeks.
- Skin prick tests or blood tests. These tests are used to determine whether you have any allergens. Where they come back negative, you could still have occupational asthma but it would be triggered by irritants rather than allergens.
- Challenge tests. These tests are carried out at special centres because they are quite difficult. The idea is that you breathe in certain irritants to see if they trigger asthma symptoms.
Once asthma has been confirmed, your GP will decide what treatment is required. In some cases, it is possible for the symptoms of occupational asthma to go away. This may be the case where a quick diagnosis occurs, the trigger is identified and you can stop yourself from being exposed to the cause.
Where the symptoms continue, you may be provided with a reliever inhaler to reduce your symptoms when they happen. Additionally, you might be given a preventative inhaler to reduce the number of times your symptoms occur.
What Steps Can Employers Take To Reduce Your Risks?
In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers should conduct regular risk assessments of the workplace. Where risks are identified, they should mitigate them wherever possible. If there is a danger of contracting occupational asthma, some of the steps that could help reduce the risks include:
- Providing suitable personal protective equipment such as face masks.
- Informing staff about any allergens or irritants used in the workplace.
- Improving ventilation in confined spaces.
- Providing adequate training on the use of chemicals.
- Ensuring staff are aware of the company’s health and safety guidelines.
Where you believe you are at risk, or if you believe you have started to develop symptoms, it is probably a good idea to discuss your concerns with your employer. If they fail to act, or if the steps above aren’t taken, you could be entitled to start a claim if you are diagnosed with asthma due to your workplace.
Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation?
To be eligible to claim compensation, you’ll need to prove that:
- Your employer owed you a legal duty of care; and
- They breached that duty, causing an incident (or more than one); and
- Because of that, you contracted occupational asthma.
Duty of care is established by legislation. In this case, a couple of different laws could apply:
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Act 2002. This law means employers have a duty to control how dangerous substances are used and to try to minimise exposure to them.
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA). The HSWA means employers have a duty towards the welfare of their staff at work.
You don’t need to worry too much about legislation though. If one of our accident at work solicitors decides to represent you, they’ll know which laws are relevant to your claim. Want to know more? If so, please call today.
Calculating Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
In this section, we are going to provide some potential figures for occupational asthma compensation payouts. To do this, we’ve provided a compensation table using guidelines from the Judicial College. These guidelines are used in personal injury claims to help determine settlement amounts.
|£40,410 to £61,710
|Permanent, severe and disabling asthma that results in sleep disturbance, regular coughing and severe impairment of physical activity.
|£24,680 to £40,370
|Chronic asthma that results in breathing difficulties and where an inhaler is required from time to time. There may also be a restriction of employment opportunities.
|£18,020 to £24,680
|Wheezing and bronchitis that affects both social life and work but where a substantial recovery occurs within a few years.
|£9,990 to £18,020
|Mild symptoms of asthma caused by exposure to vapours for example.
|Up To £4,830
|Colds, chest problems and mild asthma symptoms where recovery occurs within a few months of GP treatment.
To prove the extent of your injuries, you’ll need a medical assessment. This is important because it’s the main factor used to determine how much compensation you’ll receive for your injuries. Your solicitor can usually book a local appointment so that you don’t need to travel too far.
During your meeting, you’ll be examined by an independent medical specialist. They’ll also refer to your medical notes and discuss how your asthma has affected you. After they’ve finished, they’ll produce a report to set out your prognosis for the future.
This report can be used by a solicitor to help value your injuries. It can also be used to prove:
- the severity of your injuries.
- that your injuries were caused or worsened by the incident.
If the report doesn’t find a link between your injuries and the incident, you may find it difficult to claim.
Further Damages In Occupational Asthma Settlements
When you claim compensation, you can only do so once for any given incident. Therefore, it’s really important to make sure everything is included in your claim. As well as compensation for any pain and suffering listed in the previous section, you may also need to claim for the financial impact of your illness. This is known as a special damages claim.
What can be claimed will vary from case to case. However, some examples of special damages include:
- Care costs. If you need to be cared for at any point because of your asthma, you could claim back any associated costs. This might include a payment for the time a loved one cared for you. Alternatively, a professional carer’s fees could be paid back.
- Modification to your vehicle or home. In some cases, occupational asthma can result in disability. If this means you need devices fitting to your car or home to help you cope, then the cost of these changes could be claimed back. For example, you might need handrails or ramps to help make entering your property easier.
- Travel costs. As part of your claim, you could claim for any fuel costs, parking fees or transport fares linked to medical appointments.
- Medical costs. Also, you could ask for any prescription fees or the cost of non-NHS services to be added to your claim as well.
- Lost income. Where you need time off work to recover, you could claim back any lost earnings.
- Future loss of income. Additionally, if your asthma means you can’t work at the same level in the future, then any potential loss of earnings could be factored in too. Your age, job prospects and salary would all be factored into this calculation.
No Win No Fee Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
If you are worried about losing money on a solicitor’s fees when claiming for occupational asthma, then we can help. Our experienced solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for all accepted claims.
When you get in touch, your case will be reviewed thoroughly. If there appears to be good grounds to proceed with a claim, you’ll be sent a Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal term for a No Win No Fee agreement). This will show you what must happen before you have to pay any solicitor’s fees. Essentially, you don’t pay them unless you receive compensation.
If your case has a positive outcome, you’ll pay your solicitor a success fee. This is detailed within the No Win No Fee agreement and listed as a small percentage of any compensation you receive. You needn’t worry too much about this, though, as success fees are capped by law to stop overcharging.
Contact An Expert
Thank you for visiting us today to read about occupation asthma compensation payouts. We are ready to help if you decide to take action. To get in touch, you can:
- Call our team of specialist advisors on 0800 073 8801 for a free case review.
- Log your claim online and we’ll call you back.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to explain how you’ve suffered.
- Discuss your options online using our online chat service.
To make things easier for you, we operate our claims line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you call, your case will be reviewed on a no-obligation basis and you’ll get free legal advice on what to do next.
Our solicitors can help with different types of accident at work claims. They can also help with road traffic accident claims, medical negligence claims, criminal injuries and data breach claims, should you need assistance.
Work-Related Injury Claims
We hope this guide about occupational asthma compensation payouts has been useful. In this section, we’ve added some extra resources that you may find useful.
Asthma UK – A charity with a mission to eradicate asthma attacks and to cure asthma.
Shortness Of Breath – NHS advice on what to do if you’re suffering from shortness of breath.
Health And Safety At Work – This HSE page provides advice on dealing with asthma in the workplace.
Accident At Work Claims – Our guide on claiming compensation for workplace injuries.
Building Site Accidents – Information on how to take action if you’re injured whilst on a building site.
Farming And Agricultural Claims – Details of when you could claim for illness or injuries sustained whilst working on a farm.
FAQs On Occupational Asthma Compensation Payouts
This is the final part of our guide on occupational asthma settlements. Therefore, we have added some frequently asked questions to help you further.
Am I at risk of developing occupational asthma?
There are several known irritants that can cause occupational asthma. Therefore, you could be at increased risk if you work with flour, cereal grains, latex, wood dust or chemical fumes, for example.
Could occupational asthma go away?
It is possible for the symptoms of occupational asthma to recede or go away completely. This may happen once you stop coming into contact with the irritant that caused the condition. However, where exposure is prolonged, permanent damage might be sustained.
How do you prove how you contracted the illness?
If you are considering claiming for occupational asthma, you will need to prove how you contracted it. The first step of this process is for a medical assessment to prove the diagnosis. Then you’ll discuss your work history with your solicitor and gather evidence to support your claim.
Thank you for reading our guide on occupational asthma compensation payouts.
Guide by BH
Edited by RV