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Asthma is a distressing medical condition that is sometimes life-threatening and affects your ability to breathe properly. It usually causes wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, and a tight feeling in your chest.
If you develop asthma due to conditions at work, or your pre-existing asthma has worsened at work, it is called occupational asthma. It is also sometimes referred to as workplace asthma or industrial asthma.
Exposure to airborne allergens such as dust and pollen and chemical particles from solvents, gases, fumes, or vapours at work are common causes of occupational asthma.
Your employer has a legal duty to protect you and other employees from the risk of developing occupational asthma. If you have been diagnosed with workplace asthma, you may be able to make an occupational asthma compensation claim.
Our specialist team of personal injury solicitors, who specialise in industrial diseases, have many years of experience helping people with occupational asthma claims.
We have the expertise to provide you with the specialist legal advice you need to secure maximum occupational asthma compensation.
Our Expertise with Occupational Asthma Claims
We understand how challenging it can be living with a chronic medical condition like workplace asthma. We also know that the thought of making an occupational health claim against your employer, or a previous employer, can seem daunting. But our professional team of occupational asthma solicitors will be with you every step of the way throughout the claim process.
You can develop occupational asthma working in a range of industry sectors. However, the risk is highest for workers involved in:
- Vehicle spray painting – due to isocyanates in paints and enamels
- Manufacturing – particularly car manufacture
- Metal production – including soldering and welding
- Construction and demolition
- Baking and flour mills – due to high levels of flour and cereal dust
Other high-risk industries for occupational lung diseases, including workplace asthma, are:
- Chemical production
- Industrial cleaning
- Rubber industry
- Health and beauty
- Working with animals
Our industrial disease lawyers can also help you make a compensation claim if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace. We can help if you have been diagnosed with:
If you want to make an asbestos disease compensation claim, please visit our asbestos and mesothelioma page.
How occupational asthma compensation can help
Our specialist industrial disease team will work hard on your behalf to secure maximum compensation for the pain and suffering your occupational asthma is causing.
We will handle your occupational asthma compensation claim from the initial free consultation to your settlement (sometimes called damages). Your lawyer will work with leading experts to help you access:
- Financial support – early interim payments if you are unable to work or need to cover expenses
- Legal and financial advice – on state benefits, tax, and personal injury trusts
- Specialist rehabilitation and treatment – including private therapy and care
How making an occupational asthma claim works
Book a free initial consultation with our expert occupational asthma solicitors
If you have developed asthma due to your working conditions or through exposure to allergens, chemicals, or fumes, you may be entitled to claim compensation for work-related asthma. It is vital to seek legal advice from a lawyer who has experience in occupational asthma claims.
If you would like to claim compensation after being diagnosed with occupational asthma, get in touch with our expert solicitors for a FREE initial consultation.
Our specialist team will talk to you about your asthma and its impact on your life and ask about your working conditions and previous work history. They will then advise if you will be able to make a successful occupational asthma claim. To find out more about our team’s expertise, please take a look at the individual profiles for our occupational asthma specialists:
No Win No Fee occupational asthma compensation claims
We offer No Win No Fee funding, which means there is no financial risk to you or any hidden, unexpected costs. In the highly unlikely event, your occupational asthma compensation claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a penny. Find out more information about No Win No Fee.
Investigating your occupational asthma claim
Our expert occupational asthma solicitors will investigate your claim thoroughly and gather the evidence needed to build a strong case.
A medical report confirming your occupational asthma diagnosis, including your symptoms and test results (such as lung function tests and chest X-rays), will be an essential part of the evidence used to support your claim.
We will also gather information about your work history and the impact of your asthma on your day-to-day life. This will enable us to advise you on the level of compensation you may be able to claim. Your solicitor will talk you through the process of making a claim, keep you regularly updated and will be available to answer any questions you may have.
Working out how much occupational asthma compensation you are owed
The compensation you receive will depend on your circumstances and the severity of your occupational asthma. It may cover:
- General damages – for your pain, suffering, distress, and loss of amenity (the impact on the quality of your life)
- Special damages – covers loss of earnings for any time you have had to spend off work now or in the future or if you must stop working, the cost of medical treatment or specialist respiratory physiotherapy, travel expenses to hospital appointments or physio sessions.
Find out more about how we calculate compensation.
Time limits for occupational asthma claims
You must make an occupational asthma compensation claim within three years of the date you became aware that your asthma might be connected to your work.
If you developed occupational asthma while working outside the UK, the time limit for claiming compensation might be shorter, so it is vital to contact a specialist solicitor as soon as possible.
If a family member has lost their life after a severe asthma attack caused by workplace allergens (or a post-mortem finds they had a respiratory condition aggravated by occupational asthma) you have three years from the date of their death or the date you received the post-mortem results.
Settling an occupational asthma claim out of court
We settle most occupational asthma compensation claims out of court. This can help you to get your compensation faster while avoiding the stress of court proceedings. If your case must go to court, our expert solicitors will support you every step of the way throughout the compensation process.
Taking your occupational asthma claim to court
If we do have to issue court proceedings (for example, because no agreement is reached informally), we will guide you through the process and ensure you understand what is happening at every stage.
In many occupational asthma cases, the claims settle before the official court hearing date. For the small minority that does not, there is nothing to worry about. We will instruct a specialist barrister to represent you at the final hearing, and your expert lawyer from Novum Law will be with you to support you on the day.
Frequently Asked Questions about occupational asthma claims
What is asthma?
Asthma is a common lung condition that causes breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood. There is no cure for asthma, but there are treatments available to help keep the symptoms under control.
What is occupational asthma?
Occupational asthma is a chronic lung condition caused by airborne allergens or irritants found in the workplace. It results in a narrowing of the bronchial passage (airways), causing breathing difficulties. If your employer has not taken steps to protect you from breathing in harmful particles or chemicals, you may be able to claim occupational asthma compensation.
What are the symptoms of occupational asthma?
The symptoms of occupational asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Blocked, runny or itchy nose (rhinitis)
- Eye irritation (itchy, red, inflamed, or watery eyes)
What causes occupational asthma?
Occupational asthma is a risk when there are high levels of allergens or irritants in the workplace. Many agents can cause occupational asthma, but the most common causes are isocyanates (used widely in paints and varnishes) and flour and cereal dust. This explains why there are high rates of occupational asthma in vehicle paint technicians and bakers.
Other causes of occupational asthma include:
- Grain and poultry dusts in farms and agriculture
- Latex used in healthcare settings
- Vapours and particles in hospitals, including operating theatres
- Animal fur, skin, saliva, and dust from animal enclosures
- Chemicals used in car spray paints
- Bleaches used in hairdressing salons
- Wood dust from carpentry work or sanding
- Fumes, mists, and vapours from electronic, engineering or metal work
- Adhesives used in manufacturing
- Chlorine from indoor pools
- Moulds in domestic and commercial buildings
Who is at risk from occupational asthma?
Workers employed in manufacturing industries, mainly if they are involved with vehicles, metals, spray painting or toxic chemical substances, are at the highest risk of developing occupational asthma. Other workers at increased risk include:
- Construction workers
- Bakers, millers, and other food processors
- Metalworkers including welders
- Cotton and textile workers
- Healthcare workers
- People who work with animals (kennel workers, jockeys, animal handlers, vets)
Does occupational asthma go away?
Yes. Occupational asthma is often reversible, which means the symptoms can disappear if the irritants causing occupational asthma are avoided or eradicated. However, permanent damage can result if you experience prolonged exposure to the cause of your asthma.
What are the employer’s responsibilities?
According to the law, every employer has a duty of care to protect employees from suffering injury or harm in the workplace.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that employers have a legal responsibility to carry out a risk assessment of the workplace and put reasonable measures in place to ensure that staff are protected from potential hazards.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH), employers must minimise exposure to toxic chemicals, allergens, and other hazardous substances, where their removal or substitution is not possible.
So, if your employer has failed to carry out risk assessments or has not provided the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) or made sure there is enough ventilation in the workplace, they may have failed in their duty of care.
It is essential to speak to a specialist solicitor with experience in industrial disease and occupational health if you think you might have an occupational asthma claim.
Can I make compensation claim for occupational asthma?
Yes. If you believe you have developed occupational asthma or your asthma has worsened due to your working conditions, you may be able to make a compensation claim for occupational asthma. Call our industrial disease experts on 0800 884 0777 to discuss how we can help.
How do I make an occupational asthma claim?
Occupational asthma claims can be complex, so it is essential to speak to a specialist industrial disease solicitor with experience and expertise in occupational asthma claims. Our expert team are on hand to give you all the legal advice you need. You can call us at any time on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much compensation will I receive?
No two occupational asthma cases are the same. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on several factors, including the severity of your work-related illness, your current situation and what level of treatment and support you need.
Our specialist solicitors will work out the value of your claim based on:
- Your pain and suffering
- Any loss of earnings (future as well as current)
- Private medical treatment
- Travel expenses (e.g., to hospital appointments)
- Any essential adaptations to your home
- Specialist equipment (e.g., mobility aids)
- Your care and support needs
I’m not happy with my law firm. Can you take over from my current solicitor?
Yes. If your current law firm is not giving you the service and support you need during your occupational asthma compensation claim, you are entitled to change solicitors.