Your employers owe you a duty of care to ensure that you are not exposed to harmful fumes, dust, chemicals and other substances. Failure to do so means they have not provided a safe working environment which could give rise to a claim in negligence against them.
The most common occupational respiratory problem is asthma, it can be caused if an employer does not provide adequate protection from dust, gas, fumes etc. Other respiratory conditions caused by workplace hazards include pneumoconiosis, bronchitis and emphysema, these are again caused by exposure to harmful substances such as chemicals, fumes or even flour. These types of injuries are common in occupations such as plastic manufacturers, metal workers, chemical workers, coal miners, painters and bakers.
Your employer is under a duty to mitigate the risks of exposure by providing protective equipment, appropriate shift rotation and regular breaks. Bringing a claim for compensation against your employer can seem like a daunting task, however, if you have been exposed to an unsafe working environment the consequences to your health can be very serious. It is, therefore, important to consider making a claim, not only because you are entitled to do so, but also because it will prompt your employer to comply with health and safety regulations and ensure no one else is at risk of illness or injury.
At P.A.Duffy and Company our expert personal injury solicitors are vastly experienced in claims of this nature. Our aim is to help our clients to understand their claim and make the process as accessible as possible. While the claims process can vary, it will generally adopt the following format:
1. Initial Consultation – If you have suffered a respiratory injury as a result of workplace negligence you should make an appointment with one of our personal injury solicitors as soon as possible to ensure that Statute limitation do not affect your claim. Your solicitor will take your instructions and ask you to give a detailed statement of when you believe you were exposed to an unsafe working environment and when you were diagnosed with your illness or injury. You have three years to make a claim for compensation from the date you discover you have an illness that may be linked to your work.
2. Letter of Claim – Your solicitor will then send a letter of claim to your employer or former employers outlining the allegations of negligence and breach of statutory duty against them. The employers will then be obligated to pass this on to their insurance company.
3. Engineers Report – An engineer’s report may be required to ascertain whether the employer has been negligent or in breach of any of its statutory duties. This report will be important to the outcome of the case.
4. Medical Evidence – If you have attended the GP or hospital, we will obtain those notes and arrange for you to be examined by a specialist medical Consultant who will provide a report on the cause and extent of your injuries. This will later be forwarded to the third-party insurance company for their consideration.
5. Decision on Liability – The third-party insurance company will have three months from the date our initial letter of claim is sent to complete their investigations and provide a decision on liability. If liability is admitted, then medical evidence will be provided to the insurance company and both parties will enter into settlement negotiations.
6. Court Proceedings – If liability is denied your solicitor will consult with you and discuss issuing Court proceedings to try and recover damages. When Court proceedings are issued your solicitor will instruct a specialist barrister to help prepare your case for Hearing. Court proceedings can also be issued in a case where liability has been admitted if we feel the compensation being offered by the insurance company is not sufficient. Our expert solicitors will advise clients on their options, but the final decision will always be made by the client and we will ensure that their wishes are carried out.
Please note in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.