INJURY*

Occupational Asthma Claims*

Occupational asthma* is a lung disorder caused by breathing in a substance while at work which enters the lungs, causing them to swell and become narrower.

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How Does This Condition Occur?

This condition can develop over an extended period of time and you may be unaware of your symptoms until sometime later.  Many people do not realise that their asthma developed as a result of work. Many people who have sustained occupational asthma have noted that their symptoms seem worse during the working week or in the evening time after they have completed a day’s work. Occupational asthma can have an ongoing effect due to the ongoing exposure to certain substances.

What Professions are at Risk?

Certain industries are more at risk of developing this condition due to the different substances in which they work with. This includes;

  • Bakers
  • Cleaners
  • Carpenters
  • Spray painters
  • Farmworkers
  • Woodworkers
  • Lab workers
  • Nursing and care staff

Occupational Asthma Categories

Occupational asthma is generally divided into two categories.

Irritant-induced

This generally develops within 24 hours of the exposure to high levels of the particular substance. This type of occupational asthma is associated with the inhalation of gas, fumes and vapours. Exposure to these chemicals is usually caused by some form of a workplace accident*.

Allergic Occupational Asthma

This is the most common type and is usually not developed until a longer period of time has passed since the exposure. Over time, you can become allergic to a certain substance in the workplace. According to the Health Service Authority (HAS), over 90% of people with occupational asthma have been found to have this particular type.

Occupational Asthma Symptoms

  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling of tightness in the chest

What Causes Occupational Asthma*?

There are a number of substances and agents which have caused occupational asthma in the past. Many of these substances are only used in certain industries or factories where dust is an issue so only a small number of people may be exposed to them on a regular basis.

Wood Dust

This is associated with woodworking and furniture manufacturing.

Latex

Latex is usually used by healthcare workers and those who work in labs. It is most commonly used to make the gloves that they wear throughout the course of their work.

Cleaning Products

There are a number of different chemicals in cleaning products which can cause different illnesses to develop over time as a result of exposure.

Flour and Grain

This substance is commonly associated with milling and baking. Often affects those who work at docks and may be handling grains as it is being imported and exported.

Isocyanates

Common activities associated with this substance group are spray painting and foam manufacturing.

Hair Dyes

There are a number of chemicals in hair dyes which can have an effect on our bodies. Hairdressers commonly develop occupational asthma as a result of this due to overexposure. In order to reduce the risk of this happening, natural hair dyes can be used which have no chemicals in them.

What are the Duties of an Employer?

All employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide them with a safe working environment and ensure that their health and safety is the number one priority. The Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005 outlines a number of duties that an employer has to ensure this.

  • Manage activities in a way that priorities health and safety.
  • Provide adequate training and protective equipment to all employees.
  • Implement certain measures that are necessary for health and safety.
  • Put adequate procedures in place that should be followed in an emergency.
  • Carry out frequent risk assessments.
  • Provide information to employees on the potential risks associated with these substance groups.
  • Ensure that their safety statement is up to date and includes all relevant information.

Preventing and Controlling Exposure to Substances

As health and safety of an employee should be the first priority of an employer, they should have certain procedures and safety measures in place to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. If these measures are not in place and you have developed occupational asthma as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for employer negligence.

  • Replace the substance if an employee has become ill.
  • Divide the workload to prevent overexposure.
  • Provide adequate personal protective equipment.
  • Allow adequate break periods.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a personal injury* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare the information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your injury claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • If any emergency services attended the scene, and their details
    • Details of your injuries
    • Hospitals/Doctors attended with your injury
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
    • Details of any witnesses
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the injury claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    The most important document needed to prove your injuries is your medial report. The reason a solicitor will ask for your doctor’s details or if you have attended the hospital is so they can obtain all the medical reports required to pursue the case for you.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your injury claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the person at fault reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your car accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with an injury claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the injury and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following an accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the injury (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

Material Damages

Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in a road traffic accident, the material damage would be the damage to your car.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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