breathing disorder claim

Breathing Disorder Claim From The Inhalation Of Mineral Dust At Work

Find out in a Q&A how to make a breathing disorder claim for exposure to harmful dust at work from dust created by materials – such as cadmium, zinc powder, copper powder, volatile silicone.

Breathing disorder claim question

I work for a manufacturing company in Birmingham in England. I’ve worked for approximately 10 years commencing as an apprentice and later becoming a tool maker. The manufacturing company makes metal and plastic products for household electrical appliances.

Typical materials we worked with included cadmium, zinc powder, copper powder and volatile silicone. There was a great deal of dust in the air.

At the end of the working day I would return caked in dust from the different products that the company was manufacturing. I was provided with a small mask to cover my nose and mouth, but this was only after five years of working with the company.

Even with the mask – at the end of the day when I blew my nose I would still see dark dust in the tissue which I believe would have somehow come through the mask therefore the mask did not seem to be providing adequate protection.

I noticed a couple of years after leaving this company that I had shortness of breath. I recently went to see my GP and I was tested and diagnosed with a breathing problem which at this stage he could not define.

My GP enquired as to the chemicals I was exposed to and after I gave an explanation he indicated that the breathing problem I had was likely to be associated with exposure to the dust in the work place and could be some form of fibrosis, which I believe is a scarring of the lungs.

He has arranged for me to be seen by a medical specialist and I understand I am to have blood tests and scans of my lungs. My GP believes that the types of dust I was exposed to could cause pneumoconiosis and other conditions such as asthma.

Can I make a claim against my employer for a breathing disorder caused by exposure to the harmful dust at work?

Industrial disease solicitor response

Looking at the different aspects of making a claim in turn:

Is your employer negligence / legally at fault?

The types of dust that you have described can cause breathing problems especially when exposure takes please over  a long period of time (10 years as you have indicated).

It seems you were exposed for five years with no breathing protection and thereafter the breathing protection provided was unsuitable.

It is therefore likely your employer will be considered negligent to have exposed you to this dust without adequate protection.

pulmonary fibrosis work dust exposure
Pulmonary Fibrosis From Work Fume Exposure

Did employer negligence cause you injury?

Medical evidence can be obtained as part of your claim from a specialist consultant as to the lung condition you have developed and those which can be developed from exposure to dusts of cadmium, zinc powder, copper powder, volatile silicon.

You are being referred to a specialist through the NHS and as such that specialist may be able to shed more light on the cause of your condition.

You have already indicated a pulmonary fibrosis condition – which is typical scarring to the lungs from long exposure to excessive dust.

Are you still in time to claim for your breathing disorder?

There are a number of factors that come into play when considering the length of time you have to make a claim. Generally – there are three years from date of injury of knowledge of injury to commence a claim at court before it might be considered too late to claim.

Important dates include when your employment ceased, when you first experienced symptoms, when you first sort medical help with breathing problems and finally when a diagnosis was actually made.

In many instances knowledge may be construed at any stage with the latest being diagnosis.

Watch out – assessing whether you are still in time to claim can depend on individual circumstances, so you should speak with a solicitor immediately so as to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of making a breathing disorder claim.

How much compensation does a lung disorder claim attract?

The amount of compensation that you can claim for pain and suffering depends on the specific lung disorder you are actually experiencing, its severity, effects on life expectancy and enjoyment of life.

Also – financial loss and expense as a direct result of your breathing disorder can be claimed in addition to your pain and suffering. Losses may include lost income, medical expenses, etc.

Be aware – the amounts of compensation you can claim from industrial lung diseases can be quite extensive.

See our  lung disease compensation amounts article to see examples of how much compensation you can claim for workplace lung problems.

We appreciate the impact on your life that a breathing disorder can have and also the uncertainty you may feel about commencing a claim.

We offer free online and telephone legal help – you can discuss your specific situation to decide the options that are available to you,