The job I do involves the use of many chemicals, now I have been diagnosed with bronchitis by my doctor. Will I be eligible to make a compensation claim for contracting occupational bronchitis at work?
You may be entitled to make a compensation claim for contracting occupational bronchitis at work, if you can demonstrate that it is due to the negligence of your employer. You must show that your employer failed in their duty of care to you by not providing adequate safety standards and/or safety equipment leading to your exposure to chemicals harmful to your lungs in the workplace and subsequently your illness.
Of course there are other factors to consider which may have contributed to your condition, for example if you are a smoker or were in the past, it will be much more difficult to prove that you contracted occupational bronchitis solely due to the workplace.
You are best advised to consult a personal injury solicitor about your claim for contracting occupational bronchitis at work as they will able to help you prove that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ you contracted occupational bronchitis due to the unintentional inhalation of chemical fumes at work.
Often, cost is the principal factor behind employers using one chemical rather than another but if this subsequently proves to be harmful to staff there is a good chance your compensation claim will be successful. It will be a similar story if the workplace is found to have poor ventilation or a breathing apparatus is not provided.
It is likely your personal injury solicitor will advise you to contact your work colleagues to establish if any of them are suffering from the same condition as it could aid your claim if more than one employee has the same illness.
If you decide to pursue your claim for contracting occupational bronchitis at work, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the negligent party’s insurance company advising them of your intent. The insurers then have 21 days to acknowledge receipt of the letter and a further 90 days to reply regarding whether they accept liability for your condition.
If they do not accept liability your solicitor will discuss your options with you and whether it is worthwhile pursuing the claim through court. Of course, it is completely understandable to be apprehensive about making a compensation claim against your employer but it is important to remember the claim is against your employer’s insurance company not your employer themselves. It is also possible that the insurers may offer to settle if you initiate court action as they may not want to risk being left with high legal costs.