A Guide to Claiming Chemical Gas Inhalation Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by toxic gas inhalation we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered toxic gas inhalation and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Employees working in a very wide range of industries are at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Exposure commonly occurs as a result of the inhalation of gases knowingly or unknowingly given off in circumstances including manufacturing processes, cleaning products and waste processes.

Industrial disease compensation claims and other claims for hazardous chemical exposure frequently relate to cases of historic exposure. In such cases, the affected individual may not realise for some years that their illness relates to gas inhalation.

The worker may not even have been aware of the exposure at all.

Expert legal advice and medical evidence can make a crucial difference to the success of these claims.

Causes of exposure

To make a successful claim, the cause of the exposure must be established.

Causes of chemical and gas inhalation accidents in the workplace include:

Effects of chemical exposure

Gases such as sulphur dioxide, ammonia and phosgene may cause eye, mouth, throat and nose irritation.

Sulphuric acid and nitrogen oxide may cause irritation to the lungs with long continuous exposure permanently damaging the affected areas.

Respiratory syndromes may be triggered where normal oxygen content of the air has been compromised by gases such as acetylene.

Employees working in an environment that exposes them to inhalation of bauxite dust and asbestos may sustain serious lung damage.

Skin allergy, dermatitis, chronic asthma and permanent disability of lungs have been observed by the inhalation of toluene, di-isocyanate (TDI) and amine hardeners.

Liver, brain and kidney cells may be damaged by inhalation of certain chemicals, including carbon-tetrachloride, carbon monoxide, mercury, hydrogen, cadmium and cyanide.

Given the wide range of potential sources of exposure and of symptoms, specialist medical evidence is necessary to diagnose the specific condition in support of a claim. Your solicitor will arrange an independent medical report.

Employers' responsibility.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out wide-ranging duties on employers, and they must protect the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

This includes safeguarding employees from exposure to substances hazardous to their health - or where this cannot be avoided, ensuring that exposure is managed in a way that is safe.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) lists around 400 chemicals and products requiring workplace exposure limits for hazardous substances within the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). The HSE does not include asbestos as this has separate regulations.

Regular medical examinations should be provided to monitor any effects of exposure as these may vary with different people. An employee with a known susceptibility to a particular chemical should make this known to his employer, who must then make special provision to ensure that the employee is safe from the risk of chemical or gas inhalation.

Employers must also train employees on chemical handling and inform them of the potential risks associated with each toxic compound.

Employees must be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, face covers, gloves and safety masks to avoid hazardous substance exposure.

Do I have a chemical gas inhalation claim?

It should be possible to make a chemical gas inhalation claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last three years and;
  • someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

How much compensation can I claim for chemical gas inhalation?

The amount of money you could claim for your chemical gas inhalation will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your chemical gas inhalation has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a chemical gas inhalation? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a chemical gas inhalation claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a chemical gas inhalation will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your chemical gas inhalation compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages?are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the chemical gas inhalation injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.?

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Chemical gas inhalation compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a chemical gas inhalation injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your chemical gas inhalation claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long do I have to make a chemical gas inhalation claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the chemical gas inhalation to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your chemical gas inhalation claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a chemical gas inhalation after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim chemical gas inhalation compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a chemical gas inhalation claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for a chemical gas inhalation after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your chemical gas inhalation claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee - the facts

With a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a chemical gas inhalation claim without needing to worry about upfront legal fees. If your chemical gas inhalation claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your chemical gas inhalation injury.

What do I pay if I win my chemical gas inhalation claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my chemical gas inhalation claim?

If your chemical gas inhalation claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Chemical gas inhalation FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert