A Guide to Claiming Chemical Gas Inhalation Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
This easy-to-follow guide sets out everything you must know about making a chemical gas inhalation compensation claim.
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:
- Spillages of a noxious substances by colleagues
- Undetected gas leaks from defective, old or damaged machinery (many toxic gases are odourless and colourless)
- Inadequate or unsuitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
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.
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.
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?
As a basic rule, you can make a chemical gas inhalation claim if your injury happened:
- within the last three years and,
- another person was to blame.
However, there may be other considerations that mean you have a valid claim - even if the above points do not apply to you.
To confirm whether you are eligible to claim speak to one of our experts on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will confirm whether you have a claim. You will never be pressured into making a claim.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
What if it was a criminal incident?
If your Chemical Gas Inhalation injury resulted from a criminal incident, you can pursue a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA must receive your application within 2 years of the Incident Date.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a chemical gas inhalation claim on their own behalf.
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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Find out what your claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your chemical gas inhalation case 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:
If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)
If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:
Other claim types
Find details on another type of claim:
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.
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:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
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.
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.
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*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
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.
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.
Can I get an interim compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.
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.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert