Chemical Gas Inhalation Compensation Claims
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.
In our guide to claiming
chemical gas inhalation compensation:
Claiming chemical inhalation compensation
If you have been harmed after breathing in chemical fumes or gas, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Even if your symptoms developed years after the exposure, you have three years from the date you learned your symptoms could be linked to chemical exposure to start a claim.
Who is affected by chemical exposure risks?
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 claims and claims for hazardous chemical exposure frequently relate to cases of historic exposure. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate that over 10,000 deaths each year can be linked to historic exposure.
An 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.
What causes exposure to harmful fumes and gas in the workplace?
To make a successful claim for chemical exposure, your solicitor will use a medical assessment, expert opinion and other evidence to identify what caused your illness or injury.
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)
If your ill health cannot be traced to a single event or cause, you may still be able to claim. An independent medical assessment will confirm if the cause of your condition is likely to be work-related chemical exposure more generally.
What chemical exposure symptoms can I claim for?
Chemical exposure can result in a wide range of symptoms that an affected worker can seek compensation for. Common symptoms include:
- 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.
You will receive compensation for the specific symptoms you have experienced, regardless of the chemical that caused your ill health.
Do I need a medical diagnosis to claim compensation?
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.
The report will also be used to assess how much compensation you should receive, taking into account the impact, seriousness and duration of your symptoms.
Is my employer responsible for my injury?
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.
Can I still claim for chemical exposure if I had a pre-existing medical condition?
Yes. Employers should give workers to opportunity to report if they have an existing medical condition, allergy or susceptibility to a particular chemical.
Your employer must make special provision to ensure that you are safe from an avoidable risk of chemical or gas inhalation that could cause you additional harm or worsen your condition.
If you have been exposed (or may have been exposed) to a harmful chemical, your employer should carry out regular medical examinations to monitor any effects of exposure.
Effects of exposure may vary with different people, and different levels of exposure could lead to sigificantly different degrees of harm.
What PPE, training and other protection must employers provide?
Employers must 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.
If your employer committed a health and safety breach by failing to provide adequate training, PPE and a safe working environment, and you were harmed by exposure to a harmful chemical as a result, you are likely to have a strong claim.
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 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
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.
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
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Chemical gas inhalation compensation amounts
The following chemical gas inhalation payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Asbestos disease||Moderate||Asbestosis with low respiratory disability||£12,020 to £30,630|
|Asbestos disease||Serious||Lung cancer||£55,830 to £77,580|
|Asbestos disease||Severe||Asbestosis with significant respiratory disability||£30,630 to £84,380|
|Asbestos disease||Very Severe||Mesothelioma||£55,830 to £100,350|
|Asthma||Moderate||Bronchitis and wheezing||£15,300 to £20,950|
|Brain injury||Minor||Minimal injury with full or near-complete recovery||£1,760 to £10,180|
|Brain injury||Less severe||Good recovery with a return to work and normal social life||£12,210 to £34,330|
|Brain injury||Moderate||Resulting in a lower degree of dependence||£34,330 to £174,620|
|Brain injury||Serious||Resulting in serious disability and substantial dependence on others||£174,620 to £224,800|
|Brain injury||Severe||Very severe with the need for full-time nursing care||£224,800 to £322,060|
|Chest injury||Moderate||Some permanent tissue damage but no significant long-term lung problem||£10,040 to £14,320|
|Chest injury||Moderate||Injury from inhaling toxic fumes or smoke||£4,240 to £14,320|
|Chest injury||Serious||Damage to the chest and lungs causing some continuing disability||£24,950 to £43,710|
|Dermatitis||Minor||A rash or irritation to hands||£1,360 to £3,150|
|Dermatitis||Moderate||Affecting hands with recovery expected||£6,890 to £9,100|
|Dermatitis||Serious||Affecting hands with indefinite duration||£10,960 to £15,300|
|Injury to senses|
|Injury to senses||Serious||Loss of taste||£15,300 to £19,920|
|Injury to senses||Serious||Loss of smell||£19,920 to £26,230|
|Lung disease||Minor||Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection||£1,760 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Non-permanent lung conditions||£4,240 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£8,480 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Bronchitis and wheezing||£16,580 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Emphysema||£43,670 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£24,950 to £55,830|
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 and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Can I see the complete judicial college tables?
The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common chemical gas inhalation claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Calculate my chemical gas inhalation compensation
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:
How long does a chemical and gas inhalation claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a gas inhalation claim can vary considerably.
For instance, if your employer or responsible party accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied a claim can take longer. On average a hazardous substance injury claim takes 6 to 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?
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. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
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 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 376 1001 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 have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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 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.
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
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.