Smoke inhalation claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Smoke can contain a number of toxic, harmful and carcinogenic chemicals, which can cause injury if inhaled. Plastics, soft furnishings, wood, fabrics and refuse all give off toxic and carcinogenic fumes.

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While burns injuries are a more commonly expected result of serious fires, smoke inhalation is as capable of causing serious injury.

If an fire-related accident at work or in an accident in a public place results in smoke-related injury or illness, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation. A claim's likelihood of success, however, is likely to be heavily dependent on the circumstances of the fire.

Warehouse fire

Do I have a claim for smoke inhalation?

If you were injured following smoke inhalation in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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Symptoms and effects of smoke inhalation

Smoke inhalation can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the materials producing the smoke and the severity of the exposure. Symptoms could include less severe side-effects such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Mucus build up

More long-term health implications of smoke inhalation could include:

  • Oedema - when cells lining the respiratory system, throat and mouth are damaged by heat from smoke, a build-up of fluids in airways can occur, causing pain and difficulty breathing.
  • Asphyxia - smoke inhalation can cause airways in the lungs to become blocked, leading to difficulty breathing. This can result in the deprivation of oxygen in the body.
  • Pneumonia - inflammation of the lungs caused by chemicals and toxins in smoke.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cancer - carcinogenic chemicals in smoke can cause cancer of the lungs or in other parts of the body.
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome - this may require the use of an oxygen mask
  • Cerebral Hypoxia - when the brain is starved of oxygen. This could cause brain damage
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Who can a claim be made against?

In order to for smoke inhalation illness or injury, a third party must be found responsible. This could be:

An employer

If smoke inhalation occurred at work as a result of incorrect breathing protection or inadequate ventilation equipment. Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment to staff. A failure to regularly undertake fire safety audits may be evidence of an employer's negligence.

A landlord

If a landlord's negligence led to a fire which resulted in smoke inhalation injuries, it may be possible to make a claim against the landlord. Installing furnishing that does not meet fire safety requirements, or failing to abide by fire safety regulations, may be evidence in support of a claim.

Another driver

If another driver is responsible for a road traffic accident and that accident resulted in a fire, the driver may be found responsible for any injury or illness caused by the fire, including burns and smoke inhalation.

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Calculate my smoke inhalation compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the team

The nationwide network of QLS solicitors help injured people with all types of personal injury claims, from short-term injury cases to serious, long-term injury. Our lawyers are chosen for their professionalism and their track record in winning claims.

Click here to meet more of the team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
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.

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