I want to claim compensation injury by fumes in a factory as I believe my COPD was caused by breathing in chemical fumes at work. Will I be able to make a claim for breathing fumes in a factory?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You may be entitled to claim compensation for injury by fumes in a factory; however while you believe that you have contracted COPD due to breathing in fumes at work, this does not automatically mean that you will be eligible to make a claim for injury by breathing fumes in a factory. In order for you to be able to claim against your employers liability insurance policy for being injured by breathing fumes in a factory, you must establish and prove that you contracted COPD due to exposure to fumes in the workplace, and your employer has been negligent and failed in a duty of care to protect you from being injured at work.

It is very important that you make a report of your injuries in your employer´s Accident Book. The Accident Book report should include brief details of why you believe that you have contracted COPD at work and the chemicals fumes which you were exposed to. Your employer must be made aware of your injury and the report will also be used as evidence to support your claim for compensation for injury by fumes in a factory.

Making a claim for compensation for injury by fumes in a factory has potential to be complicated, in particular claims for COPD. The reason for this is that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has many possible causes, and while breathing fumes at work is certainly a known cause, so is smoking cigarettes and air pollution. Even other health conditions such as asthma may lead to the development of COPD, irrespective of environmental or workplace factors.

Since it is not always possible to establish with 100 percent certainty that you contracted COPD due to breathing in fumes in a factory, a claim for compensation for injury by fumes in a factory may only require you to establish ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that your COPD developed due to conditions in the workplace, and that your employer failed to do enough to reduce the risk of you sustaining the condition. Provided that this is possible, you should be able to recover compensation for being injured by breathing fumes in a factory.

It is important that you speak with a personal injury solicitor about making a claim for injury by breathing fumes in factory to receive assistance in proving that your condition was caused due to the negligence of your employer. This will help you to improve the probability of making a successful claim and of recovering your full entitlement to compensation for injury by fumes in factory.