I have read that I only have two years to claim occupational emphysema compensation, but my doctor has told me that I have had the condition for a number of years. Does this mean I cannot claim compensation for occupational emphysema?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You are correct about how much time you have to claim occupational emphysema compensation in Ireland. The time frame for personal injury claims is two years, and all claims must be initiated within this period. A claim for occupational emphysema compensation that is filed once the claim window has elapsed will almost certainly fail. No respondent would accept liability for a late occupational emphysema claim and judges rigorously enforce the Statute of Limitations on personal injury claims.
However, this does not mean that you cannot claim occupational emphysema compensation, and in all likelihood you will be able to submit your claim in time; although you should speak to a personal injury solicitor about doing so to confirm that it is possible.

The Statute of Limitations places a 2 year claims window on personal injury claims, but this time period does not always commence on the date you suffer a personal injury; it starts from the ‘Date of Knowledge’ that an injury has been sustained. A car accident usually involves injuries which are immediately apparent. However occupational emphysema develops over a period of years, or often decades. If a claim for occupational emphysema was treated in the same way as a car accident claim, the Statute of Limitations would have elapsed long before a claim for emphysema compensation would be possible. If you want to claim occupational emphysema compensation, you need to make sure that your claim is initiated within two years of receiving an emphysema diagnosis from your doctor.

Once a diagnosis has been made you must inform your employer and make sure that your condition is documented in your employer’s accident book as a work related illness. If this is not possible for any reason, you should explain this to a personal injury solicitor when you call to confirm your eligibility to make an occupational emphysema claim.

We strongly recommend that you speak with a personal injury solicitor immediately about claiming compensation for occupational emphysema. Even if you think you still have plenty of time, you should bear in mind that legal claims for occupational emphysema compensation can take some time to prepare before they can be filed. It also pays not to delay a claim for occupational emphysema unnecessarily as this can jeopardise the chances of successfully recovering compensation for emphysema.