Pneumoconiosis Compensation Claim
May I make a pneumoconiosis compensation claim against a former employer? When I was diagnosed with the condition my doctor said it was probably from breathing in coal dust from a job I left seven years ago.
You should be able to make a pneumoconiosis compensation claim against your previous employer; provided that it can be proven that your employer was negligent in not taking appropriate measures to prevent you from developing the condition and that the condition was contracted during your employment.
A pneumoconiosis compensation claim is commonly made by miners for previous exposure to coal dust, as miners and coal workers are at a particularly high risk of developing lung diseases from inhaling coal dust. Pneumoconiosis – also known as black lung or miner’s lung – is usually caused by exposure to coal dust over a period of several years and symptoms of pneumoconiosis can take years to manifest after protracted exposure. Many workers are not even diagnosed until retirement age and symptoms of pneumoconiosis are infrequently presented by workers under 50.
Therefore, even though you left the job which caused your disease seven years ago, it is possible to make a pneumoconiosis compensation claim against your former employer as your eligibility to claim compensation does not end when your employment does. However, it must be made clear that your eligibility for making a compensation claim must be made within two years of diagnosis, according to the Irish Statute of Limitations.
You would be well advised in engaging a personal injury solicitor as soon as practically possible to discuss your pneumoconiosis compensation claim as such claims can take some time to prepare. Your solicitor must initially locate the previous employer in question whose business may have ceased trading or who may not even still be alive. In such an instance, the employer’s insurance company needs to be identified and the policy details discovered.
These elements may not affect your entitlement in making a pneumoconiosis compensation claim, but they may cause delays to the claims procedure. Therefore, it is vital that legal advice is sought as soon as possible from the date the disease was diagnosed in order for the claim to be prepared sufficiently. You will not be able to make your claim if it is not pursued within the time period allocated by the Statute of Limitations.