£5,000 compensation for asthma from cigarette smoke
Compensation of £5,000 was secured for a 7-year-old boy who suffered asthma caused by cigarette smoke inhaled by his mother at work while she was pregnant.
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The claimant's mother, a non-smoker, worked in a large room with approximately 100 other employees. Smoking was allowed in the room. A very large percentage of the employees smoked at their desks during the working day.
Ventilation in the room was poor. The air was thick with cigarette smoke for the majority of the day which exposed the claimant's mother to excessive levels of smoke throughout her pregnancy.
At birth the boy had a low birth weight. He suffered chest infections frequently. From the age of four months to three and a half years he was treated by his GP on 13 occasions for chest conditions.
After this time he continued to suffer chest infections but at a reduced frequency.
At the age of six the claimant was diagnosed with mild asthma. His condition had a 50 per cent chance of improving as he grew older. There was a possibility of it deteriorating but it was most likely he would remain with mild asthma.
Long term the prognosis was unclear. His treating clinicians believed it was unlikely he would suffer adverse effects on his lung function when he became an adult.
The boy's consultant concluded the repeated chest infections and diagnosis of asthma were directly caused by his mother's exposure to cigarette smoke while pregnant.
It was alleged that the defendant was negligent insofar as they failed to provide a safe working environment.
The lack of ventilation and number of people smoking cigarettes created a hazard that was likely to cause damage to health.
The claimant was exposed to excess cigarette smoke in the womb. It was maintained this exposure caused repeated chest infections during infancy and the development of asthma.
The defendant denied liability but failed to provide any evidence to support their arguments.
Conclusion and settlement
Liability was denied but the defendant agreed to offer a sum of compensation.
The matter progressed to a Court hearing to approve the level of damages.
Compensation of £5,000 was accepted by way of a Court award.
The entirety of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."
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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.