If emphysema has set you back, we'll help you move forward
When emphysema is linked to environmental factors or occupational hazards, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Compensation claims address the cost of healthcare, the possibility of a diminished quality of life, and associated economic losses.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
The Health and Safety Executive estimates that approximately 15% of cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are caused by pollutants in the working environment. Industries that have been affected by COPD include coal mining, dry cleaning and those that involve exposure to fine dust or tiny particles in the air. Exposure to those particles over time irritates the lungs, and causes emphysema, a form of COPD.
If you decide to make an emphysema claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Do I qualify for emphysema compensation?
You will usually be eligible to claim compensation if you have been injured in the following circumstances:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Is a claim still possible if I am partly liable?
Ascertaining who is liable for an accident is not always straightforward and can often involve blame on both sides.
In our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents said they either were unsure of which party was responsible, or believed they were partially responsible for their injuries.
Even if you partly caused the accident or your injuries (refered to as 'contributory negligence'), you may still be entitled to make a claim. These claims can often be settled on the basis of a split liability agreement.
How long after an emphysema diagnosis do I have to start a claim?
For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence but didn't realise it at the time, the clock starts ticking from the 'date of knowledge' - the day you become aware of your injury.
The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.
What is emphysema?
Emphysema is a condition that is caused by irritants that are airborne, some industrial processes, and smoking. It can take years to develop, so it can be difficult to identify the cause of emphysema. Sufferers initially experience an exacerbation of existing conditions such as asthma, as well as the production of phlegm, coughing and ?flu like symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for emphysema. In addition, it is known as a ?progressive' illness, which means that sufferers tend to notice their symptoms getting worse over time. The condition causes difficulty breathing, which can be relatively moderate at first. However, people who suffer from COPD can find themselves having extreme breathing problems that drastically impact their quality of life.
Emphysema can affect the quality of a person's life in several different ways. Physically, the difficulty with breathing makes any form of exertion extremely difficult. Tasks such as climbing the stairs or performing household tasks such as washing the dishes can be very challenging for sufferers of COPD. The consequences of this can be that you need help in the home or with caring for yourself. Some people require specialist equipment to help them breathe. Depression and anxiety can be unfortunate by products of these consequences.
Can you pursue a claim against my employers for COPD?
If you are suffering from emphysema because, for example, you previously worked in a coal mine, and you can prove this, it is likely that you will have a case for compensation. Thousands of former coal miners have claimed compensation because of both the environment in which they were working and the negligence of their employers.
How can you prove that COPD was caused by negligence within the working environment?
The Quittance panel of solicitors are experts at dealing with cases involving industrial illness, and can help you to compile all the evidence you need for a successful claim. The first step in the process is to prove that you worked for the particular employer against whom you are making the claim. As emphysema can take many years to develop, records of your employment may be misplaced or lost.
You can prove your employment by offering documents such as payslips, service award certificates, proof of tax and National Insurance contributions, or training certificates. Any documentation that clearly demonstrates that you have worked for the organisation can be useful in strengthening your case.
If you are pursuing a claim for compensation for lung disease caused by your working conditions, you will be required to answer a series of questions about your working practices (including any preventative measures taken such as respirators), medical history and smoking history. In order to give yourself the best chance if success, it is important to answer all the questions as honestly as possible.
The Quittance panel can advise you on how likely you are to win your case, and how much you could be awarded.
How much compensation can I claim for an emphysema?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your emphysema or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.
Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include oxygen therapy, inhalers, pulmonary rehabilitation and medication.
Average emphysema general damages compensation
The following emphysema payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Lung disease||Minor||Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection||Up to £4,840|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Non-permanent lung conditions||Up to £4,840|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£9,670 to £18,910|
|Lung disease||Serious||Bronchitis and wheezing||£18,910 to £28,460|
|Lung disease||Serious||Emphysema||£49,850 to £63,660|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£28,460 to £49,850|
|Lung disease||Severe||Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment||£63,660 to £88,480|
How did your injury happen?
Claiming compensation depends on the cause of your emphysema illness. Click the icons below for read more:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.