Emphysema Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by emphysema we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered emphysema and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
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.
Do I have an emphysema claim?
It should be possible to make an emphysema claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an emphysema claim on their own behalf.
Can I still claim if I didn't report the emphysema?
If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue an emphysema claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.
What if I was diagnosed months after the emphysema?
Depending on how your emphysema happened, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injury. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your emphysema will depend on:
- the extent 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 emphysema has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an emphysema? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Emphysema compensation amounts
The following emphysema payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Lung disease||Minor||Short-term aggravation of bronchitis or other chest infection||£1,760 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Non-permanent lung conditions||£4,240 to £14,420|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£8,480 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Bronchitis and wheezing||£16,580 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Emphysema||£43,670 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£24,950 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Severe||Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment||£55,830 to £108,370|
What is the average injury compensation for an emphysema claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an emphysema will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your emphysema compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Can I claim for prescription costs?
Special damages?are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the emphysema injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.?
Can I claim for an existing emphysema that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an emphysema injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your emphysema claim could be worth now:
How long does an emphysema claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for an emphysema can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your emphysema claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee
With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .
Our no win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an emphysema claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my emphysema claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my emphysema claim?
If your emphysema claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. emphysema claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an emphysema claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the emphysema to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your emphysema claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an emphysema after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim emphysema compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an emphysema claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.