Lung cancer compensation claims

Updated: October 8, 2018

Introduction

According to Cancer Research UK, there were an estimated 44,500 new cases of lung cancer in the UK in 2012 (latest figures). 89% of these cases were considered to be preventable.

A noteworthy proportion of these cases were identified as occupational lung cancer - caused by unnecessary exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) in the workplace. If a person develops lung cancer due to an employer's negligence, the affected person could be entitled to make an industrial disease claim.

Claims citing negligence can also be made in cases of lung cancer misdiagnosis where the misdiagnosis has negatively impacted on a patient's outcome and chance of recovery.

Examining lung disease chart
Back to top

Do I have a claim for lung cancer?

If you have suffered lung cancer in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

Back to top

Factors causing lung cancer claims in the workplace

Many chemical compounds used in industry are known to potentially cause lung cancer. If an employee is exposed to a carcinogen as the result of an employers negligence, and develops lung cancer in later life, it is often possible to demonstrate a link between the two.

In the workplace, air pollution or everyday exposure to carcinogens such as soot, asbestos or diesel engine exhaust fumes are more common causes.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARCs) has an approved list of known and probable carcinogens. In addition to the ones mentioned, it identifies a range of other carcinogenic substances and processes specific to lung cancer. These include:

  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Silica dust
  • Ionising radiation
  • Production of coal/coke
  • Nickel compounds
  • Production of rubber
  • Production of aluminium, iron and steel

Exposure to many of these substances, particularly exposure significant enough to cause lung cancer, usually only occurs in the workplace. Industries at risk include manufacturing, construction and mining.

Being a long-latency disease, the symptoms of lung cancer often only appear years after exposure, therefore claims tend to relate to past employment. Symptoms can include: a persistent cough; chest pain; weight loss and loss of appetite; coughing up blood; tiredness; and weakness.

Back to top

Occupational lung cancer claims

An estimated 21 per cent of lung cancers in men in the UK, and 5 per cent in women, are linked to occupational exposures (Cancer Research UK). Exposure to carcinogens in the workplace also accounts for a large majority of lung cancer compensation claims.

In most occupational lung cancer cases, the employer is liable if it can be proved that:

  • Workplace exposure to carcinogens is the probable cause
  • The employer acted negligently in their duty to prevent unnecessary exposure

Proving workplace exposure was the cause

During a medical examination arranged by a solicitor, a doctor will ask questions regarding past and current employment to ascertain whether workplace exposure was a likely cause.

However, proving lung cancer was caused by workplace exposure is not always straightforward.

For example, for a smoker who has worked in an asbestos-using industry, lung cancer could broadly have been caused by either their employment or the smoking. A claim may still be possible under such circumstances, provided that the type of lung cancer affecting the individual is more likely to be caused by the asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma.

Demonstrating employer negligence

Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from harm. This falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and, more specifically for lung cancer, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

If an employer failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment or to implement sufficient measures to control exposure to carcinogens, such as proper ventilation and suitable breathing apparatus, their actions could be deemed negligent.

Back to top

Lung cancer and medical negligence

Medical negligence claims can arise following the misdiagnosis of lung cancer.

Doctors and medical professionals have a responsibility to their patients through the best care reasonably possible. A failure to diagnose lung cancer, correctly treat it or misdiagnose it, could result in a claim against a GP, an NHS trust or a private hospital.

Lung cancer misdiagnosis

As cancer treatment can be time-sensitive, prompt diagnosis may be vital to prevent the disease developing and spreading. The Courts recognise that misdiagnosis can have significant repercussions, and that delaying appropriate treatment can ultimately reduce a person's chances of recovery.

Common types of misdiagnosis seen in lung cancer claims include:

  • Delay or failure to refer the patient to a specialist
  • Failure to arrange further testing when symptoms of cancer were presented
  • Failing to schedule a biopsy or further investigation
  • Failure to act on biopsy results
  • Failure to arrange appropriate treatments
Back to top

No Win, No Fee lung cancer claims explained

No Win, No Fee claims start once a Claimant agrees a Conditional Fee Agreement, or CFA, with a injury lawyer.

The agreement details the service executed by the solicitor and a percentage success fee that will be deducted from your compensation when your case is won.

You are able to prioritise your recovery, knowing that there is nothing to pay up front. There will be absolutely no hidden charges when using a Quittance personal injury solicitor.

Back to top

Calculate my lung cancer compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

Use our Online Compensation Calculator
Back to top

Meet the team

The nationwide panel of Quittance solicitors take on all types of personal injury claims, from short-term injury cases to serious, long-term injury. Our lawyers are chosen for their level of specialist experience and their track record in winning cases.

Meet the team - click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

About the author

With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert

Start a no win, no fee claim

If you have been injured and would like to talk to us about making a claim, contact us now for a no obligation discussion. Our expert personal injury solicitors have a 90% success rate and are on hand to help you now.

Contact us icon

Call us

Speak to an expert solicitor with no obligation.

0800 612 0699

Callback icon

Call me back

A solicitor will call you back at a time that suits you.

Call me back
Claim online icon

Claim online

Start a no win, no fee personal injury claim online.

Start a claim

Case studies

Serious Injury Solicitor

Rakhi Chauhan secures £80,000 following a road collision with a lorry

The victim was forced off the road when a lorry driver fell asleep at the wheel.

Read more
Serious Injury Solicitor

Kevin Walker obtains £80,000 for a construction worker's catastrophic hand injury

The worker also recieved trauma-specialist physiotherapy, welfare advice and state-of-the-art prostheses.

Read more

Ask an expert

If you have any questions about the claims process or any aspect of injury compensation, let us know:

Be the first!