Lung Cancer Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by lung cancer we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered lung cancer 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 lung cancer compensation:

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

Do I have a lung cancer claim?

It should be possible to make a lung cancer claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last three years and;
  • someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

How much compensation can I claim for lung cancer?

The amount of money you could claim for your lung cancer 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 lung cancer 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

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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a lung cancer? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Lung cancer compensation amounts

The following lung cancer payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Lung disease
Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler £24,950 to £55,830
Life-threatening disease affecting a young person £80,250 to £108,370
Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment £55,830 to £108,370

What is the average injury compensation for a lung cancer claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a lung cancer will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your lung cancer 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.

Lung cancer compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a lung cancer 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 lung cancer claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a lung cancer claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for lung cancer can vary considerably.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your lung cancer 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.

Causes of lung cancer 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.

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.

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

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee removes the risk from making a lung cancer claim. If you don't win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your lung cancer injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my lung cancer claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. 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 lung cancer claim?

If your lung cancer claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

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:

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Lung cancer FAQ's

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.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

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.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a lung cancer claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the lung cancer to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your lung cancer claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a lung cancer 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.

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 lung cancer compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a lung cancer claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

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.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

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.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert