Respiratory and lung disease compensation claims
This article considers everything you should know about making a successful lung disease compensation claim.
Lung disease, or respiratory disease, encompasses a range of disorders affecting the lungs - from asthma and infections such as pneumonia to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer. For the sufferer, significant pain, discomfort and breathing difficulties can be a daily battle.
Compensation claims for lung disease typically involve chronic respiratory disorders brought on by hazardous work environments through exposure to harmful dust or chemicals. Unfortunately, these injuries could have been avoided if the employer had adequately managed the risks.
If you have been diagnosed with a respiratory or lung disease in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Work-related lung disease can affect any employee carrying out their duties in an environment where certain hazardous substances - such as dusts and chemicals - are present. Some of the most susceptible industries include mining, manufacturing, construction and farming.
Exposure can be long or short lived, but intense enough to cause someone to develop a lung condition. Factors which heighten exposure include confined spaces, insufficient ventilation and inadequate protective equipment.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have identified (using figures by THOR-SWORD and IIDB) some of the top offenders for lung disease according to disorder:
Isocyanates; flour/grain dust; wood dust; welding dust; latex
COPD (which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema)
Coal dust; welding fumes; cotton dust; flour dust; wood dust; silica; isocyanates, cadmium, vanadium, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Asbestos; silica; diesel engine exhaust fumes
Asbestos; coal dust; silica
Dust or spores from mouldy hay, grain and straw
Symptoms can range from restricted breathing and persistent coughs to mucus secretions, wheezing and chest tightness. Depending on the disorder they can also be severely debilitating and even life-threatening. Some diseases, such as COPD, is a long-latency disease, meaning symptoms tend to develop years after first exposure, often becoming manifest in later life.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Whether an employer has knowingly or unknowingly exposed employees to harmful substances and they have suffered lung disease as a result, the employer could be held liable.
Employers have a legal responsibility to reasonably ensure that employees do not come to harm. This ?duty of care' extends through a number of legal regulations which govern the health and safety of a workplace.
One of the most relevant to lung disease compensation claims is The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. These regulations require to employer to:
- Carry out an assessment of hazardous substances, including their risk to health
- Take steps to adequately control exposure where prevention is not possible
- Inform staff on the risks and review procedures
- Control exposure and use controlling methods such as installing extractor fans
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as breathing masks
Other relevant legal statutes include the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPE); Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
If an employee fails to follow these legal guidelines, resulting in employer harm, a case can be built around it. Evidence is vital in proving employer negligence and can take the form of medical reports and prognosis, company records and witness accounts.
Making a compensation claim for lung disease can be a complex and lengthy process. Although the prospect of it can be a worrying, with the right legal advice, it need not be.
Quittance's panel of specialist injury solicitors have a wealth of experience in compensation claims resulting from employer negligence. They offer guidance through every step to help achieve a realistic pay-out to cover pain and suffering, medical fees and rehabilitation costs.
Guidelines for awards are laid out by the Judicial College. The awards are proposed with reference to an injury's extent and nature. Compensation recommendations are made in the guidelines using tables of upper and lower awards for an injury.
Though these ranges are guidelines only and not set in stone yet insurance companies, solicitors and the Courts will follow them in the majority of cases. Our Compensation Claims Report will look at the factors affecting your likely compensation by referring to these guidelines.
You can also claim special damages for travel expenses (e.g. for hospital appointments), the cost of medical treatment and damage to personal possessions.
A no win no fee agreement (more correctly referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between the claimant and a suitably qualified lawyer.
A no win no fee agreement is the conditions under which the solicitor works for the client.
The contract sets out what the lawyers will actually do as well as how they is paid if the compensation claim is won.
If you choose Quittance Personal Injury for your lung disease compensation claim there are absolutely no hidden or extra costs in the terms and conditions , nothing to pay up-front and the peace of mind that you will not be out of pocket.
Meet the QLS team
Our nationwide panel of solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims and have a wealth of expertise with fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Chosen for their winning track record, Quittance's panel solicitors have years of dedicated experience.
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