If a respiratory disease has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Workplace respiratory diseases, from chronic bronchitis to occupational asthma, can result in claims for medical treatment, support for chronic care management, and compensation for reduced work capacity or early retirement.
If you have been affected by lung disease, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
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.
Compensation claims for lung disease typically involve chronic respiratory disorders brought on by hazardous work environments through exposure to harmful dust or chemicals. In many cases, a worker's injuries could have been avoided if their employer had adequately managed the risks.
If you have developed a respiratory disease because of your job role or working conditions, you may be able to claim compensation.
How much compensation can I claim for a respiratory disease?
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
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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 because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as inhalers, oxygen therapy, medication and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Average respiratory and lung disease general damages compensation
The following respiratory and lung disease 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||Life-threatening disease affecting a young person||£91,520 to £123,560|
|Lung disease||Severe||Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment||£63,660 to £88,480|
Understanding work-related respiratory disease
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 happen over a period of many years, or short-lived but intense enough exposure 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 causes of for lung disease:
Work-related asthma can develop following exposure to a very wide range of substances, including:
- Flour/grain dust;
- Wood dust;
- Welding dust;
- Latex dust.
COPD (which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema)
Exposure to many potentially-harmful particles can cause COPD, including: Coal dust; welding fumes; cotton dust; flour dust; wood dust; silica; isocyanates, cadmium, vanadium, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Occupational lung cancer can be caused following exposure to numerous toxic and harmful substances, including asbestos fibres, silica dust or diesel engine exhaust fumes.
Pneumoconiosis and Silicosis
Asbestos, coal dust and silica can all cause pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
Dust or spores from mouldy hay, grain and straw are a common cause of farmer's lung and related respiratory conditions.
What lung disease symptoms can I claim for?
You can claim for any and all symptoms associated with your lung condition that cause you pain and suffering, and that affect your daily life.
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.
Your solicitor will arrange for a medical assessment to work out how your symptoms have affected your life and ability to work. They will also assess how your condition could worsen in the future, to ensure you receive the full compensation you are eligible to claim.
How do I prove my employer was responsible for my lung condition?
Whether your employer has knowingly or unknowingly exposed employees to harmful substances and they have suffered lung disease as a result, your 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.
If your employee fails to follow their legal duty, they may be negligent and therefore liable for your injuries.
Your solicitor will gather evidence to prove your employer's negligence. This evidence can take the form of medical reports and prognosis, company records and witness accounts.
Occupational lung disease regulations
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.
Should I make a claim for lung disease?
Making a compensation claim for lung disease can be a lengthy process. Although the prospect of it can be a worrying, with the right legal advice, it need not be. Your solicitor will handle all the complexities, and ensure you receive fair compensation for the harm you have suffered.
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.
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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About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.