A Guide to Claiming Respiratory and Lung Disease Compensation

This article considers everything you should know about making a successful lung disease compensation claim.

Introduction

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.

Do I have a respiratory and lung disease claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make a respiratory and lung disease claim if your injury occurred:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

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

To get an impartial answer, you can speak to a respiratory and lung disease claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will confirm whether you have a claim. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Alternatively you can try our Online Claim Checker.

What if it was a criminal incident?

If your Respiratory And Lung Disease injury resulted from a criminal incident, you can pursue a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA must receive your application within 2 years of the Incident Date.

Read more

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 a respiratory and lung disease claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

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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 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:

Asthma

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

Lung cancer

Asbestos; silica; diesel engine exhaust fumes

Pneumoconiosis/Silicosis

Asbestos; coal dust; silica

Farmer's lung

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.

How can employer negligence be proved?

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.

Seeking professional advice

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.

How much compensation can I claim for a respiratory and lung disease?

The amount of money you could claim for your respiratory and lung disease 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 respiratory and lung disease 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.

See a list of what you can claim for:

Examples of special damages include:

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

Respiratory And Lung Disease compensation amounts

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

Injury Severity Example Amount
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 Life-threatening disease affecting a young person £80,250 to £108,370
Lung disease Severe Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment £55,830 to £108,370
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Find out what your claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

Calculate my injury claim

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your respiratory and lung disease case 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:

At work

If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Work Accident Claims - What you need to know

Medical negligence

According to the latest figures published in 2019, there were over 17,000 clinical negligence claims in the year 2016-17. This increase is largely down to an overstretched NHS.

If you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Clinical Negligence Claims - What you need to know

Other claim types

Find details on another type of claim:

See list of other claims

No win, no fee - the facts

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.

No win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a respiratory and lung disease claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my respiratory and lung disease claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only 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 respiratory and lung disease claim?

If your respiratory and lung disease claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about how no win, no fee works

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

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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Respiratory And Lung Disease 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 will my claim take?

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

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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 interim compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.

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.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert