Pneumoconiosis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by pneumoconiosis, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Referring to a group of chronic occupational lung diseases, ‘pneumoconiosis' includes asbestosis, berylliosis, byssinosis, coal worker's pneumoconiosis (black lung), kaolin pneumoconiosis, siderosis and silicosis.
Asbestosis is most common, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reporting several thousand asbestosis cases a year. Excluding asbestosis, there were 135 estimated new cases of pneumoconiosis seen by chest physicians in the same year (THOR-SWORD).
If you have been diagnosed with a form of pneumoconiosis, and your disease was caused by your employer's (or former employer's) negligence, you will usually be entitled to claim compensation.
Do I have an injury claim?
As a basic rule, you can make an injury claim if your injury occurred:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- someone else was at fault, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
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 an injury claim on their own behalf.
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.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Pneumoconiosis compensation amounts
The following pneumoconiosis payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|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|
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a pneumoconiosis injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Can I claim for prescription costs?
Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the pneumoconiosis injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
- Instant accurate calculation
- Checks your right to claim
- Confirms No Win, No Fee eligibility
How long does a pneumoconiosis claim take?
How long it can take to secure compensation for pneumoconiosis can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a couple of months. If the defendant denies liability, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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.
What causes pneumoconiosis?
Pneumoconiosis is caused by inhalation, and retention in the lungs, of dusts. Characterised by scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue, symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent cough, fatigue, laboured and rapid breathing and chest pain.
The type of condition a person develops depends on the particular dust inhaled, as follows:
- Asbestosis - asbestos
- Silicosis - silica (found in sand, sandstone, clay, granite and slate)
- Coal worker's pneumoconiosis (black lung) - coal
- Berylliosis - beryllium
- Byssinosis - vegetable fibres (such as flax, hemp, cotton dust or sisal)
- Kaolin pneumoconiosis - kaolin (used in ceramics, paper, medicines and cosmetics)
- Siderosis (welders' lung) - iron particles
After asbestosis, the most common types are coal worker's pneumoconiosis (black lung) and silicosis.
Who is at risk?
Any individual - or group of individuals - who has been exposed to one or more of the dusts or chemicals linked to the disease could develop pneumoconiosis.
Some of the most common industries affected by pneumoconiosis include:
- Iron working
- Fabric and ceramic manufacturers
As it usually takes years to develop (over 10 years between past exposure and onset of symptoms), most cases now occur in retired workers and reflect historic working conditions.
If you suspect you could have or are at risk of developing work-related pneumoconiosis, speaking to a medical specialist is an important step.
Medical advice will help you access treatment and can also to demonstrate a link between the disease and likely causes. A solicitor can help arrange an appointment with a doctor if help has not already been sought.
What questions will the specialist ask?
During a medical consultation, the doctor will ask questions regarding your current job and past work history, to establish whether your condition was indeed a result of exposure in a work environment.
As pneumoconiosis in the UK is a ‘notifiable' disease, doctors are duty bound to notify the individual's employer (with permission) of a diagnosis who. In turn, the employer should escalate it to the HSE.
Who can I claim pneumoconiosis compensation from?
In the majority of cases, a claim would be made against the employer (or the employer's insurers) - even if you no longer work for that company.
All employers are legally obliged to provide a safe work environment - this falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and, more specifically for pneumoconiosis, the Control of Hazardous Substances Act (2002).
How do I know if my employer was negligent?
Employers are required to carry out a full risk assessment to identify potential hazards - including dangerous dusts such as silica - and put control measures in place to protect employees who might come into contact with them. This could include installing sufficient ventilation or supplying suitable breathing apparatus.
If your disease occurs because your employer did not provide adequate protection from harmful dusts, their actions would be seen as negligent, making them liable for your condition.
Is the pneumoconiosis claims process straightforward?
Because the pneumoconiosis diseases are long-latency, it could mean that the employer is no longer trading or has relocated, so claims in this area can be more complex. For example, locating the correct employer and the correct insurer can take time.
In addition, an employer could argue that they did not know the risks at the time or that they had provided sufficient controls but the person affected did not follow them as instructed.
Your solicitor will have experience identifying the employer or insurer responsible for your compensation, and will handle any attempts to dispute liability for your condition.
What kind of outcome can I expect?
Many pneumoconiosis claims have a successful outcome. Your solicitor will give you an idea at the start of the process regarding your approximate chances of success.
Although compensation cannot change the past, it can help you achieve a better quality of life and manage your condition with professional support and specialist treatment.
In addition to claiming personal injury compensation, pneumoconiosis conditions are also covered by disablement benefit.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without needing to worry about upfront legal fees. If your injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How we can help you
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.
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury 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.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.