A Guide to Claiming Passive Smoking Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
In the following article we explain everything you need to know about making a passive smoking compensation claim.
Most people are aware of the serious health risks associated with smoking.
Unfortunately second-hand or passive smoking may carry the same risks as smoking itself. Although less smoke is inhaled, the toxins may still enter the lungs.
Non-smokers should avoid spending time in a smoky atmosphere to avoid developing health problems, but people whose jobs require them to work around smokers may find it difficult or impossible to avoid cigarette smoke completely.
If a non-smoker develops any of the illnesses, diseases or complaints associated with tobacco smoke, they may be able to claim compensation from their employers.
Illnesses associated with secondary smoking
Lung cancer is the most well-known but smoking has been linked to many other cancers. Quittance's panel of solicitors have represented clients suffering from respiratory conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis.
As well as compromising the immune system, reducing resistance to colds, flu and infections, inhaling tobacco smoke is also linked to impotence, infertility, heart disease, stroke, stomach ulcers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What about the ban on smoking in public places?
Prior to the ban on smoking in all public places in 2007 there were many instances where people were exposed to second hand cigarette or cigar smoke at their place of work.
Waiters, waitresses and bar staff are typical examples. Although the incidence of exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace is much lower since the implementation of the smoking ban, some people may still be experiencing health problems as a result of previous exposure.
In addition, there are still a number of workplaces where smoking is still permitted, such as residential homes, care homes and prisons. Staff such as care assistants, nurses and prison officers may still be exposed to second hand smoke and may suffer ill health as a consequence.
Do I have a passive smoking claim?
You should be able to make a passive smoking injury claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years and,
- someone else was at fault.
However, if these two points don't apply, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.
Get impartial advice on whether you have a claim - speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. We will not put you under any pressure to pursue a claim.
Alternatively you can try our Online Claim Checker.
What if it was a criminal incident?
If your Passive Smoking 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.
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 passive smoking claim on their own behalf.
The amount of money you could claim for your passive smoking 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 passive smoking 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 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.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
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.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your passive smoking 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.
No win, no fee, no risk
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a passive smoking claim without having to worry about upfront legal fees. If your passive smoking claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a passive smoking claim, even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my passive smoking 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my passive smoking claim?
If your passive smoking claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning workplace illness 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:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
Passive Smoking 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.
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.
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*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
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.
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.
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.
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