A Guide to Claiming Passive Smoking Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by cigarette smoke we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered cigarette smoke and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
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?
It should be possible to make a passive smoking claim if:
- you were diagnosed in the last three years and;
- someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.
Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
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.
What can I claim for after a passive smoking? (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
What is the average injury compensation for a passive smoking claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a passive smoking will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your passive smoking compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
I can't find my injury in the table, can I still claim?
The table is a list of the most common injuries associated with a passive smoking claim. You can see the full list of injury awards here: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Will a work injury claim affect my benefits?
It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Passive smoking compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a passive smoking 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 passive smoking claim could be worth now:
How long does a cigarette smoke claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for a cigarette smoke-related illness can vary considerably.
For instance, a straightforward uncontested personal injury claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. If the employer denies liability, a claim can take longer. Typically, a work-related illness claim takes 6 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for a passive smoking after the law changes in April 2020?
The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.
You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).
In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your passive smoking claim 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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning workplace illness 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
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 do I have to make a passive smoking claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the passive smoking to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your passive smoking claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a passive smoking 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.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim passive smoking compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a passive smoking claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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 early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
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
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