Passive Smoking Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by cigarette smoke, we can help.
If your illness were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a work illness compensation claim with the help and support of a work injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your ill health. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your illness, lost earnings and other expenses. By law, your employer will have insurance to cover the cost of illness claims, and your compensation will be paid out of this policy.
We can help you make a work illness claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
Most people are aware of the serious health risks associated with smoking.
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 an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if:
- you were diagnosed in the last 3 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 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
Do I need a diagnosis before I can make a passive smoking claim?
If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a passive smoking claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
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
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.
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?
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:
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.
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 more:
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.
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, no risk
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without having 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 - our guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no 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, 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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 do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your passive smoking claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
Is there a catch?
The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.
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 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
- 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.
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.