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Lung Damage Injury Claims

Getting compensation for damage to the lungs

Our lungs are a vital part of our respiratory system, absorbing oxygen from the air we breathe and transferring it to the blood stream. We breathe involuntarily, without really thinking about it – so if something goes wrong, we will certainly know about it.

If we injure our lungs in an accident or develop respiratory and lung problems, we can suffer chest pain and breathing difficulties. Often, injuries happen because of someone else’s carelessness, such as an employer’s breach of duty of care. Thankfully, the opportunity is then available to make lung disease compensation claims.

A lung injury can happen most unexpectedly, for example if you suffer a chest injury in a road traffic accident or an accident at work. Our rib cage provides a protective framework for our lungs, so if you suffer a traumatic injury – a lung can be punctured by, for instance, a broken rib which can cause serious problems, such as fluid leaking into the lungs.

If you’re suffering a lung injury or illness through no fault of your own, it’s only fair that you should be able to claim compensation to help you on the road to recovery. You can contact a legally-trained adviser now, for free on 0800 234 6438 or fill out our disease claims form here.

No win no fee lung damage claims

An expert injury solcitor can help you claim maximum compensation by bringing a no win no fee claim under a conditional fee agreement; by using specialist personal injury solicitors who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), you will have peace of mind that your claim is being dealt with properly.

They will give free legal advice on whether employer negligence or medical negligence should be considered the cause of your lung disease.

How common is lung disease?

You may be surprised to know that respiratory and lung disease is one of the most common conditions in the modern world, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing for sufferers. Lung diseases, such as occupational asthma, can interfere with our normal lung functions, causing breathing problems and potentially serious conditions that need external medical support.

Serious respiratory and lung conditions, such as lung cancer and asbestos related disease can prove fatal. Yet many such illnesses are avoidable, prompting personal injury claims by the sufferers.

What are the typical direct causes of lung problems?

The most common causes of direct lung injury and disease include:

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Aspiration (breathing in liquids or stomach contents)
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Working in hazardous environments such as dusty workplaces
  • Near drowning incidents
  • High altitudes

Can lung problems also be caused indirectly?

Yes, as well as these ‘direct’ causes, lung injuries and diseases can be caused indirectly. For example, burns, severe internal infections and reactions to drugs and medications can all lead to lung issues – particularly for those already susceptible to lung problems.

Respiratory and lung disease can develop, sometimes many years later, because of being exposed to a dangerous workplace environment without suitable personal protective equipment. If this is what’s happened to you, get in touch soon to start a no win no fee lung disease claim for industrial disease compensation.

Can I make a claim for smoking?

The number one cause of lung damage in England is lung cancer, with smoking tobacco the biggest cause of lung cancer. In the UK, you cannot make a personal injury compensation for lung cancer as a direct result of smoking.

In some lung claims, smoking may be treated as a contributory negligence – which means your compensation may be reduced to reflect this.

Can I make a claim if my condition was not diagnosed?

Sometimes, personal injury cases are successfully brought by lung patients who have been misdiagnosed or there was a delay in diagnosis.

Unfortunately, delayed or misdiagnosis of lung conditions can lead to serious ill health and may eventually prove fatal. A high standard is expect of GPs and other medics, so it is only fair that a compensation claim for medical negligence may be made in these cases.

Can I claim for respiratory and lung disease?

Anyone who has developed work related respiratory diseases as a result of hazardous substance exposure, such as welder’s lung or farmer’s lung, is entitled to make lung disease compensation claims from the party at fault.

So long as you can demonstrate on balance that the employer or organisation was negligent, and you became ill as a result, can make a compensation claim – even if you think you contracted the illness many years ago.

The prospect of making a respiratory and lung disease compensation claim a long time after you were working may seem daunting, particularly if you were a young person when you were exposed to harmful dust or particles.

How does ‘no win no fee’ work?

Be assured that a specialist adviser is experienced with personal injury claims and will be able to put your mind at rest. Also, your solicitor will take on your case on a no win no fee basis, so there is no financial risk to you.

No win no fee (also known as a conditional fee agreement) is an agreement between you and your personal injury team, which means you won’t have to pay legal fees or costs if you don’t win your lung injury or disease case. Therefore, you won’t be left with a bill you can’t afford.

If your lung disease claim is successful, you’ll need to pay your solicitor’s success fee as a percentage of your respiratory disease compensation – but this will usually be a small portion of your personal injury claim – never be more than 25% of your compensation.

Your solicitor’s priority in all claims following lung damage and other such diseases is to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, so you don’t need to worry about all your compensation being taken up by legal fees and solicitors’ costs.

Get in touch now on 0800 234 6438 for free legal advice from an expert adviser or request a call back by using the form at the bottom of this page.

What are the symptoms of lung injury and disease?

Lung problems can lead to symptoms ranging from mild discomfort and coughing to significant breathing problems that require immediate medical attention. Traumatic lung injuries, for instance, can cause serious problems very quickly, such as severe pain and breathing difficulties.

On the other hand, the symptoms of lung disease can start almost imperceptibly – intermittent chest tightness, a slight cough and shortness of breath when exercising; before progressing to more obvious and worrying symptoms that are difficult to ignore.

If you think you’re developing a respiratory and lung disease and you believe it was caused by someone’s negligence, such as a former employer, it is vital to see your doctor and to take specialist legal advice as to the next steps you should take.

DID YOU KNOW: Hospital admissions for lung disease rose over the seven years up to 2020 at three times the rate of all admissions generally.

What are the different types of lung damage and disease?

Because our lungs are quite large organs and comprise different parts, lung injury and disease can affect us in a variety of ways. The lungs are covered by the pleura – a thin layer of tissue.

Our lungs themselves comprise the bronchi (tubular branches) which then divide into small branches called the bronchioles. Finally, the bronchioles branch out into even smaller clusters of tiny air sacs calls the alveoli. Different respiratory diseases affect different parts of the lungs. The main types of respiratory or lung disease include:

  • Occupational asthma – where the airways are inflamed and become wheezy. Typically caused by allergy or pollution, or by breathing in iron particles
  • Mesothelioma – a form of cancer of the pleura forming a long time after contact with asbestos
  • Chronic bronchitis – producing a long-term wet cough.
  • Asbestosis – where the sufferer has inhaled tiny asbestos fibres, leading eventually to lung scarring and stiff lung tissue
  • Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (‘black lung disease’) – caused by inhaling coal dust and causes inflammation and scarring
  • Silicosis – where the suffered has inhaled crystalline silica
  • Byssinosis (‘brown lung disease’) – caused by breathing in dust from hemp, flax and cotton processing
  • Respiratory acidosis – a disease where the lungs are unable to expel all the carbon dioxide produced by the body
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis – a disease caused by allergy, whether it’s inhalation of, eg fungus spores, bacteria, animal/plant proteins. This causes inflamed alveoli and potential scar tissue.

Can I make a lung disease claim for COPD?

One of the most serious lung diseases is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – an incurable lung condition which is a major cause of disability and death. COPD is a term for progressive limitations in the lungs’ airflow, mainly caused by chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Though smoking is the biggest cause of COPD – NHS England says smoking is thought to be responsible for 90% of cases – it is by no means the only cause.

In the workplace, COPD can be triggered (or existing cases made worse) by dusts such as grains, wood dust and silica; fumes such as welding fumes; and irritating gases.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), up to 15% of COPD is thought to be caused or worsened by work; and 40% of patients suffering with COPD are younger than retirement age.

Symptoms can begin imperceptibly and gradually, but can include a persistent cough, wheezing and more frequent chest infections. It can also take years or even decades to develop. Importantly, COPD among former coal miners is now recognised for the purposes of claiming industrial injuries disablement benefit.

Occupations in which workers have been found to be particularly at risk include seafarers, industrial cleaners, roofers, packers, painters and sculptors, food, drink and tobacco processors, those working with plastics, agricultural workers and warehouse stock handlers.

Thankfully, if you believe your COPD condition was caused by your working environment, you may well be able to claim compensation, so speak with us now for information about the claim process. We will partner you with expert solicitors, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority who can help in securing maximum compensation for your condition.

DID YOU KNOW: Around 4,000 people died every year due to work-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Who is at risk of developing work-related respiratory illness?

Anyone working in a hazardous environment where dust and fumes are in the air are at risk of developing a lung disease. Construction workers and employees in industries such as manufacturing and mining are at particular risk of developing lung disease.

The reality is that coal and chalk mining creates dust; factories create fumes; printing presses produce ink aerosols; panel beating in a car garage can create paint fumes; and agricultural work can lead to inhalation of pesticide fumes.

If you or a loved one has worked in any of these types of environments, your risk of developing a respiratory disease is relatively high.

It is important to note any symptoms you may be displaying and consider whether you have a viable no win no fee claim with the help of your specialist solicitor experienced in taking on lung disease compensation claims.

Causes of lung disease in relation to the workplace

We should all expect to go to work and do our job safely. No one should have to be put at risk of developing a lung problem because of the environment in which they were expected to work. Fortunately, even if you think you or your loved one’s lung disease was caused by working somewhere very many years ago – you should still be able to make a respiratory claim.

Though most cases of industrial lung disease develop following a failure to control exposure to irritants, in some cases one-off exposure is sufficient to trigger illness – even if that illness does not become apparent for some time in the future.

Unfortunately, there are a number of different causes of lung disease in the workplace, such as:

  • Exposure to asbestos, coal dust, crystalline silica, hemp dust
  • Inhalation of bacterial fungus spores and animal or plant proteins
  • Exposure to, and inhalation of print dust, paint fumes and sculpture dust
  • Inhalations of water and liquids causing near-drowning
  • Workplace accidents causing traumatic lung injuries

These poor working conditions are preventable with effective measures in place. Employers should carry out regular risk assessments to identify the risks and review procedures. This is important to ensure adequate controlling methods, for example for protecting against silica dust, can be implemented.

DID YOU KNOW: Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England. The annual cost of asthma and COPD on the NHS is nearly £5 billion. All lung conditions directly cost the NHS £11 billion every year.

What are employers’ legal obligations?

Because of the risks in the workplace, employers have clear legal obligations to minimise the risks to which their workforce is exposed, and if they fail to do so there is a likelihood of injury or illness. The fact is, work-related lung diseases are preventable and should not happen.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure that all workers are able to carry out their jobs in a safe environment, and that includes protecting them as far as reasonable possible from the risk of inhaling harmful substances.

In addition, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) apply to workplaces where workers are expected to work with hazardous chemicals, dusts and fumes. COSHH sets out how employers should control hazardous substances in the workplace and comply.

Employers must carry out risk assessments and implement the necessary measures to reduce the risks as far as reasonably possible. For example, these may include:

  • Providing the proper protective gear, such as masks
  • Checking workers’ lung function
  • Regular monitoring of air quality
  • Providing training as to the risks and how workers can take steps to reduce the risks
  • Effective supervision

Fortunately, industrial disease, such as lung and respiratory conditions, are a known and recognised risk for which the sufferer is legally entitled to secure compensation on a no win no fee basis.

How can I make a lung damage claim?

If you’ve suffered a lung problem or developed a lung condition or respiratory disease and you weren’t to blame, you can make a lung disease claim. Money won’t wind the clock back but it will go way to help with your recovery – or at the very least, with helping you learn to manage and live with your condition.

Contact an experienced and sympathetic legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 with the details of your case, or fill out the online form if you prefer. There’s no obligation to carry on, but the sooner you think about making your lung injury claim the better.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If it was a traumatic injury to your lung, such as a road traffic accident or an accident in the supermarket or at work, you have three years from the date of your accident to start your claim, otherwise it may be time barred.

In the case of industrial disease such as lung diseases, this three-year limitation period starts to run from the date you could reasonably have known that the incident or period of time at work was responsible for your condition.

My employer is no longer in business – can i still claim?

You may no longer be working for the company where you believe you suffered the harm. The important thing is, so long as your solicitors are able to trace their insurance company you can take steps to start your claim.

Give as much information about your former employer as you can and your lawyer will carry out an investigation to locate them or their insurer.

Your personal injury lawyer will take your case on a on a no win no fee basis, meaning that if you don’t win your case, you won’t have to pay out any money. When you speak to them, they will ask you for as much information as possible to help build your case.

Your lawyer’s aim is ensure you are able to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

How much lung damage compensation could I get?

How much compensation you can win for respiratory and lung disease depends on a number of factors such as injury severity, so it’s difficult to estimate so early on how much you could be in line to get. The official Judicial College Guidelines for compensation, which lawyers follow, suggest:

  • Mesothelioma – £63,650 to £114,460
  • Lung cancer – £70,030 to £97,330
  • Asbestosis – £35,500 to £105,850
  • Chronic to severe asthma – £26,290 to £65,740
  • Mild asthma and bronchitis – up to £5,150

As you can appreciate, these are wide-ranging estimates. It is therefore important to discuss your own circumstances with specialist personal injury lawyers experienced in work related lung disease claims.

Relevant factors include the nature and extent of your condition and the overall effects on your life.

How can I prove how bad my illness is?

In any personal injury claim, medical evidence will be needed to support the compensation claim.

The particular challenge with occupational lung disease is that the full extent of the effects on your life can take a long time to become apparent, meaning an uncertain prognosis. For these reasons, expert medical evidence will become necessary – your solicitor will arrange this on your behalf.

The specialist – probably a respiratory doctor – will look into the full background and examine you carefully. They will then write a report setting out his or her view on your condition and the prognosis for your future.

This will be vital to enable your lawyers to negotiate a fair settlement that you deserve.

Can I also claim for the financial impact?

Yes, you can also claim ‘special damages’ to compensate you for your financial losses, such as lost earnings, loss of future earnings, the costs of rehabilitation, therapy and medical costs. Try to gather as much information as you can, such as invoices and receipts, to pass onto your injury lawyer.

Your personal injury solicitor will also be able to give legal advice about financial support you may be entitled to.

DID YOU KNOW: The BBC admitted liability for the death of a BBC symphony orchestra member who died from mesothelioma in April 2021. He spent 36 years playing his instrument in a studio riddled with asbestos dust.
SOURCE: The Guardian

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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