A Comprehensive Guide To Making Emphysema Compensation Claims

How Much Compensation Could Your Emphysema Claim Be Worth?

By Olivia Alison. Last Updated 6th May 2021. Welcome to our guide on emphysema compensation claims.

Emphysema is a chronic and progressive condition affecting the lungs. It affects a person by enlarging and damaging the air sacs of their lungs. Emphysema is one of a family of diseases which can be referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD for short. It is a progressive and currently incurable condition that reduces a person’s overall respiratory system and leads to chronic breathlessness. An emphysema claim is made in cases where someone has contracted the condition due to someone else’s action, inaction, or negligence.

emphysema compensation claims

emphysema compensation claims

Some of the most common causes of emphysema are air pollution, the inhalation of dust, particles or chemicals in a workplace, or smoking. This may also include second-hand smoke in a workplace, or other frequently visited location if you have been exposed to dust, particles, pollutants or chemicals in the workplace and have developed emphysema. As a result, you may be entitled to compensation.

There are several industries, workplaces, and types of employees that are more likely to be exposed to factors that could cause emphysema. These include (but are not limited to) dry cleaners and coal miners and any other industry in which staff may be exposed to material dust, fine cotton dust, and irritants or particles such as coal or cadmium. Prolonged exposure can irritate the lungs and lead to emphysema.

If you have developed emphysema due to actions that were not your fault, talk to Accident Claims UK today about making emphysema compensation claims. Our friendly team is on hand to take your call on 0800 073 8801.

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A Guide To Emphysema Compensation Claims

According to estimates from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as many as 15% of people suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) could have developed the condition due to exposure in the workplace. If correct, this equates to as many 4,000 deaths per year across the country.

The industries in which employees are most commonly affected by COPD and emphysema are dry cleaners and coal miners. This is because both working environments contain lots of tiny particles and fine dust, which can irritate the lungs over time. Over time, this can lead to the development of emphysema.

If you’d like to make a lung-related disease compensation claim, such as emphysema compensation claims, please don’t hesitate to talk to our team today.

What Is Emphysema?

Before we look at emphysema compensation claims, let’s first ensure we understand what emphysema is.

Emphysema is a long-term degenerative condition that can be caused by airborne irritants. These could be produced in industrial and chemical processes, though the condition can also be caused by smoking.

As COPD emphysema is a chronic and degenerative condition, it can often take many years for the symptoms to develop and for the condition to be diagnosed. People who suffer from emphysema may find that any existing medical conditions affecting the lungs or respiratory system in general (asthma, for example) may find that these conditions are exacerbated. Initial symptoms may also present as flu-like, with persistent coughing and phlegm. Sufferers may also experience frequent chest infections.

Initially, the effects of emphysema may be mild, with some difficulty in breathing. Over time, these symptoms will progress, and the inability to properly breathe can have a dramatic effect on the suffers quality of life.

Currently, emphysema is incurable, and when claiming compensation, your settlement, if successful, will take this fact into account. The COPD solicitor we can provide you with will fight for a settlement that also considers the progressively worsening nature of the condition.

Emphysema affects sufferers in several ways. The most pronounced of these is difficulty breathing. This may initially make strenuous exercise difficult before affecting everyday life, like walking up the stairs or even just getting up from the couch. Some sufferers may need to use medical equipment to help them breathe through the day. Common secondary effects on a sufferer may include psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Emphysema Facts And Statistics

Before we look at how to make emphysema compensation claims, let’s look at some relevant facts and figures.

Whilst cigarette smoke is the most prevalent cause of emphysema, there is also a genetic element to consider too. Those with a relative who has or had emphysema are more likely to develop the condition themselves. Some other key facts and statistics about emphysema include:

  • Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of emphysema in the general population.
  • The initial symptoms, including persistent coughs and shortness of breath.
  • One of the most used and reliable ways to diagnose emphysema is measuring lung capacity with a lung function test.
  • Whilst not curable, treatment options help manage the symptoms and include the likes of inhalers. In more cases, surgery may also be used.
  • People with the disease may be given additional vaccinations to help prevent them from getting secondary diseases that could severely affect their health.
  • One in five people in the UK are affected by long-term lung diseases, such as COPD and emphysema. One person dies every five minutes due to these conditions.
  • Lung disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK today.

In the table below, you can see the seriousness and the long-term trend in the instances of COPD in former coal miners in the UK.

coal miners compensation scheme

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/copd/index.htm

It isn’t just coal miners who could suffer lung diseases from work, though. According to the HSE, during 2020, there was estimated to be around 12,000 deaths linked to lung diseases related to exposures at work. Furthermore, the same report included data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), suggesting around 17,000 annual new cases of breathing or lung problems that were linked to workplace activity and which were reported by employees. Any of these or even unreported cases could pave the way for the likes of emphysema compensation claims.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Emphysema?

Before moving ahead with any emphysema compensation claims, let’s talk about how you can recognise emphysema. The most common signs and symptoms of emphysema are wheezing, a persistent cough and shortness of breath, as well as some tightness across the chest. Over time, prolonged exposure to pollutants can affect the walls of air sacs that line the lungs, making them larger.

This makes them less efficient and forces them to work harder to oxygenate your blood. And this, in turn, brings on shortness of breath, even if you are not doing anything strenuous. As the condition worsens, the muscles used in breathing become progressively weaker, making breathing more difficult. In the most advanced stages of the disease, people can find themselves permanently breathless.

In the latter stages of the disease, symptoms may include:

  • The development of mucus in the respiratory system
  • A loss of appetite, often accompanied by a loss of weight.
  • General feelings of fatigue
  • Frequently developing lung infections (though vaccinations for this can be provided)
  • Psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
  • Poor sexual function and a loss of interest in sex
  • A blue tinge in the extremities, such as the lips and fingernails, caused by oxygen deprivation
  • Problems sleeping properly
  • Headaches first thing in the morning caused by a lack of oxygen

These symptoms will become more pronounced over time. Whilst the lungs will progressively lose some function as a normal part of getting older, emphysema causes this to happen much quicker. The COPD settlement, which you could be awarded when making an emphysema claim, should consider this.

One of the complications which make treating emphysema difficult is the fact that the disease takes years to develop. In many cases, the symptoms only become apparent in the more advanced stages of the disease. The only treatment steps which can be taken are those to manage the symptoms of the condition.

To find out how much industrial lung disease compensation you could be entitled to as part of industrial disease claims and emphysema compensation claims, please talk to a member of our team today.

Is My Employer Liable To Pay Emphysema Compensation?

If you believe you contracted emphysema while in your workplace, such as working in a dry cleaner, and if you can clearly demonstrate that this is the case, you may be entitled to compensation. Across the UK, thousands of people who once worked as coal miners have made emphysema compensation claims for diseases caused by their employer’s negligence. The COPD lawyers we can provide you with have expert knowledge and experience in successfully helping people who need to make lung disease claims.

Your first step will be to show that you did indeed work for the employer you are claiming against. As emphysema symptoms can take years to become apparent, records of you having worked for the employer may not still be on file. The best way to conclusively prove employment is by showing payslips or your tax records. These documents will clearly show that you worked for the employer and can be obtained as part of the claims process.

Next, there will be several questions which your solicitor will need to ask you. These will relate to your working conditions and practices when in the role. Your solicitor will need to establish whether or not any preventative steps, such as being issued with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), were taken. Reviewing your medical history will also help to show your health before your employment. It will also help to determine whether your condition was caused by smoking or a work-related factor. Being able to answer these questions will help your solicitor to put together a stronger personal injury claim.

Why Should You Claim Compensation For Emphysema

In this section, we’ll look at why emphysema compensation claims may be made.

Respiratory conditions, such as emphysema, could have a huge effect on your overall quality of life. Difficulty in breathing can make it hard for you to continue working and thus impact your income and future earning potential. As well as this, your personal injury claim can take into account the fact that everyday activities, such as housework, will become more difficult. This, in turn, means you cannot live as independent a life as before, which can have a serious emotional and mental effect on you, too. You should not have to endure all of this when you may be entitled to compensation for your COPD or emphysema symptoms.

A common question which we are asked is, “can I claim compensation for COPD?”. If you developed emphysema due to your employment and the conditions you were exposed to, the answer is yes. In the UK, all employers are required by law to provide their employees with a safe working environment and the protective equipment and training necessary to carry out their job. If your employer breached their care duties to you, they could be liable for any injury or illness suffered.

How To Begin Your Emphysema Compensation Claim

For lung disease, COPD, industrial disease or emphysema compensation claims to happen after a death, there are several steps that you should take to ensure that you succeed. Firstly you should make sure that you are getting all the medical help and treatment that you need to make sure that the symptoms of your emphysema or COPD are under as much control as possible.

The next step is to get in contact with a specialist personal injury claim solicitor who can help you get COPD compensation. Making a compensation claim under any circumstances can be difficult and time-consuming to carry out. The burden of proof lies with the claimant, so your solicitor needs to be able to clearly show that your employer caused or contributed to the development of your illness.

In making an industrial disease or lung disease claim, it can be even more difficult to make a claim successfully. This is because the symptoms can take many years to present. As such, you may have left the employer where your exposure happened or have retired. To complicate matters, smoking can also cause or contribute to conditions such as emphysema. So you will need to establish whether or not this was a contributory factor in your case.

Additionally, if your symptoms did not develop until years or even decades after your exposure to risk factors, it can be difficult for your emphysema claim to draw a direct connection between your previous exposure to a pollutant and your illness. This is where using a specialist solicitor who has the knowledge and experience to pursue claims successfully can help you to get the compensation you deserve.

Emphysema And COPD Compensation Claims Calculator

In this section, we’ll look at what types of payouts emphysema compensation claims could yield.

If you have developed COPD or emphysema, you may be wondering how much compensation you can claim for emphysema or other lung diseases? Depending on the nature and severity, as well as your future prognosis, you could receive a different amount of compensation.

Guidelines for how much compensation a person should be awarded for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity (also known as general damages) are produced by the Judicial College. The guidelines are recommendations and are not legally binding, though they are commonly observed across the legal profession, by insurance companies, and in the courts.

Other than general damages, there is another head of claim you can make, and that’s known as special damages. This includes:

  • Loss of income/ earnings – if your illness has stopped you from working, you have had to reduce your hours, or you have lost benefits due to your illness, you could be able to claim compensation for this.
  • Medical costs – these may include the cost of prescription medication or private treatment, which is not available on the NHS. Medical costs may also include the cost of care in the home.
  • Travel costs – you may be able to claim for the cost of travelling to and from and medical appointments or other appointments related to your illness.

In the personal injury compensation calculator table below, we have included some of the most common types of payouts awarded as part of emphysema compensation claims.

Updated May 2021.

Disease/ causeSettlement bandNotes
Lung disease (a)£94,470 to £127,530Lung disease which affects a young person and where it may lead to premature death.
Lung disease (b)£65,710 to £91,350Lung diseases such as emphysema which lead to a gradual imparement of lung function and other symptoms such as impared breathing, coughing and disturebed sleep.
Lung disease (c)£51,420 to £65,710Inhalation of toxic fumes or smoke which leave some injury/ damage to the lungs. Injuries may not permanently affect lung function enough to interfere permanently with lung function.
Lung disease (d)£29,380 to £51,460Breathing difficulties requiring an inhaler frequently.
Lung disease (e)£19,510 to £29,380Bronchitis accompanied by wheezing.
Chest injury (a)£94,470 to £140,870Removal of one lung with prolonged pain.
Chest injury (b)£61,710 to £94,470Traumatic chest injury causing impaired function.
Chest injury (c)£29,380 to £51,460Damaged lung causing continuing disability.
Chest injury (d)£11,820 to £16,860Single penetrating wound causing tissue damage.

The figures in the table above are provided for illustrative purposes, and the actual amount of compensation you are awarded may vary.

No Win No Fee Emphysema Compensation Claims

If you wished to proceed with a claim, our solicitors could give you the option of entering into a No Win, No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees or disbursements your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case. If your case is successful, your solicitor will charge you what’s known as a success fee, which is deducted from the compensation you are awarded at the end of the claim. The crucial point to take away is that you will never have to pay anything out of your own pocket.

Why Make Your Compensation Claim With Us?

Making emphysema compensation claims can be complex but our solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process. They’ll explain legal jargon in terms you understand, will strive to get you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to and will be on hand whenever you have a query or would like an update on the progress of your claim. They’ll remove all of the stress from the claims process and handle your case every step of the way, leaving you to focus on getting better.

Call Us For A Free Consultation

emphysema compensation claims

emphysema compensation claims

Whether you are ready to start making any emphysema compensation claims or would like to find out more about the process, talk to our team of experts today.

At Accident Claims UK, we are always on hand to take your call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us on 0800 073 8801 today. You can also contact our team by sending an email with the details of your case to office@accidentclaims.co.uk. Or find other ways to contact us here.

Useful Links

  • COPD in the Workplace
    Read more about COPD in the workplace in this overview and guide produced by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive.
  • British Lung Foundation
    Further information and advice about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and the family of diseases make up this group, such as emphysema from the British Lung Foundation.
  • Workplace Accident Claims
    Find out more about how to make a workplace accident, injury, or illness claim.
  • Punctured Lung Injury Claims
    Read about how a punctured lung injury claim could happen in the aftermath of previous lung damage.
  • Compensation For A Work-Related Illness
    Here, we provide details of what you should know about receiving compensation for an illness that came about from your work.

Emphysema Compensation Claims FAQs

Could I claim compensation for emphysema or COPD?

You could definitely make a claim for compensation for one of these conditions. It relies on you being able to prove that the defendant brought about your disease in some way. So long as you’re able to back up what you’re stating, then you may have a viable claim.

Is emphysema classed as a disability?

Emphysema is a lung disease brought about by extensive exposure to air pollution and/or smoke. As a result, you could qualify for disability benefits due to the impact of emphysema on your day-to-day life.

How fast could emphysema develop?

The disease tends to come about gradually, where you hardly notice that it’s developing. Breathing changes are minimal at first, but eventually, those suffering from emphysema notice permanent shortness of breath.

Could emphysema be serious?

It’s vital to receive medical treatment as soon as you first learn that you have emphysema. A failure to receive early treatment could see the disease bring about life-threatening health complications. These include holes in the lungs, which could make it even more difficult to breathe. That scenario may also lead to infections and potentially a collapsed lung.

Do I have grounds to claim?

Providing that your emphysema developed as a result of third-party negligence, meaning a third party failed to uphold their legal duty of care to you, then you could have grounds to make a claim against them.

How much compensation could I claim?

We would need to assess the unique circumstances of your case in order to provide you with any sort of payout estimate. For a free consultation with one of our specialist advisors, please get in touch today.

Am I required to have a lawyer in order to claim?

There is no legal requirement for claimants to have a lawyer handle their case. However, in securing such legal help, claimants could give their case the best chances of success and even take steps towards securing the maximum compensation they deserve.

How can I contact Accident Claims?

By calling the number at the top of the page, you can reach one of our specialist advisors right away in order to receive your free consultation. If you’d prefer, you can use our live chat feature or fill out one of our contract forms and get a call back instead about our legal services.

Editor HW/RB

Thank you for reading our guide about emphysema compensation claims.