Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD as it’s commonly called can have a devastating effect on your life. As well as causing you to suffer, COPD may mean your loved ones need to make changes to their lives to support you. Importantly, if your COPD diagnosis has been linked to previous working conditions, you may be able to claim compensation for your suffering. Our guide on COPD compensation claims has been written to make your options clear and to show how much compensation for COPD might be awarded.
You can speak to one of our advisors if there’s anything you’d like to know about claiming for COPD. You’ll receive free advice during a no-obligation consultation and you could be partnered with one of our personal injury solicitors if your claim is strong enough. However, you’ll only have to pay legal fees if your claim is won as they’ll work for you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Please call us on 0800 6524 881 today to discuss a COPD claim or read on to find out more about the claims process.
Table of contents
- What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
- Am I Eligible To Make A COPD Compensation Claim?
- Which Occupations Are Most At Risk Of COPD?
- What Types Of Negligence Can Lead To COPD Claims?
- How Much Compensation For COPD Could I Claim?
- Evidence To Support A COPD Compensation Claim
- COPD Claims Time Limits
- Starting The COPD Compensation Claims Process
COPD is a term used to describe several lung conditions according to the NHS. These include chronic bronchitis (where the airways are inflamed) and emphysema (where air sacs in the lungs are damaged).
The risk of COPD can increase if you are exposed to certain chemicals or dust particles in the workplace including flour dust, silica dust, cadmium dust, coal dust, isocyanates and welding fumes.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other pieces of work-related legislation place a duty of care on your employer. This means they must take reasonable steps to try and keep you safe whilst working.
You could be eligible to claim compensation for COPD if:
- Your employer breached their duty of care towards your well-being through an act of negligence; and
- Your COPD diagnosis has been linked to that negligence.
As you might have realised already, it can be tricky to prove how your employer’s negligence has caused your suffering. That’s why we suggest you consider taking on legal support. We believe that if you’re represented by a specialist solicitor, the chance of being compensated fairly for COPD will increase.
To see if a solicitor from our team could help you to claim COPD compensation, please get in touch with a member of our team today.
Unfortunately, COPD can become so debilitating that the sufferer is unable to manage the claims process on their own. In these cases, it might be possible for somebody else to become their litigation friend and file the claim on their behalf.
Our solicitors can help you to get approved as a litigation friend so that you can manage the COPD claims process on behalf of your loved one. If this is something you’d like to consider, please get in touch with a member of our team today.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), some of the occupations where you may be at higher risk of a COPD diagnosis are:
- Food production (flour and grain workers).
Even if we’ve not listed the industry you work in, you could be eligible to make a work-related COPD claim for compensation so please get in touch.
The NHS says that the main symptoms associated with COPD include:
- Frequent chest infections.
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity.
- Persistent wheezing.
- A chronic cough, sometimes with phlegm.
Generally, COPD symptoms can get worse over time so your normal activities will become harder. Flare-ups can make symptoms worse especially during the winter.
So, as we’ve just explained, generally your employer must’ve done something wrong if you’re to win a work-related COPD compensation claim. Some examples of negligence by an employer that could mean you’re entitled to COPD compensation include:
- If your employer failed to carry out regular risk assessments of the workplace.
- Where you worked in a poorly-ventilated working environment or your employer refused to install vents or fans.
- If you were not allowed to leave the workplace for regular rest breaks.
- If Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as breathing apparatus or face masks was not provided to reduce the risk of COPD.
- Where your employer failed to act upon concerns about your working conditions.
Essentially, if your employer failed in carrying out mandated health and safety procedures, and you’ve developed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as a result, your employer could be held liable to pay you compensation.
The amount of compensation for COPD you could be entitled to claim will generally be comprised of two types of damages, general and special damages. If your claim is accepted by one of our specialist solicitors, they’ll always try to ensure that you are fully compensated. That means they will consider whether you should be compensated for:
- Any physical discomfort, pain or suffering.
- Depression, stress or anxiety caused by your COPD symptoms.
- Medical expenses.
- The cost of a carer if needed.
- Lost income and future losses as well if you cannot return to work.
- Any impact COPD has on your normal activities and hobbies.
- Travel costs.
- The cost of modifying your vehicle or home to make it easier to store oxygen tanks and breathing apparatus if needed.
We believe that the chances of being fairly compensated for COPD will increase if your claim is handled by a personal injury solicitor from our team. To check if they could help you claim, please speak with us today by calling 0800 6524 881.
The Judicial College sets out guidelines (relating to general damages) for compensation amounts for various injuries, illnesses and diseases.
For a chronic lung condition such as COPD, compensation of between £54,830 to £70,030 may be applicable where the individual is experiencing a decline in lung function, leading to a notable impairment of breathing and suffering from persistent and frequent coughing, which is affecting the ability to get proper sleep. Additionally, physical activity and employment are restricted due to these symptoms.
As each claim is unique and based on the severity of your symptoms, an independent medical assessment will generally be needed as part of the COPD claim. This is not something to worry about and your solicitor will always try to book a local appointment to reduce any unnecessary travelling.
If you’ve been affected by COPD and decide to claim compensation for your suffering, your solicitor will try to provide as much evidence as possible to try and secure a compensation payment for you. Although you will claim against your employer, they’ll probably refer the matter to their insurance provider so the case will need to be as strong as possible.
Examples of the evidence that might be used in COPD compensation claims include:
- Medical notes. It is imperative that a GP has diagnosed that you’re suffering from COPD. Therefore, your solicitor will ask your GP for a copy of your medical records.
- Employment records. Your employment records may indicate that you were exposed to harmful substances in the workplace, which are known to cause or exacerbate COPD.
- Emails or letters from your employer. If you raised concerns with your employer regarding your working conditions, any replies could be put forward as evidence of negligence leading to COPD.
- A personal statement. To clarify how you’ve suffered, your solicitor will take a statement from you about your symptoms. They’ll also ask you to confirm your working history.
- Witness statements. Additionally, colleagues who worked with you might be asked to confirm your working conditions by providing their own statement.
- Financial records. To assist in recovering costs associated with your COPD, it’s recommended to keep all relevant financial records such as receipts, bank statements, and wage slips.
Your solicitor will help you to collect any evidence needed if they agree to represent you so please don’t worry if you don’t already have everything listed here.
As with other types of personal injury claims, there is a 3-year time limit for COPD claims. However, as COPD can take many years to fully develop, your limitation period will usually begin from the date your GP diagnosed the condition rather than when you were first exposed to the cause of your illness.
As part of their service, your solicitor will go through your work history with you to see which employer you need to claim against. Please bear in mind that COPD claims may be possible against employers you no longer work for.
In our experience, it’s always best to start the ball rolling and begin your claim quickly rather than risk losing out on any compensation because you left the claim too late.
To see how long you’ve got left to begin a COPD claim, please call today.
When you’re ready to start the COPD claims process, please feel free to call us on 0800 6524 881 for a free initial consultation. One of our specially trained advisors will find out more about your claim from you and explain your options.
As well as free legal advice about your claim, we could partner you with one of our personal injury solicitors. If they agree to help you claim compensation for work-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, they’ll manage your case on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you’d prefer to find out about COPD compensation claims online, you can use our free live chat service to connect with us.