Pneumoconiosis is an occupational lung disease that results from breathing in certain types of airborne dusts that are present in some workplaces.
There are different types of pneumoconiosis. Each one is caused by a different type of dust. Exposure to asbestos, coal and silica dust are some of the most common workplace mineral dusts that cause the symptoms of this disease.
Importantly, if you’re suffering from pneumoconiosis and believe your employer is to blame, you may be eligible to make a pneumoconiosis compensation claim.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Pneumoconiosis Compensation Claim?
- Common Causes Of Pneumoconiosis
- The Coal Industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme (CIPCS)
- How Much Compensation For Pneumoconiosis Could I Claim?
- Evidence To Support A Pneumoconiosis Compensation Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming Pneumoconiosis Compensation
- Starting The Pneumoconiosis Compensation Claims Process
Before commencing a compensation claim for pneumoconiosis, a few points need to be verified to determine your eligibility. To do this it is usually best to seek legal advice and speak with a personal injury solicitor from our team. Initially, an advisor will first attempt to determine:
- Your employer failed in their duty of care towards you through negligence; and
- As a result of the negligence, you developed pneumoconiosis.
If it appears your employer was negligent and a pneumoconiosis compensation claim is viable, a personal injury solicitor could assist you with making a claim by gathering relevant evidence to show that the defendant is guilty of negligence, resulting in you becoming ill.
As an employee, your employer has a responsibility to exercise a duty of care towards you. This includes ensuring that reasonable steps are taken to protect your health and safety while you are working, as outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.
Employers are also required to follow the regulations set out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) legislation. They should conduct thorough risk assessments to identify any potential hazards that could be harmful to their employees. Once identified, safety measures should be put in place to keep their employees safe. This could be providing adequate PPE such as breathing equipment or making sure the area is well ventilated for example.
If the employer is negligent and therefore fails in their duty of care, they may be liable to pay compensation if you develop pneumoconiosis as a result.
If you are no longer employed by the business that you believe caused your illness, you could still file a claim against them. Our solicitors can advise you on how to do this.
The most common types of pneumoconiosis and their causes include:
- Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis. The symptoms of this condition can develop even 10 to 20 years after the first exposure.
- Inhaling silica dust can cause silicosis. Silica dust is usually found in sand, rock, granite, sandstone, slate and clay. Stonemasons, miners, foundry workers and sandblasters are most susceptible to this condition.
- Berylliosis is caused by inhaling airborne dust of beryllium, a lightweight but strong metal that is used extensively in the aerospace, nuclear power and electronics industries.
- Coal miners are at high risk of developing symptoms of CWP or Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis because of their extensive exposure to coal dust. Coal miners may also be at risk of silicosis from having to drill into rock, which is composed of silica.
- Byssinosis is caused by the inhalation of airborne vegetable fibres such as hemp, flax, sisal and cotton.
- Exposure to kaolin dust from working with ceramics, medicines, cosmetics and paper, causes Kaolin pneumoconiosis.
- Siderosis also known as welders’ lung results from inhaling the dust generated when working with iron particles.
- Farmer’s lung can result from inhaling straw dust or mouldy hay and is often found in farming and agricultural industries.
Workers who are employed in the mining, iron, shipbuilding, construction and ceramics industries are at the highest risk for developing the symptoms of pneumoconiosis.
It is very important to realise that even after the exposure to dust has stopped, the disease can take many years to develop. Employers are expected to provide a safe working environment for their employees, otherwise, they risk being in breach of their duty of care.
The exact symptoms that a person develops depend on the particular dust that they inhaled. Some of the symptoms of pneumoconiosis that are common across all conditions include:
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Laboured or rapid breathing.
- Chronic cough.
- Weight Loss.
The symptoms can take a number of years to develop and may not be apparent until the disease is in the advanced stages. If you’ve been exposed to dust particles on a regular basis, you should visit your GP as soon as possible if you begin to experience any of the above symptoms.
If you have developed pneumoconiosis caused by coal mining, you may be eligible to make a claim through the Coal Industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme (CIPCS). CIPCS is a scheme funded by the government to provide compensation to those who have developed pneumoconiosis due to working in the coal mining industry. It was first established in the 1940s to compensate coal miners that went on to develop pneumoconiosis.
Compensation is provided to cover expenses such as medical or travel expenses that you may have incurred since developing pneumoconiosis. CIPCS aims to enable people to make pneumoconiosis compensation claims as simply and efficiently as possible and is run by The Department For Work And Pensions.
The scheme may not be able to cover all cases and so seeking legal advice from our personal injury solicitors is advisable to help you understand your rights and the claiming process.
Compensation claims for industrial illnesses such as pneumoconiosis are typically made up of two types of damages:
- General Damages – These refer to the severity of your illness, the amount of pain and suffering endured, any psychological issues resulting from the illness, loss of amenity and future prognosis.
- Special Damages – These cover any monetary losses and expenses you may have incurred as a result of the pneumoconiosis disease, such as:
- Medical expenses: Prescription costs, medical care or treatment costs etc.
- Travel expenses: Includes any travel costs to medical or treatment appointments.
- Care costs: If you have needed care in the home because of your pneumoconiosis, these costs may be covered.
- Loss of income: If you have had a loss of income as a result of your illness, this may be taken into consideration as well as any predicted future losses.
If you appoint a solicitor on our team to pursue a pneumoconiosis compensation claim on your behalf, they will ensure that all damages are considered and included before reaching a final settlement amount.
For a pneumoconiosis compensation claim to be successful, you need to be able to prove that the defendant is guilty of negligence which resulted in you developing pneumoconiosis. To be able to do this, you’ll need to provide evidence that supports your claim. Things you can do to help include:
- Make sure to consult with a medical professional regarding any pneumoconiosis disease symptoms. Getting a professional diagnosis will ensure you start the right treatment as soon as possible. A solicitor will be able to gain access to your medical report to use as evidence.
- Make a diary of all your pneumoconiosis symptoms and how the disease has affected your life.
- If possible, take photos or videos of your working environment that has contributed to your developing the disease.
- Keep receipts and records of any expenses you have incurred in relation to becoming ill.
- Take down the contact details of any witnesses such as work colleagues that can corroborate your claim.
It is best to start collecting evidence as soon as possible. This way you can be sure that it’s unlikely any important details are forgotten or missed. Our solicitors can help you to gather the evidence needed to support a pneumoconiosis compensation claim.
Personal injury claims, including pneumoconiosis claims, have strict deadlines. If you are diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, you’ll have 3 years from the date of diagnosis in which to file a claim.
Importantly, if you are making a pneumoconiosis claim after the death of a loved one, you’ll have 3-years to begin your claim from the date pneumoconiosis was identified as the cause of death, providing the 3-year time limit hadn’t already run out while they were alive.
As the symptoms of pneumoconiosis can take decades to appear before the disease is apparent, you could claim even if:
- Your employer’s business no longer exists.
- You weren’t an employee of the company you believe caused your illness.
Filing a pneumoconiosis claim for compensation as quickly as possible is important as it gives the solicitor enough time to gather the evidence they need to make a strong case.
When starting a pneumoconiosis compensation claim, we strongly recommend you instruct a personal injury solicitor to pursue your claim on your behalf.
If you call us on 0800 6524 881 you will be given a free consultation to discuss the nature of your claim and whether you are eligible to make a claim. Once eligibility has been considered, one of our personal injury solicitors may offer to take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis if they believe your claim will be a success. This means that you needn’t pay any upfront costs. We will simply deduct a percentage of the settlement if you’re case is successful. If your claim is unsuccessful, we do not ask for any payments to be made at all.
Thank you for visiting our site today for advice on pneumoconiosis compensation claims, and if you’d like to speak with a personal injury solicitor please call us or use the live chat provided.