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COPD & Emphysema Compensation Claims

Can I Claim for COPD and Emphysema Compensation?

If you’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Emphysema, and your doctor has linked these diseases to your work history, then you may be able to make a claim for COPD and Emphysema compensation.

COPD is also known as Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COLD), and Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease (COAD)

To find out if you can claim, speak to one of our experienced COPD and Emphysema claims advisors free of charge today on 01204 897589 or on live chat for a consultation. Alternatively, you can fill in one of our claims forms or use our Compensation Calculator, and we’ll call you back.

For a detailed explanation of COPD, including symptoms, causes, statistics, and treatment, read: Is That Cough Something More Serious? The Truth About COPD.

Why do I have COPD and Emphysema?

If you have a history of working with chemicals, fumes or in dusty environments with sub-standard protection, then your past work may be responsible for your condition. Employers, by law, are supposed to protect you from dangerous working conditions, either by introducing air filtration systems, or by providing respirators and breathing protection. If you received none of these, and found yourself breathing in harmful material, the employer responsible may be at fault.

If harmful substances in your workplace have given you COPD or emphysema, and you believe you weren’t supplied with the necessary protection, ventilation, or training to prevent it, you may be able to make a COPD claim, and should contact our expert solicitors.

How much could I Claim?

Every client is unique, so the way they became ill, and how this affects their life will vary between cases. In the same way, Emphysema and COPD affects different people, differently. Your age, life expectancy and the overall impact the disease has had, and will have on your life, is considered when working out your compensation amount. If your condition is severe, on average, emphysema and COPD compensation tends to be between £30,000 and £100,000.

Which professions are most likely to lead to COPD or Emphysema?

COPD and Emphysema, is generally caused by dangerous dust and fumes. So many construction and manufacturing professions are at risk. Careers that involve drilling, excavating, sawing or cutting of rock, stone or other potentially harmful materials have in some cases been found to have the same impact on health as smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. Other profession at risk include:

  • Coal Mining
  • Gold Mining
  • Cotton and Textile work
  • Welding
  • Working with Silica
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Work with Cadmium:
    • Battery manufacture
    • Aerospace electroplating
    • Cadmium-based painting
    • Photography
    • Soldering
  • Work with Isocyanates
    • Manufacture & use of pesticides
    • Spray painting
    • Foam, glue and resin production

If you are currently exposed, or were exposed to these kinds of materials in the past, you have a higher risk of developing COPD. And, this is especially true if:

  • you were not supplied with the correct safety equipment
  • the equipment was not properly maintained
  • you were not given the right training to use the equipment

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that these three things are the responsibility of your employer. They should provide:

“information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.”

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 add that your employer should also:

“identify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, eg when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.”

In short, your employer is responsible for your health and safety while you are at work. If they fail to do that, and you develop COPD, you could be eligible to make a claim for COPD compensation.

How much does claiming for COPD and Emphysema cost?

The majority of our cases are run on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. This means that if we are unsuccessful, it won’t cost you a penny. If we win, we will take a percentage of your damages to cover our costs at the very end of the case. The specific amount will be discussed with you and this will be agreed at the very beginning of your claim so there are no nasty surprises.

By running our cases this way, it removes the financial risk to you and gives everyone access to a quality legal service without you having to worry about the expense.

What are the Symptoms of COPD and Emphysema?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often starts as a cough that lasts for much longer than normal, also known as a ‘chronic cough’ – often lasting for more than three months at a time, for more than two years.

The lung contains clusters of small air sacs called alveoli. Emphysema sees the walls of these sacs break down, forming larger air sacs which do a bad job of absorbing oxygen from the air you breathe in, which is what causes shortness of breath.Many complain that they ‘can’t get enough air in’ it gets worse when exercising or doing physical activity. This usually gets worse over time as more air sacs are destroyed, making the lungs less efficient.

Some victims may even become barrel-chested, where increased pressure and breathing difficulty sees the ribcage fix at its most expanded position.

How is COPD and Emphysema Diagnosed?

A test known as a ‘Spirometry’ is used to diagnose COPD and Emphysema. First. a medication known as a bronchodilator is used to open up your airways. Second you’ll be asked to breathe out as much air, as quickly as you can in one breath after breathing in. If the ratios measured come out at less than 70%, and your symptoms match those of COPD a diagnosis may be made.

In some cases, an x-ray and a ‘complete blood count’ may be used to rule out other similar diseases. Where emphysema is suspected, a computed tomography (CT) scan may be used to see how much damage the emphysema has caused.

How is COPD and Emphysema Treated?

There is no cure for COPD and emphysema. But, the disease can be slowed down, and the affects on your day-to-day life can be managed. Often, you’ll be given bronchodilators to help with the shortness of breath and wheezing.

Corticosteroids may also be prescribed either in tablet form, or for inhalation to treat any flare-ups. Some may also be prescribed antibiotics where flare-ups occur more than twice a year. Flu vaccinations will be given every year, whilst a strep vaccine (Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine) is given every five years.

In the majority of cases, oxygen is provided to those with low oxygen levels when resting. It’s most effective when used up to 15 hours per day. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended where a lung transplant or volume reduction surgery may drastically improve the patient’s quality of life. Lung transplants are often reserved for young sufferers of COPD.

Do I Need to Claim Compensation for COPD?

If your working history allows for us to help you claim COPD compensation, you may wonder if you need to. Compensation is the legal way to ‘make things right’. Whilst it can’t repair the damage done to you and your family, it can help you with the costs of treatment, travel and support at home. Some people use this money to alter their home, for ease of movement. Others purchase cars with more space to accommodate the air tanks they may need with them throughout the day. For many, COPD and Emphysema compensation goes a long way to making their lives more comfortable.

A diagnosis of COPD could change your life forever. As the condition progresses, you may find that you are unable to work. If you are the main breadwinner in your family, this is obviously going to cause you some serious financial difficulty. Bills still need to be paid and your family still needs looking after. While some companies may be flexible, most are not, which means you could soon find yourself slipping into debt if you can’t keep up with your payments.

COPD compensation can help with this, covering your expenses so that you can focus on looking after yourself. As your condition progresses, you may find that it gets more difficult to do everyday things, such as shopping and housework. Compensation can pay for a home care worker, to come in and help you keep on top of day-to-day activities.
So if your illness is the result of exposure to toxic substances while you were at work, it’s only right your employer should compensate you.

If I make a Claim for COPD or Emphysema compensation, won’t this cause problems with my existing employer?

We know that many people worry about making a claim against their current or previous employer. They tell us that they don’t want further problems or to risk getting dismissed.
With COPD it’s a little different. If your symptoms are bad enough for a diagnosis of COPD to be made, it’s likely that you’re already too unwell to work. Even if this is not the case, there are laws to protect people who bring compensation claims against their employers. Your company cannot discipline or sack you for highlighting that your illness was caused by their errors.

In any case, your employer has insurance to cover them for situations like this. If you are awarded compensation, it does not come out of their personal pocket. Think of it like car insurance, the money will come from your employer’s insurance policy.

So, even if your employer is a good friend, or someone you’ve known for years, it should not stop you claiming. If they failed to care for your health while you were at work, they have left themselves open to claims for compensation.

Where Can I Get Help and Advice on COPD and Emphysema?

As it is a common condition, there’s lots of information and support available online for COPD. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) is a great source for detailed information on COPD.

We’ve also put together a comprehensive resource about COPD called Is That Cough Something More Serious? The Truth About COPD. The guide details symptoms, causes, statistics, and treatment, alongside information making a claim.

If you would like more information on preventative measures for work, or if you would like information to present to your employer, The Health and Safety Executive provides useful guidance on protective and preventative measures as well as printable brochures, guides and posters for use in the workplace and support groups.

Next Steps

If you have spoken to your GP and have received a COPD or emphysema diagnosis, call us and we can help you find out whether you are able to make a claim. This is completely free.

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