Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) claims

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. If you have been diagnosed with an industrial disease, you may have a lung disease claim.

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What causes COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

While it’s common in smokers, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that, of the 12,000 annual deaths caused by occupational lung diseases, COPD is responsible for 32% of those deaths.

Some cases of COPD are caused by long-term exposure to harmful chemicals, fumes and dust. The lungs become inflamed, damaged and narrowed, leading to emphysema and chronic bronchitis. 

Substances that have been linked to COPD include:

  • Cadmium dust and fumes
  • Grain and flour dust
  • Silica dust
  • Welding fumes
  • Coal dust
  • Isocyanates – found in building and decorating materials like paints, coatings, foams and glues

Some of the professions known to carry an increased risk of getting COPD include:

  • Building or construction workers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Coal miners
  • Welders
  • Workers in the food industry (flour and grain)
  • Foundry workers
  • Ship builders and dock workers
  • Stonemasons
  • Textile workers

Why make a COPD compensation claim?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major cause of disability in thousands of people, many as a result of work-related exposure to chemicals, dust and fumes. It’s a slow-developing condition which means many people do not realise they have it until the symptoms start to emerge. 

As well as the financial cost of medical treatment, there is the cost to you, or your loved one, in terms of suffering, its effects on the quality of life and reduced earnings due to working days lost.

Making a claim for compensation can help ease the financial pressures of paying for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Prescriptions
  • Any extra care you may need
  • Expenses like costs of travel to hospital
  • Medical aids or equipment
  • Loss of earnings

More about making a claim

How the claim process works

Call

Get in touch

You can contact us 24/7 online or by phone, or use our callback form to request a callback at a time convenient to you

Discuss

Discuss your situation

One of our friendly, legally trained advisors will get in touch with you. They will assess whether you have a claim and match you with the right solicitor for the case

Manage

Manage your claim

Our specialist No Win No Fee* solicitors will then manage the entire claim from start to finish, helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve

How can First4Lawyers help?

Firstly, you are likely to need legal help when making a claim of this type. In cases of industrial respiratory disease, the claim is made against the employer, who have a duty of care to ensure your safety.

If you were exposed to harmful substances during a job you had years ago, the company may no longer exist. In these cases we’d need to find the insurer of that company and claim against them.

Using our specialist solicitors means we can help you identify your options and build a case for COPD compensation with an expert in industrial disease law. 

We offer a No Win No Fee* service (also known as a conditional fee agreement), so you don't have to pay for anything in advance – and if the claim is not successful, you don't pay at all.

About No Win No Fee

Only pay a fee if you receive compensation

Where we offer No Win No Fee services typically customers pay 25% of the amount recovered by our solicitors, although this will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may be less than this but it will never be more. Success fees are common practice and they were introduced when the law changed in April 2013.

How much compensation will I receive for a COPD claim?

COPD compensation amounts will vary depending on whether the condition is likely to get worse, or lead to secondary illnesses. The level of lung function is also taken into account and how much it affects your daily activities. Our industrial disease law specialists will help explain your options.

Judicial College Guidelines give a range from £48,040 to £61,410 in cases of lung disease that causes significant impairment of lung function and the ability to carry out physical employment and activity.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

You usually have three years to make a claim, from the date you were diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so it’s important to start proceedings as soon as possible after you become aware of your illness.

I think I have a claim, what do I do next?

All you need to do is get in touch for a free initial consultation, using our online claim form. You can also give us a call on the number at the top of the screen and we can talk you through your options and our No Win No Fee* services

Get in touch today - we can help with your claim 08005677866

Frequently asked questions

I'm nervous about claiming against my employer. Should I be worried?

It’s understandable that you might feel anxious about bringing a claim against your employer.

Many people are concerned that their employer will be so aggrieved about their decision to make a claim due to an accident at work that they will terminate their employment.

However, taking this sort of action against any employee making a claim is actually illegal and you may have reasonable grounds to start unfair dismissal proceedings against them.

Should you fall victim to an accident at work, you shouldn’t have to worry about what your employer would think about you making a claim.

It’s their responsibility to ensure that your workplace is a safe, clean environment that is free from hazards which could harm your health and well-being.

With one of our solicitors by your side, making a claim against your employer won’t be a problem and you can be rest assured that your case is in the best possible hands.

Our solicitors understand that many people have these concerns regarding their employers, and will always deal with your case sympathetically.

Does my working environment affect my ability to claim?

The type of environment you work in shouldn’t affect your ability to claim, but it may affect the types of claim that can be brought forward.

For instance, certain circumstances causing injury may not be avoidable as part of the role, meaning your employers may not be liable.

It’s essential that you seek expert legal guidance before starting a claim, or you could end up out of pocket.

Our expert injury solicitors understand the law, and can find out if you have a basis for a claim – no matter what workplace you work in.

What if I'm self employed? Can I still claim?

It depends.  In many industries, workers will be technically self-employed, while working under the umbrella of another company. In these circumstances they are likely to have a duty of care to you.  This includes construction workers, electricians, plumbers, contractors etc.

It’s not always obvious who can claim (and who you can claim against), but our legal advisors will give you free legal advice about it.  Just get in touch.

What other expenses can I claim for?

You can claim for all out of pocket expenses associated with your injury, such as; lost income, medical bills, prescriptions and travel to and from medical appointments. In addition you can claim for adaptations you needed to make to your home.

Is there a time limit for an industrial disease claim?

Although personal injury claims should usually be made within three years, industrial disease is different.

Symptoms can take months or years to emerge, so generally the time limit starts from the date of knowledge, such as when you receive a diagnosis.

Cases vary greatly, depending on the illness and the circumstances, so please get in touch with us and we can tailor the advice to your specific circumstances.

Can I call you for free advice?

Yes, our team of friendly experts are more than happy to help, and will answer any questions you have regarding a claim, even if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible.

Contact us for a free and confidential discussion.

How long will a claim take?

The length of time it will take to make your claim depends on your individual circumstances.

Every case is different, so it’s very difficult to say at the early stages how long the process will be from start to finish.

Once your solicitor has completed their initial investigations into your case, they will be in a better position to advise you on how long the process is likely to take.

To give you a very general idea:

  • For a personal injury claim like minor whiplash, for example, the process could be completed in about six months. But in more complex cases, such as claims involving a trip, slip or fall, it could take over a year to be settled. The process could also be longer if the defendant disputes your claim.

  • Claiming for a work accident could be between six and nine months. But if the injury is more severe, or there are legal complexities, it could take longer.

  • Medical negligence cases tend to take longer as they can be complex with multiple factors and evidence.  A rough estimate would be 18-26 months.

You can contact one of our advisors to discuss your situation.

More about making a claim

Can I make a claim online?

Yes, you can start your claim online or by calling us on the number at the top of the screen.

After entering a few details into our simple form, one of our advisors will call you back to discuss your claim.

When completing the form, just give a brief description of your accident, including details on what happened and when, if you were injured in the accident and what your injuries were. This helps us to understand the nature of your accident, so that we will be able to advise you on the most appropriate next steps for you.

We’ll also need a few contact details, including your full name, telephone number and an alternative telephone number (in case we’re unable to reach you). You can also include your email address, if you’d prefer us to email you with further details.

Let us know what time it’s best for us to call you back. We know it’s not always convenient for you to talk, so we'll call at that scheduled time when you'll be expecting us.

Making a claim online will help to save you time and will ensure that you receive a phone call back from us as soon as possible. During the call, we will ask you a few questions about your accident and advise you if you’re eligible to make a claim, and if so, what you can do next.

Start your claim online now

How do I know whether I have a claim?

That's what we're here for! 

If you’ve had an accident and you’re not sure if you’re eligible to claim, then call us through the number at the top of the screen and speak to one of our specialist advisors.

We will give you free advice regarding your case and advise you on the potential of your claim, without obligation.

We believe in working honestly and with integrity – we don’t believe in raising expectations and we don’t encourage false claims.

To be eligible to make a compensation claim, there are three key conditions that your case will need to meet:

  • Your accident must have taken place during the last three years. Please note: different rules apply to industrial disease, medical negligence and criminal injury claims, or if you were under 18 when the accident happened.  We will advise accordingly in each of these cases.
  • There must be a person or organisation who is at fault for your accident.
  • Your injuries will have required medical treatment.

If you have any questions, or are unsure if your case meets these requirements, give us a call or complete our online claim form and we'll be in touch shortly.

Will I have to attend a medical?

Yes, you’ll need to have a medical examination to make a personal injury claim.

It's to provide proof that your injury was caused by the accident and to allow your solicitors to value your claim.

Are there any catches to No Win No Fee*?

No, there are no 'catches'.  Although there are some exceptions in Scotland and Northern Ireland, No Win No Fee* does what it says on the tin: if you don’t win, you don’t pay the solicitor's legal fees.

When discussing your claim, our advisors will be able to assess whether these exceptions apply to you. We’ll always be transparent, so you can be confident that we won’t land you with any hidden costs.

How likely am I to win a No Win No Fee* case?

It depends on the individual circumstances around your claim.

Our legal advisors, who are trained to the highest standard, will discuss the details of your case with you and assess how likely is it to succeed.

This is always discussed with you in your initial phone call so that your time is not wasted and you know where you stand straight away.

Can I claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, if you are a parent, guardian or close family member you can claim on behalf of someone else.

They must be either under 18 years old, or considered a 'protected party' who is mentally incapable of making their own decision. More about making a claim

What percentage do solicitors take out of my compensation?

Our solicitors may take up to 25% of any compensation they win for you.

However, they will discuss the exact percentage that will be deducted prior to any work happening.

At this stage you are under no obligation to choose a First4Lawyers solicitor.  More about making a claim

Video

What is an industrial disease?

If your workplace has caused you to be ill, you may have an industrial disease claim. (Duration - 2:08)

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Get in touch today - we can help with your claim 08005677866