Emphysema compensation claims
If you have emphysema, COPD or another lung disease due to your working conditions, we can help you make an emphysema compensation claim on a no win no fee basis.
How Much Could You Claim?

Emphysema Claims

Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that affects the lungs. It is a progressive and irreversible condition that causes breathing difficulties and reduced respiratory function. Emphysema can affect your ability to work and carry out daily activities and decrease your life expectancy.

Employees in many industries, such as farmers, construction workers, miners, and car mechanics, are at increased risk of developing the condition. Employers must take all measures dictated by the legislation to protect their health and safety. Otherwise, they may be liable for compensation in an emphysema claim.

To find out if you are entitled to compensation for emphysema, call 0800 032 3660 today or use our online claim form to request a call back.

What is emphysema?

Emphysema is a chronic lung disease caused by damage to the tiny air sacs known as alveoli. As the alveoli lose their elasticity, they become less efficient in expelling air, which makes it difficult for the affected person to exhale fully. This results in shortness of breath and reduced oxygen exchange in the lungs.

Most individuals who suffer from emphysema also have chronic bronchitis, characterised by long-term inflammation and irritation of the tubes that carry air to the lungs. It causes a persistent cough, chest discomfort and other symptoms.

Both emphysema and chronic bronchitis are a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They are progressive diseases, meaning they worsen over time. They can significantly impact your quality of life and need ongoing medical care and lifestyle changes.

Emphysema is primarily due to long-term exposure to irritants that damage the air sacs in the lungs, such as:

  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of emphysema. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, including nicotine and tar, can inflame and destroy the air sacs in the lungs over time.
  • Second-hand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoke can also increase the risk of developing emphysema, especially for non-smokers who live or work with individuals who smoke.
  • Air pollution. Long-term exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants, such as industrial chemicals, dust, and fumes, can lead to emphysema. People who work in industries with high levels of airborne irritants are especially at risk.

Emphysema develops slowly over many years, and lung damage is irreversible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the condition and improve the quality of life for those affected.

What are the signs and symptoms of emphysema?

Many people can have emphysema for multiple years without realising it. Emphysema symptoms are usually apparent once the disease has destroyed 50% or more of the lung tissue. The first signs are shortness of breath and tiredness, which can be accompanied by:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • A persistent cough that produces phlegm
  • Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity
  • A sensation of tightness or discomfort in the chest
  • Constant feeling of not being able to get enough air
  • Lots of mucus in the lungs
  • Bluish lips or fingertips due to reduced oxygen levels in the blood (cyanosis)
  • Frequent chest infections

As the condition progresses, other symptoms may start to show, such as:

  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping and insomnia
  • Heart problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Poor sexual function

If you experience any of the symptoms above, you should see your GP as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with bronchitis or emphysema, and it was due to your work, you might be entitled to make an emphysema claim for compensation.

How is emphysema diagnosed and treated?

According to the British Lung Foundation, an estimated 1.2 million people have COPD and 115,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. If you have any of the symptoms above, diagnosis will involve several steps:

Your doctor will begin with a physical exam, during which they will listen to your lungs and look for signs such as wheezing and hollow sounds. Based on your medical history and physical exam, they may order further tests to confirm emphysema, such as:

  • Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray can show signs of emphysema, but it may not detect the early stages of the disease.
  • CT scan. CT scans provide detailed images of the lungs and can detect emphysema even in its early stages. It helps to assess the extent and severity of the damage.
  • Pulmonary function tests. These tests are essential for diagnosing emphysema. The most common PFT used is spirometry, which measures lung function by assessing how much air you can inhale and exhale and how quickly you can do it. Spirometry can identify impaired lung function.

While there is no cure for emphysema, several treatment approaches aim to manage symptoms, slow down the progression of the disease, and improve a patient’s quality of life. Treatment options include:

  • Quit smoking. If you are a smoker, this is the most important thing to do to prevent further damage.
  • Medications. Your doctor may recommend medicine and inhalers that help relax the airway muscles and reduce inflammation, making breathing easier.
  • Oxygen therapy. If the lungs are not getting enough oxygen to the blood, you may need supplemental oxygen delivered through a machine.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation. This program includes exercise, breathing techniques, and education to help you manage your condition effectively.
  • Lung volume reduction surgery. The doctor removes part of the diseased tissue during this procedure to improve lung function.
  • Lung transplant. In very severe cases, a lung transplant may be an option.
  • Vaccinations. Annual flu vaccines and pneumonia vaccines can help prevent respiratory infections.
  • Healthy lifestyle. You should eat a balanced diet and stay physically active to manage overall health and improve well-being.

If you were diagnosed with work related emphysema, you should also seek legal advice as soon as possible. A solicitor can help you start a personal injury claim and secure the emphysema compensation you deserve.

emphysema claims

Long-term impacts of emphysema

Emphysema is a chronic respiratory condition that can significantly impact your life. It can have various long-term consequences, such as:

  • Reduced physical activity and a more sedentary lifestyle
  • Difficulty in carrying on working or performing daily tasks
  • Inability to pursue a hobby or engage in social activities
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Reduced overall quality of life
  • The need for medical aids and equipment
  • Financial strain due to medical expenses to manage symptoms and inability to work
  • Increased risk of various health complications
  • Shortened life expectancy

These are just some ways in which emphysema can affect your life. If you developed the condition working in a high-risk industry, you may be able to claim emphysema compensation from your employer.

Can I start an emphysema claim for compensation?

The easiest way to find out if you can claim compensation for emphysema is through a free consultation with a solicitor. As a general rule, you may be entitled to compensation for a personal injury if:

  • Another party owed you a duty of care
  • They breached this duty by acting negligently
  • You suffered an injury and other potential losses as a result

Emphysema claims are related to workplace conditions and are a type of industrial disease claim. Employers have duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and other legislation to keep you safe from health risks at work. Your solicitor will assess your case and help you start a claim against your employer if they did not fulfil their duty of care towards you.

For a free case assessment, do not hesitate to call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into our claim form to get a call back.

What evidence do I need to claim compensation?

To make a successful claim for emphysema, you will need as much evidence as possible to prove how your condition developed and how it has affected your life. Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need to start your claim and get the compensation you deserve, which could include:

  • Detailed medical records that show the severity of your illness and your treatment plans
  • Diagnostic tests like spirometry, CT scans or chest X-rays that confirm the presence and extent of emphysema
  • An independent medical exam with a specialist who will assess the long-term effects of your condition and your care needs
  • Employment records, including evaluations, work history, and documentation of missed workdays
  • Statements from friends, family members, or colleagues who can attest to how emphysema has affected your daily life, physical abilities, or emotional well-being
  • Photographs or videos that show hazardous workplace conditions that have contributed to your illness
  • Your account of how COPD and emphysema have affected your life
  • Evidence of financial losses related to the disease, such as lost wages, prescriptions and other out-of-pocket expenses

Once you have the necessary evidence to claim compensation for emphysema, your solicitor will contact the defendant and inform them of your intentions. If they admit liability, you can begin to negotiate your personal injury compensation amount. If they deny any fault, you will use the available evidence to argue your case in court. That is rarely the case, however, as more than 95% of all claims settle without the need to go to court.

Who is at risk of developing an industrial lung disease?

Various types of dust, fumes and chemicals could affect the lungs and cause COPD and emphysema, including:

  • Coal dust
  • Diesel fumes
  • Silica and other metal dusts
  • Flour
  • Welding fumes
  • Asbestos

Workers in various industries are at an increased risk of developing emphysema due to prolonged exposure to such irritants and harmful substances, including:

  • Miners
  • Construction workers
  • Farmers and agricultural workers
  • Welders
  • Manufacturing and textile workers
  • Painters
  • Firefighters

If your employer has failed to take reasonable measures to protect your health and safety, you might be entitled to make an emphysema claim. It is essential to remember that you could still claim even if you were a smoker and were exposed to harmful irritants at work. However, you will likely receive a reduced compensation award to reflect your contribution to your condition.

How might my employer be responsible?

Employers must follow several pieces of legislation to protect employees from respiratory hazards in the workplace, such as:

These laws set out the duties and responsibilities employers have to keep you safe from bronchitis and emphysema at work, which include:

  • Conduct regular risk assessments to identify possible hazards, such as dust, fumes and chemicals;
  • Implement control measures to reduce or eliminate exposure, such as providing adequate ventilation systems;
  • Provide training and information about the risks associated with your work and how to protect yourself;
  • In workplaces where there is a risk of emphysema, conduct health surveillance to detect early signs of respiratory problems;
  • Keep records of risk assessments, exposure levels, and health surveillance results;
  • Provide respiratory protective equipment (RPE), such as masks and filters.

If your employer has failed in their duty of care, you may be entitled to claim compensation for emphysema and how it has affected your life.

Frequently asked questions:

Below, we have answered some of the most common questions we receive from people who want to make a claim for emphysema compensation. To discuss your case in detail, do not hesitate to call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser.

Is there a time limit to start an emphysema compensation claim?

If you have contracted emphysema due to your working conditions, you have three years to start a work accident claim under the Limitation Act 1980. As the disease can take years to develop, the time limit begins on the date of knowledge. That refers to the date you knew or should have known your condition was due to your job and severe enough to take legal action. There are several exceptions to this rule:

  • If the claimant lacks the mental ability to proceed with a claim, the time limit is put on hold, and a litigation friend could claim for the at any time. That could be due to a condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • If you lost a loved one due to occupational emphysema, you have three years to start a claim from their death.

How much compensation could I claim for emphysema?

How much you may receive in an emphysema compensation claim will depend on your circumstances and the extent of your disease. The compensation you can claim will include two types of damages:

  • General damages cover the pain and suffering caused by the illness.
  • Special damages cover all the related financial losses and expenses, such as care needs and loss of earnings.

According to the Judicial College guidelines, you could receive between £4,390 and £61,700 for general damages, based on the severity of your symptoms. Your final compensation payout could be much more substantial, as it will also include your financial losses.

Do solicitors work on a no win no fee claim basis?

Your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee* agreement if you have a valid claim. That means you do not have to pay them anything upfront or if they lose the case. Your solicitor only gets a success fee of up to 25% if you receive compensation.

You do not have to pay any legal fees either if you lose. The After the Event (ATE) insurance included in your agreement will cover all your expenses, as well as the defendant’s solicitors and disbursements.

To find out if you can start a no win no fee claim, call 0800 032 3660 for a free case assessment or use our online claim form to request a call back. A legal adviser will let you know if you are able to claim compensation and guide you through the claims process.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.