Can I make a claim for my lung disease?
Occupational lung disease claims can be made for any one, or more, of a range of occupational lung disorders caused by the inhalation of dust particles or chemicals in the workplace, most typically in confined working spaces.
Illnesses that may be included in a lung disease claim in Scotland include the following:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) – COPD restricts airflow through the bronchial passages and is characterised by the development of conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis in one or both lungs
- Pneumoconiosis – Pneumoconiosis arises as a result of the formation of scar tissue on the lungs and typically affects workers who are exposed to coal, silica or asbestos dust or harmful metals over for extended periods.
- Lung cancer – lung cancer can be caused by various occupational factors, including asbestos exposure
- Silicosis – Respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust which causes fibrosis. The disease is incurable and can be fatal
- Asbestos-related diseases – such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural plaques
If you have been diagnosed within the last three years with any of the above occupational lung diseases, or any respiratory disease caused by workplace exposure to harmful substances, you may be able to make a claim for lung disease compensation. Talk to Thompsons to find out more.
Does the employer pay?
In the vast majority of cases the cost of compensation comes from an employer's "Employers Liability Insurance" – all UK employers are legally obliged to have this form of cover
If your employer, whether current or former, is deemed to be responsible for exposing you to harmful dusts or chemicals, any compensation owed to you will be paid from the relevant liability insurance policy. However, if your claim is for an employment before 1972, when the legal requirement for liability cover was put in place, there may not be a paying party if the employer is no longer trading.
Can I claim if I am still employed at the workplace where I contracted lung disease?
Yes, and if you are still employed by the defender, there is a strong body of law in place to protect you from unfair dismissal or discrimination made on the basis of your claim.
Can I claim from an employer that has ceased to trade?
Yes, this is because claims are made against liability insurers rather than employers themselves. This is particularly relevant in cases of claims for asbestos-related lung diseases as asbestos illnesses often do not develop until several decades following the time of exposure. However, it may be more difficult to claim when the employment occurred prior to 1972 and the employer has now gone out of business as there may be no liability insurer to claim against.
Will the case go to court?
In the vast majority of lung disease claims the case will be settled out of court. In fact, the legal system encourages such an approach. However, where courtroom litigation is unavoidable, Thompsons personal injury solicitors are prepared to pursue this route in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.
If this occurs, Thompsons lawyers are amongst the most highly experienced legal professionals in Scotland and will be able to guide you through the entire process from start to finish.
How will the claim be funded?
Thompsons offers its clients various funding options. However, it is worth bearing in mind that we offer No Win No Fee funding. This means that you make no outlays whatsoever unless you win your case – without exceptions.
Do time limits apply?
Lung disease claims are subject to the usual three-year time limit. However, given that many lung diseases take a long time to develop, the three-year time limit may begin from the time of diagnosis, which may be many years following the date of exposure.
What if the lung disease has proved fatal?
It is possible to claim compensation on behalf of a deceased family member. However, the claim must be brought within three years of the date of death or date the cause of death becomes known. Similarly, if the pursuer dies while making a claim, the estate can continue it on his or her behalf.
How will we prove liability?
Most lung disease claims are proven on the basis of medical records and witness statements. However, in claims relating to more recent periods of occupation it may be possible to also draw on official workplace health and safety documentation.
How much compensation will I receive?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. All that can be said is that the amount of compensation you receive will largely depend on the severity and type of your lung disease. Other factors will include age, life expectancy and care needs.
Can I claim if I live outside of Scotland?
Yes. If you worked in Scotland before you moved overseas, or elsewhere in the UK, you can bring a claim for lung disease compensation in Scotland, in the usual way. Many of our claimants now live abroad in locations such as France, South Africa and Australia.