Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is the name used to cover a group of lung diseases that cause breathing difficulties.
If you have developed COPD as a result of long-term exposure to harmful chemicals, dust and fumes in the workplace, you could be entitled to compensation.
Contact True Solicitors today to speak to one of our industrial disease expert solicitors. We provide an initial, free no-obligation assessment of your case. Call us on 0344 854 7000 or submit your details via our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.
What is COPD?
COPD is the term used to cover a range of diseases that cause damage to the lungs making it difficult to breathe. Lung diseases include:
• Emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs
• Chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways
What causes COPD?
The main cause of COPD is smoking however it can also be caused through extended exposure to dust and fumes in the workplace, including:
• Coal dust
• Silica dust
• Grain and flour dust
• Welding fumes
• Isocyanates – found in decorating materials including paints, coatings, foams and glues.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
The main symptoms include:
• Breathlessness, especially when active
• A persistent chesty cough with phlegm
• Persistent wheezing
• Frequent chest infections
Symptoms will get progressively worse if not treated and those affected may experience flare ups when their symptoms suddenly get worse. Flare ups can be more common during the winter months.
Who is at risk of developing the condition?
Those who have worked in the following professions are found to be more at risk of developing the condition due their prolonged exposure to harmful dusts and fumes in the workplace:
• Shipbuilders and dock workers
• Coal Miners
• Agricultural workers
• Builders and construction workers
• Workers in the food industry – particularly those working with flour and grain.
What is the treatment for COPD?
COPD cannot be cured but there are available treatments and care programs that can make the condition more manageable. Including:
- Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR): This is a programme of treatment that focusses on exercise and education for people with a long-term lung condition. It is designed to help those with severe breathlessness so that they can improve their muscle strength so that they can use the oxygen they breathe more efficiently.
- Getting an annual flu jab
- Taking medications such as Bronchodilators which you inhale to open up your airways and help you breathe more easily.
- Stop smoking
- Manage other health issues. A lot of people with COPD have other long-term health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, muscle and joint problems, as well as anxiety and depression. Managing these issues will help to not exacerbate your breathlessness.
Can I claim compensation for COPD?
If you have developed COPD as the result of being exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace, as your employer failed to provide you with the appropriate protective equipment, clothing or ventilation, you could be entitled to compensation.
If it can be proven that your employer failed to conduct the necessary health and safety risk assessments and training, this can also count as negligence on behalf of your employer.
In order for your claim to be successful you must have been diagnosed as having the emphysema or bronchitis by a doctor. It must also be possible for your solicitor to be able to prove that your condition was caused as a direct consequence of the negligent actions of your employer to protect your health and safety in the workplace. Your solicitor will investigate your claim by examining your past medical records, seeking expert opinion and inspecting your employer’s health and safety policies.
Is there a time limit for making a claim?
You must make a claim within three years of being diagnosed with COPD. If a loved one has passed away, you have up to three years from the diagnosis which found asbestos to be the cause to make a claim.
As the condition can take decades to develop, we can still help you with your claim even if:
• Your former employer has ceased trading.
• You are not sure of the exact date in which you were exposed.
• You did not work for the company that you believe to be responsible.
How will you value my claim?
We will calculate your claim based on the below factors:
• The severity of your further health complications.
• How your life has been affected by your illness.
• Your future care and support needs.
• Financial losses, including how much money you have lost or will lose as a result of the industrial disease (e.g. loss of earnings, travel expenses).
How much will it cost to make a claim?
True Solicitors handle all industrial disease claims on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning that there are no upfront costs to pay.
We offer a free initial, no obligation assessment of your case. Contact us on 0344 854 7000 or submit your details via our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.