What is the procedure for making a compensation claim for chronic pulmonary disease at work? I believe I may be entitled to compensation as I have developed lung problems since I finished coal mining.
To claim for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at work, you must first have your condition diagnosed by your GP or doctor. Once you have been diagnosed, you have three years from the ‘Date of Knowledge’ (the date of knowledge is the date you were first diagnosed with the condition) to claim compensation for your condition.
However, in order for your claim for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at work to be successful, you must first demonstrate that your employer was negligent and is at least partially responsible for you contracting the disease due to an exposure to coal dust in the work place over a prolonged period of time. While it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of inhaling coal dust, your employer should have done everything possible to safeguard the health of their staff and lessen the risk.
It can be very difficult to determine the direct cause of COPD; other factors could have contributed to the condition. For example, smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of COPD therefore if you are a smoker you need to establish that your condition developed due to your working conditions.
Making a claim for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at work can thus be very complicated which is why you should speak with a personal injury claims solicitor once you have been diagnosed with the condition.
They will help you to prove that your COPD ‘on the balance of probabilities’ was caused by exposure to coal dust in the workplace caused by your employer’s negligence. They are also likely to advise you to contact any former colleagues to investigate if they too have contracted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at work, if there are any cases you will be able to use their testimonies to support your claim for compensation.
Unfortunately you will suffer from this condition for the rest of your life but that should not mean you have to suffer financial hardship therefor it is important you are aware of the dangers of accepting any direct or unsolicited offer of compensation.
You should refer and direct offers of compensation to your solicitor as they will be able to evaluate your claim and the potential amount of compensation you may be entitled to. Always remember in these instances the employer’s insurance company will be looking to protect their own interests, not yours, which is why you should speak with a personal injury solicitor without delay to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to in your claim for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at work.