Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Claims
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is the name for serious lung related diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In these diseases, air passage inflammation and damage to lung tissue results in reduced air flow into the lungs. Permanent damage to the lungs causes extreme breathing difficulties. 25,000 people die every year in the UK because of COPD’s effects. Research has shown that about 15% of COPD related deaths are due to hazardous working conditions, which means occupational COPD results in around 4,000 workers deaths in the UK every year.
UK law means you can claim compensation for your occupational COPD. However, this must be done within three years of the date in which you realized you had COPD due to workplace exposure. So, if you have been diagnosed with the disease and blame exposure to hazardous materials in your current or previous job, then do not wait to make a compensation claim. As your employer is responsible for ensuring your workplace safety, their employers’ indemnity insurance policy will be liable to cover your damages.
Types of COPD
Some of the most common types of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema damages the lungs’ shape and function. In cases of emphysema, lung tissue deteriorates, which causes the inflammation of lung cell walls. This reduces the space for air to pass through lungs, restricting the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Breath shortness and rapid breathing are symptoms of emphysema.
2. Chronic Bronchitis
In case of chronic bronchitis, long-lasting inflammation of the bronchial path occurs, which restricts the airways. Its symptoms are continuous coughing with mucus, and shortness of breath. Large amount of mucus blocks the airways, causing sputum generation.
Causes of COPD
Major causes of COPD are:
- Inhalation of dust particles and fumes,
- Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals,
- Some of the toxic chemicals and substances that can potentially cause COPD are: silica, cadmium, cotton dust, coal dust, arsenic vapors, welding dust, mineral particles, grain dust, and organic dust.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of COPD
Different symptoms of COPD are:
- Persistent coughing,
- Wheezing sounds from chest,
- Frequent chest infections,
- Difficulty in breathing after performing any physical task.
- Unusually high production of mucus.
Occupations with High Risk of COPD
Different occupations associated with a high risk of COPD are:
- Coal mining,
- Construction/building works,
- Agriculture, food industry,
- Textile works,
- Brick making, cadmium works,
- Ceramic works,
- Petroleum extraction
- Rubber and plastic synthesis.
Treatment of COPD
COPD cannot be completely cured. Treatment can only ease the symptoms of COPD. Treatment can provide temporary comfort, allowing people with COPD to breathe easily. In order to reduce the worse effects of COPD, it is important to avoid risk factors for COPD, such as smoking and working in dusty environments.
Making a COPD Claim
If you or anyone you know is affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – either emphysema or chronic bronchitis – because of an unsafe workplace, then make a claim for compensation. The claimant must have been exposed to toxic chemical or dust as a result of their employer’s negligence. This could be that the employer failed to provide safe workplace environments to ensure their staff avoid inhaling toxic dusts, or failed to provide personal protective equipment for the safety of employees.
It is good for you to consult your GP before making a COPD claim. Your GP can relate your chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with possible workplace exposure to toxic dusts or fumes.
If your employer is proved to have been negligent in providing safe working environments for their employees, then making a claim will protect other employees from falling victim to same kind of industrial exposure.
Consult a specialist industrial disease solicitor about your COPD claim to know whether you are eligibile to make a claim or not. If you are sure that your employer failed to provide you with protective equipment and safe working conditions, then you are entitled to receive compensation to cover your medical treatment costs, your pain and suffering, and any other losses.
Get free and fair advice about your COPD claim or start your industrial disease claim by contacting Clearwater Solicitors. Give us a call at 08000 430 430 or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.