Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for several respiratory diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The most common cause of COPD is smoking however there are occupational factors including the inhalation of vapour, micro-organisms, irritant dust or fibres in an industrial environment which cause the airways and lungs to become inflamed leading to a feeling of obstruction with difficulty breathing accompanied by anxiety. The sensation of COPD is extremely unpleasant, causes grave distress to the elderly and makes exercise, work, rest and sleeping troublesome. Specialist injury compensation solicitors deal with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claims. If you suffer from COPD and you believe it was caused by your occupation you should contact an injury compensation solicitor for free advice. Most injury compensation solicitors will take brief details from you over the phone and advise you there and then whether they believe you have a viable COPD compensation claim and the estimated level of the potential damages that may be awarded.

Bronchitis & Emphysema

Though chronic obstructive pulmonary disease covers a wide range of respiratory problems there are two major diseases that are at the forefront: –

Chronic bronchitis is manifested by wheezing, difficulty in breathing and fatigue due to the fact that the airways are inflamed. In addition, mucus production from the lining of the lungs is enhanced causing a regular cough.

Emphysema is caused by severely damaged lung tissue resulting in the development of large pockets that are less efficient at oxygen absorption than the original tissue. Victims are often breathless and are usually tired and uncomfortable.

Health & Safety

There are numerous statutes and regulations that deal with respiratory disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease including The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994. Occupations at risk of contracting COPD due to inadequate working conditions include coalminers, farmers, asbestos workers, epoxy resin operatives, isocyanate manufactures. Employers handling at risk substances should have adequate protection for employees in place and should carry out risk assessments for all hazardous procedures. There should be safety equipment for handling these materials and protective clothing available for operative. Adequate ventilation is a legal requirement covered by statute. Failure to properly look after the health and safety of employees will ensure that a COPD compensation claim will succeed against a negligent employer.

Respiratory Illnesses

There are numerous chronic respiratory diseases that may result from an unhealthy working environment including: –

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Occupational Asthma
  • Occupational Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Silicosis
  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pleural Disease

Respiratory Diseases

Injury to the lungs may be caused by inhalation of gases, fumes, vapours, dusts or micro-organisms. Employers are under a legal duty to reduce the risk of respiratory lung disease and regulations require the employer to:-

  • identification of action necessary to comply with the regulations
  • keep employees fully informed about risks and review procedures
  • operate a system of health surveillance
  • install extractor fans
  • control exposure and use controlling methods
  • provide safety equipment
  • carry out an assessment of hazardous substances including:
  • an identification of the hazards and assessment of the risk to health
  • consideration of prevention of exposure to the hazardous substances
  • consideration of the steps which need to be taken to achieve adequate control of exposure where prevention is not reasonably practicable.

TPD Claim – Australia

Total Permanent Disability (TPD) refers to a claim that can be made to a superannuation fund in Australia. Most citizens have the benefit of a superannuation fund which is similar to a combined savings account and insurance policy which is financed by deductions from income and wages that is paid into the fund on a compulsory basis. A TPD claim may be made to the trustees of the fund and payments to the claimant may be made by way of a lump sum or by regular periodical payments which are brought forward due to disability.

These funds are governed by rules which can vary from fund to fund and the regulations are administered by trustees who make decisions on the amount, if any, that should be paid as a result of total permanent disability. The decision of the trustees on a TPD claim can be challenged in both a tribunal and in a court of law.

There are no time limits on making a TPD claim nor to any appeal against the decision of the trustees. Even if you have already received money from the fund, you can make another TPD claim in elation to new injuries. A claim can also be made on behalf of a deceased claimant.

A TPD solicitor can make a claim on your behalf by submission of a lengthy question with supporting documentation. It is to your advantage to be represented by a TPD claim solicitor who can also deal with any subsequent appeal against the decision of the trustees.