Lung Cancer Claim

The link between certain materials like asbestos and lung cancer is well known, but there are other known causes of lung cancer and certain substances you may have been exposed to during your employment. If you develop lung cancer due to an employer's negligence, you could be entitled to make an industrial disease claim.


According to Cancer Research UK, there were an estimated 44,500 new cases of lung cancer in the UK in 2012 (latest figures). 89% of these cases were considered to be preventable.

A significant proportion of these cases were identified as occupational lung cancer – caused by unnecessary exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) in the workplace.

Many chemical compounds used in industry are known to potentially cause lung cancer. If an employee is exposed to a carcinogen as the result of an employers negligence, and develops lung cancer in later life, it is often possible to demonstrate a link between the two.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARCs) has an approved list of known and probable carcinogens. In addition to asbestos and diesel fumes, it identifies a range of other carcinogenic substances and processes specific to lung cancer. These include:

  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Ionising radiation
  • Mineral oils
  • Nickel

Exposure to many of these substances significant enough to cause lung cancer usually only occurs in the workplace. High risk industries include manufacturing, construction and mining but anyone who works as a painter or in the production of rubber, aluminium, iron and steel or works as a welder is also at risk. The symptoms of lung cancer often only appear years after exposure, therefore claims tend to relate to past employment.

I want to know

Do I have a claim against my employer?

The Health and Safety at Work Act makes it clear that there is a legal responsibility on every employer to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health of their employees. It also states that employers must provide information, instruction and supervision to ensure their safety.

This requirement covers not just an employee's safety from immediate injury but also any danger to their long term health. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations also require the employer to conduct a suitable risk assessment of risks to health of the workforce. This includes any risk from any hazard that may cause cancer.

The regulations also state that the employer must identify and then introduce preventative and protective measures needed to improve workplace health and safety. The regulations are clear that the first aim should always be to remove the hazard. If not then the regulations provide a certain order for them to assess the risk and reduce this to the lowest level possible. This includes substitution for less hazardous substance or process or failing that issue personal protective equipment (PPE).

How do I prove my condition is work related?

An estimated 21 per cent of lung cancers in men in the UK, and 5 per cent in women, are linked to occupational exposures (Cancer Research UK). Exposure to carcinogens in the workplace also accounts for a large majority of lung cancer compensation claims.

In most occupational lung cancer cases, the employer is liable if it can be proved that:

  • Workplace exposure to carcinogens is the probable cause
  • The employer acted negligently in their duty to prevent unnecessary exposure

The medical expert instructed by us will ask questions regarding past and current employment to ascertain whether workplace exposure was a likely cause.

It may also be necessary to obtain an opinion from an engineer to support the fact of exposure and that this has cause the condition.

My employer is no longer trading. Can I still claim?

It is possible that the employer may have been taken over by another company. If it is no longer trading then we will use our extensive experience to try and trace the employers insurer at the time when you were employed and exposed to the cancer causing agent.

As long as we can identify the relevant insurer a claim can still be made.

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Lung Cancer Claims

We provide free initial advice and can pursue claims on a no win no fee basis. Contact us to discuss your needs in complete confidence. Home visits can be arranged or you can call us on our helpline.

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