Obstructive lung disease refers to medical conditions that make it difficult for a person to exhale all of the air present in their lungs. Basically, lung damage causes exhaled air to escape the body at a slower rate which leaves air remaining in the lungs. The primary symptom identifying obstructive lung disease is experiencing shortness of breath in conjunction with exertion. It is difficult for people with this condition to be very active because of their hindered and abnormal breathing.
There are several ways someone can develop an obstructive lung disease. A pre-existing condition will often be the cause of this, but it could also develop when someone is unknowingly exposed to carcinogenic substances over an extended period of time. Some of the pre-existing conditions that can lead to obstructive lung disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and asthma. COPD is arguably the most common and severe type.
COPD is a type of lung disease that a person develops over a long period of time, like emphysema, refractory asthma, and chronic bronchitis. It makes it very difficult for a person to breathe and involves four stages, which are discussed in detail below.
Common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, wheezing, continuous coughing accompanied by mucus, and low energy. Major COPD causes are long term exposure to tobacco or air pollution.
Are There Different Types of Obstructive Lung Diseases?
As noted above, there are different types and variations of COPD and obstructive lung disease. The four stages of COPD measure how severe the disease is at a given time.
- The first stage is mild COPD, which is when you have some issues with airflow that is not really bothersome. You also periodically experience coughing with mucus.
- The second stage is moderate COPD, where your airflow has worsened. After being active, you usually experience shortness of breath.
- The third stage is severe COPD, where your airflow and shortness of breath are so bad that it affects your ability to exercise. You also have symptom flare ups very frequently.
- The fourth and last stage is very severe COPD, which dramatically affects your quality of life. This is when you have very limited airflow and intense flare up episodes.
There is no cure for COPD and obstructive lung disease, but there are some treatment options that can help manage symptoms and make daily life more bearable. However, interventions are not guaranteed and will depend on the person. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking can help. Avoiding secondhand smoke can also help to manage symptoms. While there are various treatments, some common ones include specialized inhalers, antibiotics, pulmonary rehab, oxygen therapy, and lung surgery.
Because of the severity of obstructive lung diseases, permanent injuries can result. This includes lung cancer, severe respiratory infections, increased risk of heart disease and pulmonary hypertension. These can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and even contribute to death in some instances. This also raises a person’s yearly medical expenses because they will require further treatment and pain management options.
Is It Possible to Sue for Obstructive Lung Disease?
You can sue for an obstructive lung disease in certain situations. The process for filing legal action for obstructive lung disease and COPD lawsuits will depend on the type of case you have and how you developed the disease. A common example of when you can sue for these diseases is if you were exposed to carcinogenic substances at work, which caused you to develop COPD or other obstructive lung disease. This often happens with asbestos exposure.
Another instance where a lawsuit may be appropriate is when a doctor misdiagnosed your illness, which caused it to worsen. Since people often develop these diseases from smoking or secondhand smoke, you can also sue when tobacco companies mislead you about the health effects of their smoking products that you purchased and used.
Legal Issues to Consider When Filing a COPD or Obstructive Lung Disease Case
There are several legal issues you need to consider when filing legal action for obstructive lung disease and COPD lawsuits. This will depend on the facts of the csse and how the disease developed. Some legal issues often involved with these conditions are negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
If this injury occurred from long-term exposure in the workplace, you can explore filing a negligence claim against your employer. You would argue that a company had a duty not to expose you to harmful substances, which it breached and your medical condition resulted.
Malpractice and wrongful death cases come into play when you went to a physician about your respiratory symptoms and they did not catch that you had an obstructive lung disease or COPD. Misdiagnosis and worsened injuries will be what your case depends on, especially if you developed other comorbidities as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment.
If you died from your obstructive lung disease, your estate may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf against the providers that allowed your condition to worsen without exploring treatment and giving a proper diagnosis. Wrongful death could also come into play in the suits against an employer or tobacco companies.
What Are Some Legal Remedies for Obstructive Lung Disease Lawsuits?
The reason to bring a lawsuit for these conditions is to receive compensation for your losses. Some available legal remedies and damages for COPD and obstructive lung claims are money to cover medical bills and other expenses, pain and suffering, time missed from work, and other damages you may have suffered. Your estate could also make a claim for expenses related to your death if it can be connected to the negligence or malpractice. This could be funeral and burial expenses, among other things.
Another avenue to explore is entering into a COPD settlement. Many companies and physicians will want to go this route, especially if there is enough evidence that negligence or malpractice occurred. Settlement agreements can also take into account the monetary compensation needed to fund future medical bills as well, since COPD is not curable and will be a lifelong ailment. Entering into a COPD settlement also avoids having to go through a long drawn out trial, which can take years and require a lot of money.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Obstructive Lung Disease Lawsuits?
If you wish to sue for developing obstructive lung disease, COPD lawyers can offer many benefits. COPD lawyers can offer valuable knowledge because they have worked on these cases before and know what you need to prove to obtain the best outcome in court or through a settlement. There is also a better chance of getting a settlement on the table when using experienced COPD lawyers for your case.
The best thing to do is to consult a local personal injury lawyer specializing in COPD and obstructive lung disease cases. A lawyer can help you determine what type of claims you can bring and evaluate your chance of success. A lawyer can then file the appropriate action. A lawyer can also represent you in any settlement negotiations or court appearances.