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Customer Question

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 7 years ago.
If you have medical documentation stating that you have COPD from smoking, the short answer is yes. However, other factors should be considered, including the circumstances surrounding your addiction to cigarettes in the first place. I mention this, in particular, because if you began smoking at an institution (i.e., boarding school) where smoking was rewarded (i.e., getting later bed privileges) there may be alternative entities against whom you can bring a legal action.

Getting back to the tobacco companies, themselves, there have certainly been lawsuits against big tobacco, some of which have generated large-dollar settlements. You should bear in mind, however, that winning an underlying action is only about 1/10 of the battle. A tobacco company who loses in the first round, will ALWAYS appeal. This is because tobacco has a longstanding history in America, which has, to a great degree built its economy on the crop. Courts are reluctant to force out an industry on which the country (quite unfortunately) still depends. Therefore, you will hear of large winnings, but you will rarely, if ever, find an actual payout from a tobacco company.

My husband faced a similar situation 10 years ago. He was on oxygen from smoking induced COPD, and ultimately had a lung transplant. While he had been an attorney, as well, we ultimately decided to direct our energy to the things that would increase his/our quality of life and help him be well, as opposed to adding a new battle at that time of our lives. It turned out to be the best choice for us, as he is now doing quite well and heading up a major corporation. Only you can decide the route to pursue. If you choose tobacco litigation, I suggest contacting the Erie County Bar Association at for referral to an attorney in your area who has handled these types of cases.

Best of luck to you and your family!

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