If I just found out that I have COPD from smoking cigarettes, will I have a case against the tobacco company?

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If I just found out that I have COPD from smoking cigarettes, will I have a case against the tobacco company?

I stopped smoking in 1994.

Asked on January 14, 2015 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney who has some familiarity with tobacco litigation or mass torts or toxic torts, since this far from a simple questions. However, you need to be prepared that there are significant obstacles to having a viable case:

1) You stopped smoking in '94, or 20 years ago; it may be very difficult to show that you got the COPD from smoking after all this time and not, for example, from something happening in the last 20 years.

2) More generally, you'd need medical testimony linking your COPD to smoking. This can be expensive.

3) Depending on when you started smoking, if the risk of it causing COPD or like respiratory diseases were fairly well known at the time, it may be difficult to recover compensation since your own "assumption of the risk" in starting such a dangerous habit could be held to bar the recovery of compensation.


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