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

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2015

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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