The widow of a dead miner from Northumberland has received £49,250 compensation from British Coal.
The north-east of England has a strong mining heritage
The award was made despite the fact that no respiratory diseases were recorded on her husband¿s death certificate.
The miner, who is not being named by his family, worked underground at various pits in Northumberland for 31 years.
For the for the majority of the time he worked in haulage and later as a coal mining deputy for British Coal.
He was forced to leave his job at the early age of 45 because of respiratory problems, and died at the age of 74 leaving a widow and three children.
Legal representative is Sarah Tagg, based at the Sheffield office of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said the family hoped it would help others in a similar position.
She said: "This is an unusual case because, despite suffering enormously with respiratory problems and having to leave work at such a young age due to ill health, my client¿s husband died with no evidence of respiratory diseases recorded on the death certificate.
"However, a respiratory specialist reviewed both the medical evidence and British Coal records.
"He was able to confirm that the deceased did in fact suffer from chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and that emphysema had contributed to his death.
"As a result, the widow's compensation has been substantially increased from what was potentially only a modest claim for chronic bronchitis.
"She has now received a compensation payment of £49,250, a significant proportion of which reflects the loss of earnings the deceased suffered as a result of leaving the mining industry early."