Living with diseases caused by exposure to asbestos can be horrible. You may be struggling with chronic pain and shortness of breath when participating in activities you used to take for granted. Family members might also have to change their lives to help care for you. If you’re suffering from asbestosis or a related disease because of somebody else’s negligence, you could be entitled to seek damages from them. This article on the process of asbestos claims will explain when you might have a claim, what any compensation could cover and how the asbestos claims process works.
We are able to assist you if you want to find out whether you have a valid asbestos compensation claim. Firstly, we’ll review your claim with you during a no-obligation telephone consultation. Then we’ll answer any questions you might have and explain your rights. If a personal injury solicitor on our panel believes you are entitled to asbestos compensation, they could provide legal representation on a No Win, No Fee basis. As a result, you won’t be asked to pay any legal fees before your solicitor begins working on your case.
Call us on 0800 652 1345 today if you’d prefer to discuss your options right away. Alternatively, please read on for more information on the asbestos claims process.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of flexible fibres. Its resistance to electricity, corrosion and heat made it attractive as a building product in the past. It was added to paper, plastic, cloth, cement and other materials to strengthen them. However, the use of blue and brown asbestos was banned in the UK in 1985 because of health risks identified by scientists. They identified that asbestos dust can become trapped permanently in the body and lead to internal scarring, inflammation and other health problems. White asbestos continued to be used until 1999 when it too was finally prohibited.
Tremolite, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and chrysolite are the six main types of asbestos that you may have heard of.
Although asbestos is now completely banned, it can still be found in the ceilings, walls and floors of older buildings. As such, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 set out the precautions and rules that should be followed when working in such buildings.
Diseases leading to asbestos compensation claims
If you have suffered any type of illness following exposure to asbestos at work, you may be entitled to compensation. The main four illnesses that can occur are:
- Mesothelioma – an aggressive form of malignant cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is incurable. It affects the peritoneum and the pleura (the lining of the lungs).
- Asbestosis – a condition that can take decades to become apparent and causes scarring and inflammation of the lungs. Asbestosis occurs when asbestos is disturbed or broken and tiny asbestos fibres stick to the lungs after being inhaled.
- Pleural thickening – an incurable condition where the lining of the lungs swell and thicken due to inhalation of asbestos dust. It leads to shortness of breath and breathing problems. These symptoms can sometimes be managed with medical treatment following diagnosis.
- Lung cancer – asbestos-related lung cancer causes the same symptoms as seen with other forms of lung cancer (related to smoking for example).
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an industrial disease caused by working with or around asbestos, please feel free to call if you’d like to talk about your options.
Can I claim compensation for an asbestos-related disease?
Before one of our personal injury lawyers takes on an asbestos compensation claim, they will check whether:
- You were owed a legal duty of care by the defendant; and
- Their negligence meant that you were exposed to asbestos; and
- You’ve been diagnosed with cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural thickening or another related disease as a result.
Generally, asbestos claims are usually made against employers but they could also be made against landlords as well.
You could claim compensation for asbestos illnesses even if you don’t work for the same company anymore. Additionally, you may be entitled to additional benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you are suffering because of exposure to asbestos that occurred after 5th July 1958.
Jobs most at risk of asbestos-related illnesses
It is fair to say that there isn’t a safe exposure level when it comes to asbestos. However, you are more at risk if you work around asbestos for prolonged periods or if you’re exposed to a high concentration. Basically, the risk of asbestos-related diseases increases in line with the amount of asbestos in the body. Some of the most at-risk industries and jobs include:
- Construction, renovation and demolition workers.
- Agriculture and farm workers.
- Miners, metal workers and mechanics.
- Dock workers and shipbuilders.
- Oil refinery workers.
- Power plant workers.
- Railway workers.
If you believe your job has caused you to become ill after exposure to asbestos, please let us know and we can explore what options are available to you.
Asbestos fatality statistics
Government statistics released in 2022 show that:
- In 2020, 530 death certificates mentioned asbestosis.
- There are currently over 5,000 deaths a year relating to asbestos-related diseases.
- 2,544 people died of mesothelioma in 2020.
Over the past 8 years, there were 2,523 deaths per year linked to mesothelioma.
If you’ve lost a family member or loved one to an asbestos-related disease, you could be entitled to compensation if you were financially dependent on them. While we know that no amount of money will compensate you for your loss, it could help to make things a little easier moving forward. Funeral costs and other expenses could also be awarded as part of a successful fatal accident claim.
What should employers do to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos
All employers have a duty of care towards staff safety. When working with asbestos, that means that they should:
- Check whether asbestos is present before starting a job.
- Ensure staff are properly trained and supervised when working with asbestos.
- Provide suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where needed.
- Ensure a plan of work is defined before work begins.
- Provide suitable tools for the job that are well maintained and in good working order.
- Ensure there is a safe method for disposing of any asbestos.
More information on an employer’s duties when working with asbestos can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.
What Compensation Can I Claim?
Asbestos compensation claims are usually based on any suffering caused by exposure to asbestos as well as any costs or expenses you’ve incurred. Our solicitors will always find out the full extent of your suffering before filing a claim to try and ensure that you are properly compensated.
Some of the things you could be compensated for include:
- The physical pain and suffering you’ve endured.
- Mental harm linked to your ill health (anxiety, depression, stress etc).
- The cost of a professional carer or the time a friend or loved one spent supporting you.
- Any income you’ve lost while you’ve been ill.
- The impact your disease has on your hobbies, family life and social activities.
- Medical expenses including, in some cases, private hospital treatment.
- Loss of future earnings if your disease reduces your ability to earn.
- Fuel, parking or other transportation costs.
- Modifications to your vehicle or home to make it easier for you to cope. For example, a bigger car to carry breathing apparatus or ramps and lifts at home to make wheelchair access easier.
It’s quite clear that there is a lot to consider when claiming compensation for asbestos diseases. We strongly believe that you’ll have a better chance of being compensated fairly if you work with a personal injury solicitor. To find out if one of ours could help you, please give us a call today.
How much compensation can I claim for asbestos-related diseases?
The level of damages awarded in an asbestos compensation claim is largely based on how you’ve suffered. For this reason, your solicitor will book an independent medical assessment as part of the claims process. However, the Judicial College publish guideline figures for asbestos-related diseases in relation to general damages. Currently, they are as follows:
- Compensation of £35,500 – £105,850 for asbestosis and pleural thickening.
- Compensation of £70,030 – £97,330 where lung cancer and its symptoms have likely caused lesser pain than mesothelioma but are more protracted.
- Compensation of £63,650 – £114,460 where mesothelioma has caused severe pain and impaired function and quality of life.
During your meeting for your assessment, the specialist will examine you and talk with you about the physical and mental impact of your disease. They will also consider your medical records. After they’ve completed their investigation, your prognosis will be explained in a report that will be sent to your solicitor. They will use this to calculate how much compensation you may be entitled to receive.
Providing proof for an asbestos compensation claim
To support any mesothelioma or asbestos compensation claim, your solicitor will look to gather proof to show a) how you’ve suffered and b) why the defendant was to blame. This is essential as, without any proof, the defendant’s insurer will more than likely refuse to pay out.
The types of proof your solicitor may use include:
- Medical records from your GP to help confirm your diagnosis.
- Witness statements from your colleagues to confirm your working conditions.
- Pay slips, pension records, bank statements and other financial records to claim back any losses.
- A personal statement from you to explain the impact of your asbestos-related disease.
- Your working history to help prove where you were exposed to asbestos.
The solicitors on our panel will always try to deal with the defendant’s insurers to settle an asbestos claim amicably.
Asbestos claim time limits
The limitation period for an asbestos compensation claim is typically 3 years from:
- The date your asbestos-related disease was diagnosed by a doctor; or
- The date you found out that your loved one died because of exposure to asbestos.
Due to the length of time it can take for symptoms to develop, you might be worried about how long you’ve got to claim. Don’t worry though as our specialist advisors will check this for you when you call.
If you do decide to proceed with an asbestos claim, your solicitor may be able to request interim payments before your claim is finalised. These can help you cope with any financial impact or to cover the cost of care or medical treatment. Interim payments come off of your final settlement amount and are only possible where the defendant has already accepted liability for your asbestos-related disease.
No Win, No Fee asbestos claims
The stress of dealing with an asbestos-related illness is enough on its own without thinking about the cost of legal representation. Luckily, though, our team of specialist solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for all asbestos claims they accept.
As your solicitor won’t need to be paid upfront, they can begin working on your claim right away. They will:
- Discuss your claim in detail with you.
- Collect proof and medical reports.
- File the asbestos claim and deal with all communication on your behalf.
- Deal with any requests for more information and try to counter any objections raised.
- Discuss any settlement offer with you and try to ensure that it is fair.
In all cases, your solicitor will try to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your suffering.
Start an asbestos claim today
If you’d like to talk to us about an asbestos claim, please call us on 0800 652 1345. A specialist advisor will answer any questions, explain the asbestos claims process and review your claim for free.
If one of our solicitors agrees to work for you, they’ll do so on a No Win, No Fee basis. In our experience, that means that you’ll find the whole process a lot less stressful.
Our live chat team are on hand if you have any additional questions about asbestos compensation claims.