Every year in Great Britain, thousands of people die from a range of cancers and diseases triggered by past exposure to asbestos and many more live with the diagnosis of an asbestos-related condition that they know may ultimately prove fatal.
Exposure will usually have occurred decades ago as a result of coming into contact with asbestos in the workplace or in buildings in which asbestos-laden products were produced or installed. There have even been cases of exposure caused by handling and washing the clothing of loved ones on which asbestos was present.
Millions of pounds have been set aside by employers, insurers, local authorities and the government to pay compensation to those affected and to provide much needed support to their families.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with impressive heat resistant and insulating properties that was regularly incorporated into materials used in the UK construction industry and in the manufacture of a range of products up until its ban in 1999.
Why was the Use of Asbestos Outlawed?
Asbestos is made up of tiny particles which if inhaled or ingested can become trapped in your body and over time lead to the development of a variety of largely lung related chronic and terminal illnesses.
Nobody knew this when asbestos was first introduced but over time, as evidence of the danger it posed became clearer, successive countries moved to prohibit its use – the UK included.
Who are Most at Risk of Having been Exposed?
At the top of the list of those most likely to have been exposed to asbestos are men who were previously employed in the construction industry, including plumbers, electricians and general labourers, together with those involved in shipbuilding.
However, also at risk are people who work or have worked in buildings where asbestos is present, including hospitals, schools and military facilities, those who live or have lived with people whose jobs are likely to have brought them into contact with the product and those whose homes are near to historical asbestos producing factories.
What are the Most Common Types of Asbestos-Related Disease?
The list is extensive, but the most frequently encountered asbestos-related diseases are:
- mesothelioma – cancer of the membrane lining your lungs, abdomen and reproductive organs;
- asbestosis – lung cancer, with carries a high risk of triggering mesothelioma;
- pleural thickening, pleural effusion and pleural plaques – types of lung disease linked to a thickening of the membrane lining the lungs, the build-up of excess liquid around the lungs and the development of scar tissue in the lungs; and
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – chronic illness which restricts the airflow to your body and causes persistent coughing and shortness of breath.
When might a compensation claim be possible?
You can usually make a claim for compensation where you or a loved one who has since died have been diagnosed with a cancer or disease recognised as being linked to asbestos exposure. However, strict time limits apply which mean that:
- if you are claiming for yourself, you must normally make your claim within three years of your diagnosis; and
- if you are claiming on behalf of a relative, you must normally make your claim within three years of discovering that their death was asbestos related.
How do I Make a Claim?
The easiest and least distressing way to make a claim is through a specialist personal injury lawyer who can make the claim on your behalf and ensure you receive the best possible compensation payment.
Finding out if you can claim is easy, just call our solicitors in Crewe for free on 0800 195 64212 and ask to speak to a member of our asbestos and industrial diseases team.
Will I have to go to Court?
In most cases where the condition you are suffering from is recognised as being linked to asbestos, and it is clear that some form of exposure is likely to have occurred, the process of making a claim is relatively straightforward and an out of court settlement is usually possible.
However, even if court proceedings are necessary, you can rest assured that we will work hard to make the process as easy for you as possible and that we will be there to support you every step of the way.
How much Compensation am I likely to get?
Every case is different and the amount of compensation you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including what sort of cancer or asbestos-related disease you have been diagnosed with, the impact it has or is likely to have on your quality of life, whether you will need long term care and whether your condition may result in death.
Awards can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Do I need to know how I came to be in contact with Asbestos?
Because asbestos-related diseases can take many years to develop, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when and where exposure took place and therefore who should be liable to meet the cost of any claim.
Fortunately, our lawyers are experienced in tracking down the most likely source of your exposure so that a claim can be pursued.
We can even help where you know who is to blame but they have since gone out of business and in diffuse mesothelioma claims where it may be possible to secure a compensation payment from a government sponsored compensation scheme.
How do I find out more?
For more information on making an asbestos related compensation claim, or any other type of personal injury claim, please contact Anna Rushton on 0800 1956412 or call into our offices in Crewe to arrange an appointment.
It will cost you nothing to find out if a claim is possible as your first consultation with us is free and if you decide to go ahead we can normally advise you on a no win, no fee basis, which means that you will not be charged for our service if your claim is unsuccessful.