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Asbestos-Related Disease Claims
If you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, and think it was caused by your working conditions, you will be eligible to make a claim. The process of seeking compensation may seem daunting, but making an asbestos claim ensures you are able to access the financial help you are entitled to.
Our expert industrial disease team has years of experience helping victims to claim the compensation they deserve with the minimum of hassle and stress, leaving you and your family to concentrate on what is most important: your health and wellbeing.
What Our Clients Say
Our legal advisers will help you throughout the claims process, providing you with the following services:
- Guidance on the likely amount of compensation you will receive - lump-sum payments are available for certain types of asbestos disease.
- Advice on the benefits available to you.
- Help to identify sources of exposure to asbestos in your employment history.
- Assistance to trace insurers of companies in liquidation in order to further your claim.
- Access to leading medical experts.
- Applications for early interim payments.
- Guidance through the High Court’s Fast-Track Mesothelioma Procedure.
- Help to obtain the full entitlement to compensation to protect you and your family’s future.
We will guide you throughout the entire claims process, providing the support and advice you need at every turn to secure a successful outcome to your asbestos-related disease claim.
Abigail Morrison, industrial disease solicitor at JMW, has recently provided an overview of the risks associated with asbestos in The RoSPA OS&H Journal.
The serious and life-threatening diseases that can be caused by exposure to asbestos include:
Asbestosis is caused by scarring to the alveoli - the tissues responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughs and chest pain
Asbestosis can be diagnosed through an X-ray, computerised tomography (CT) scan or biopsy.
The outlook for asbestosis sufferers differs from person to person and depends on the damage that has been caused by the asbestos fibres. In many cases, the condition develops very slowly, with symptoms not presenting themselves for many years. However, in other cases, the disease can be very debilitating and significantly shorten the lifespan of the sufferer. It can also increase their risk of contracting other conditions, such as pleural thickening, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Find out more about asbestosis here.
Lung cancer is a very serious disease that, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. It is, therefore, essential is it diagnosed early - failure to do so can have fatal consequences.
The disease can be caused by heavy exposure to asbestos. There are many other possible causes, including smoking; however, the effects of asbestos and smoking can multiply your chances of contracting lung cancer. To read more about lung cancer, visit the British Lung Foundation website.
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, and have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, get in touch with us to speak to one of our specialist industrial disease solicitors and we will advise you on whether you have a claim.
Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer that affects the pleura and is caused by exposure to asbestos. If you have contracted mesothelioma as a result of your working environment or someone else’s negligence, visit this page to find out more about claim compensation for the disease.
Pleural thickening refers to the scarring of the pleura (the membrane covering the lungs) and has the potential to restrict lung capacity. If the disease is widespread and affects both lungs, it is referred to as bilateral diffuse pleural thickening.
While asbestos exposure is a known cause of the condition, there are several other potential causes, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, malignancy and infection.
This can make it difficult to work out the extent to which asbestos has caused the disease. What’s more, the courts have ruled that pleural thickening can only be compensated to the extent that it is symptomatic, which means lung function tests need to be performed. As a result, this is a potentially complex area that requires expert legal advice. We have worked with many sufferers of pleural thickening through asbestos exposure and can help you make a successful claim for compensation.
For help and advice on pleural thickening, visit the British Lung Foundation website.
The basis of a claim of this nature is simple: if somebody is negligent or breaches their duty of care to you and you become ill or injured as a result, you are entitled to financial compensation.
Claims are usually made against the employer you were employed under when you were exposed to asbestos. This remains the case even when the employer in question has ceased trading. As compensation is ultimately paid out by the insurer of the company, if the company’s trading and insurance details can be traced, you are still able to pursue a claim.
It is also possible for compensation to be secured even when no insurer can be located. Your lawyer will advise what the procedure is when this the case.
In addition to claims against ex-employers for workers, JMW can help to successfully secure compensation for secondary exposure to asbestos; for example, a spouse who has been exposed to asbestos while cleaning their partner’s contaminated overalls.
How Can I Make a Claim Against a Former Employer?
One of the difficulties faced when making a claim for asbestos exposure is tracing the liable employer as it may have been decades since you worked for them and the company may no longer exist. Our solicitors are skilled in tracking down former employers so you are able to secure compensation for an asbestos-related disease.
The team will call upon the following resources to help you track down an ex-employer:
- A database of employers known to have exposed employees to asbestos
- A full list of insurance companies
- A team of forensic investigators skilled in tracking down employers and insurers
- Records of ships, sites and locations where asbestos was used
While investigating your case, it may come to light that you were exposed to asbestos through more than one of your former workplaces, meaning multiple ex-employers will be held accountable. If that is the case, we can trace all the relevant companies and insurers to include in your claim.
The Timeline of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, have long latency periods, meaning the disease does not develop until years after exposure to asbestos.
JMW's personal injury team has created a timeline that explains how somebody who has been exposed to asbestos is affected over their lifetime, including the onset of symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, recovery, and taking legal action.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been used in manufacturing, construction and shipbuilding since the late 19th century. Its use was most widespread between the 1950s and 1980s, where it was typically used in ceiling tiles, sprayed coatings, ship engine rooms, pipes and boilers. This was due to its desirable physical properties, including affordability, insulation, strength, and heat resistance.
Why is asbestos considered to be dangerous?
Asbestos poses a serious health risk when its fibres are inhaled after becoming airborne by cutting, drilling or breaking the mineral. According to HSE, asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 5,000 people in the UK each year.
When was asbestos banned?
Between the mid-1980s and late-1990s, a number of laws and regulations were imposed restricting the use of harmful substances, including asbestos, in construction, manufacturing and other heavy industries. This culminated in the Control of Asbestos Regulations Act in 1999, which made the following illegal:
- Use of asbestos cement
- Use of insulating materials made from asbestos
- Use of asbestos for surface coating
- Use of asbestos paint or plaster
- Importing products containing asbestos
Despite these regulations, many people continue to die each year due to asbestos exposure, even if it occurred decades earlier.
Where can asbestos be found in an industrial building?
Any industrial building that was constructed before 2000 has the potential to contain asbestos. All property types vary, which means the presence of asbestos-containing fibres often depends on the company that originally built the building and the construction carried out before you moved in.
JMW's industrial disease solicitors have created a guide to display where asbestos is commonly detected in industrial buildings. Take a look at our visual guide here.
Advice on Asbestos Management in Schools
The industrial disease team at JMW has created a guide to help understand how ACMs should be managed, how dangerous asbestos-related illnesses are and what action needs to be taken to make schools containing asbestos safe.
Asbestos-related diseases can have a very long latency period - sometimes in excess of 50 years. This can mean people have moved abroad or retired to another country by the time their symptoms develop. If your exposure to asbestos took place in the UK, then the fact you are a resident abroad is not a bar to you claiming.
Our lawyers have handled asbestos claims and queries from many countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and mainland Europe.
With modern communications, it is easy for us to keep you updated regarding your claim from the UK. We can arrange to have UK-based medical experts prepare desktop reports based on your medical records to confirm your condition. Also, in the unlikely event that it is necessary for us to go to court, we can arrange for you to give evidence by video link.
Asbestos claims are full of complications and because you no longer reside in the UK, this can be made even more complex and it is imperative you give yourself the best opportunity to get the result you want. That’s why it’s vital that you seek specialist advice from lawyers with experience in this area of the law to help put you in the best position moving forward.