Asbestos and Mesothelioma compensation claims haven’t peaked yet
March 5, 2014
By Beth King, our head of personal injury
Claims for compensation for asbestos related diseases still haven't reached a peak. We help workers and their families claim compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Sadly doctors are still seeing patients suffering from symptoms caused by exposure to asbestos and it is likely to be another 10 to 20 years before we see the rate of new cases going down significantly.
Asbestos was widely used as insulation in the first half of the last century and continued to be used in certain industries for decades after that. It could be found lagging pipes and boilers in power stations, ships, trains, hospitals, factories and even schools. Dockworkers were exposed to asbestos fibres when unloading sacks of loose asbestos. Welders and laggers were showered with it when sawing off old asbestos from pipes.
The risks to health were known back in the 1920's and the first regulations about its use came into force in 1931. Yet workers continued to be exposed to its dangerous fibres, without any form of protection, until the 1970's and beyond.
It can take decades for symptoms to start so people who were exposed in the 1950's, 60's and 70's are now becoming ill. Experts believe the number of sufferers won't peak until about later this decade.
Asbestos exposure can cause:
• Lung cancer
• Pleural thickening (also called "pleural fibrosis")
• Pleural plaques
Pleural plaques won't necessarily lead to symptoms and you cannot currently get compensation unless and until they do.
If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma, the prognosis will be poor and you should seek legal advice without delay. It is essential that your solicitors start investigating your claim as early as possible as you have only 3 years to start a claim from the date you first knew that the illness might have been caused by exposure to asbestos.
Pleural thickening can progress but usually doesn't. You can still claim compensation for the disability you suffer as a result of it and you shouldn't delay because of the 3 year time limit.
In most cases, you will have been exposed during the course of your work or perhaps one of your family members used to come home covered in asbestos dust.
Your solicitors will talk to you about how, where and when you were exposed and it can take time to dig up information to prove this. Sometimes, more than one employer might have been to blame so it will be necessary to think back and make a list of all the places you have worked at during your life. (The DWP can help with this and your solicitors will ask them for a list of your employers which they get from your tax records).
Old employers might no longer exist. Your solicitors will have to make enquiries to try to find out who their insurers were and whether another company might have bought them out and taken on their responsibilities.
There is no time to lose so it is important to use a solicitor who has experience of similar claims as they are best placed to know what to look for and to find the information quickly.
Your doctors will have discussed the prognosis with you and you and your loved ones will be trying to come to terms with it. You need to feel confident that you can leave your solicitors to get on with the job of proving your case and obtaining compensation for you as quickly as possible. They will need a lot of information from you at an early stage as you are the best witness they have about where and when you were exposed. They will also need to know all about your family finances as they will need to be able to prove and calculate a claim for your family's financial dependence on you, should the worst happen. Solicitors with experience of asbestos related claims will then take all this information to prove the case and obtain the compensation you and your family need and deserve.
For more information on how to make a claim, contact Beth King. Beth King is a solicitor and partner at Marsons Solicitors LLP. She specialises in industrial injury and disease claims and is accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.