School Asbestos Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an asbestos in schools, we can help.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make a claim on behalf of a child at any time up to their 18th birthday. An injured child has another three years, until the date of their 21st birthday, to make own claim if they choose. A personal injury solicitor can help you make a claim for compensation.

Your solicitor will ask you about how the accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused the injuries. Your solicitor will then identify who is legally responsible. Based on the severity of the injuries and other expenses, the solicitor will work out how much money can be claimed.

We can help you make an injury claim, on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article

Introduction

Despite being completely banned since 1999, asbestos is still found in the structure of around 75% of UK schools. Because asbestos poses a significant hazard to health when disturbed, government policy has been to keep asbestos containing material (ACM) in situ, managing the risks rather than removing them.

Members of the Asbestos Consultants Association (ATCA), as well as MPs, teaching unions, school support staff and others, have serious concerns that asbestos management in many schools is not adequate. In some cases, the ATCA argue, this management is non-existent.

Evidence suggests that dangerous asbestos fibres can be released not only through poor management, but also through wear and tear. Such wear and tear may be inevitable in schools.

Why is asbestos so prevalent in schools?

Asbestos and ACMs were used extensively from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Many of today's schools were built or refurbished during this period under CLASP (Consortium of Local Authorities Special Program) a systematic approach to building which used standard designs, specifications and materials, including asbestos.

A school does not need to have been built under the CLASP scheme to be affected. Asbestos can also still be found in schools built after 1980, before it was banned.

Why is asbestos so dangerous?

Material containing asbestos can release fibres into the air which, if inhaled, can damage the lungs and lead to serious diseases, such as asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Often symptoms do not appear until an average 20-30 years after exposure.

The three most common types of asbestos fibres are chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite. According to a report by The Asbestos in Schools Group (2011), all schools contained Chrysotile. But there was also widespread use of amosite and crocidolite, which are much more dangerous 100 and 500 times respectively.

What are the particular risks in schools?

In addition to ACMs being prevalent in schools, which is in itself a risk, the management of them by schools is considered by the ATCA to often be insufficient.

Some schools are in poor condition of upkeep generally, often because they are beyond their design life and there are inadequate funds to properly maintain the buildings.

Every time structural materials containing asbestos are hit, kicked, or otherwise stressed, fibres may be released. This can even be the case when the ACM is sealed by painting over. Normal classroom activities can also release fibres at significantly greater levels than background levels in other-use buildings. Over prolonged periods of exposure, the higher level can significantly increase the level of risk.

What assurances can be sought?

Children and school staff are potentially at risk, but the risk can be significantly reduced if properly managed.

For peace of mind, parents can seek information on whether the school their child attends has ACMs. If the school was built before 2000 they can ask the Local Education Authority for a copy of the school's Asbestos Management Plan and Survey. Parents can also:

  • Ask teachers and asbestos managers what sealing is in place
  • If a CLASP school, ask if HSW/SCAPE guidance has been followed
  • Find out if air tests were undertaken in the school
  • Ask if all teachers know where the asbestos is
  • Ask the school how they manage it
  • Physically check for any signs of danger themselves

The Department for Education (DfE) recently reviewed its policies on asbestos management in schools, publishing their findings in March 2015. The review outlines how the government will give more support to people responsible for managing asbestos in schools.

How much compensation can I claim for an injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an asbestos in schools claim take?

How long it can take to get compensation for an asbestos injury can vary considerably.

For instance, if the school accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a few months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Typically, a child injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .

No win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?

If your injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How we can help you

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:

  • 8am to 9pm weekdays
  • 9am to 6pm on Saturday
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

Call me back
  • Tick icon FREE consultation
  • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher