School Asbestos Compensation Claims

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an asbestos in schools injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming school asbestos compensation:

Introduction

Despite being completely banned since 1999, asbestos in 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 school asbestos?

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

  • the extent 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 school asbestos has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

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 a school asbestos? (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 a school asbestos claim?

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

However, the money you would receive following a school asbestos will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

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

Can I get an interim payment?

Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.

School asbestos compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a school asbestos 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 school asbestos 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?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your school asbestos claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to 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.

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 a school asbestos 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 school asbestos 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 school asbestos claim?

If your school asbestos 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.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. school asbestos claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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School asbestos 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 about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

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 about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a school asbestos claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a school asbestos 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 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim school asbestos compensation.

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

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 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 held in front of a judge, not a jury.

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

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

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?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert