Asbestos-Related Compensation Claims
If you have been affected by asbestosis we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered asbestosis 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
asbestos-related disease compensation:
Rates of asbestos-related disease are higher in the UK than in many parts other parts of the world. The use of asbestos was permitted in the UK industry for years after many other countries banned the mineral.
The charity Mesothelioma UK estimates that around 2500 people are diagnosed with the disease each year. The TUC state that around 4000 people die each year as a result of asbestos-related cancers and other illness, long after the material's use was outlawed.
A large body of legislation and case law now exists to protect the public and to ensure that people who have developed asbestos-related disease can claim compensation.
Who can claim for asbestos-disease?
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos exposure-related disease, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You may also be able to claim on behalf of a family member diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases, even if that family member has died.
Claims can be made in cases of 'secondary exposure'. This can happen if you, or a member of your family, developed an asbestos-related disease as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres from the hair, skin or work-clothes of a family member who worked with (or around) asbestos.
Provided that the disease can be shown to have been caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, compensation is available. Quittance's solicitors have helped claimants get compensation for:
- Asbestosis scarring - caused by inhaling large amounts of asbestos dust or fibres
- Lung cancer - linked to direct exposure to asbestos or living with someone who worked with asbestos
- Mesothelioma - a form of cancer only caused by exposure to asbestos affecting the lungs, abdomen and heart
- Pleural thickening - causing breathlessness and pain when breathing
Asbestos-related claim time limits
Provided that the diagnosis occurred within the last three years, a claim is possible even when decades have passed since the exposure to asbestos occurred. Specific legislation has provided for compensation to be available to some who would have otherwise been unable to claim. If you are unsure about whether it is still possible to make a claim, contact Quittance on 0800 376 1001 for more information.
What if you do not know when or where the exposure happened?
Your solicitor will investigate your work history and the possible causes of your illness and help to identify likely circumstances and determine whether you can make a claim. You can call a solicitor today to get this process underway.
What if my employer no longer exists?
The insurance company representing an employer at the time of the exposure will usually make the compensation payment, even if the employer itself has closed, been bought out, or declared bankruptcy. In situations where it is not possible to trace a company or their insurer, Government-run schemes exist to pay compensation.
Legislation, including the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation Act) 1979, provides for lump-sum payments under such circumstances.
How compensation can help
Courts in England and Wales acknowledge that an asbestos-related illness can deeply affect both an individual with the disease and their dependents. Compensation is awarded to cover loss of earnings and future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work, to reimburse medical treatment costs and other expenses, and general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
How we have helped others
Quittance's network of specialist solicitors have years of experience handling asbestos-related compensation claims. We understand the issues faced by people and their families affected by asbestos-related disease and offer a no-obligation consultation to discuss whether to make a claim, how to approach securing compensation and treatment support.
Shipbuilding is an occupation closely associated with high rates of asbestosis and mesothelioma and solicitors have helped clients exposed to asbestos in shipyards and many other industries make a successful claim. Other industries affected by asbestos exposure included:
- Power station workers
You do not need to have been employed in a job with a high risk of asbestos exposure to make a successful claim. Compensation has been paid to asbestos-disease sufferers who developed the illness as a result of secondary or environmental exposure, including when washing the clothes of employees working with asbestos.
Mesothelioma compensation scheme
For people diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 25th July 2012, a Government-run scheme exists to cover even cases where the insurance company of your employer cannot be traced. Compensation under the scheme averages £123,000. More details of this scheme can be found here. Prior to the scheme, the government estimated that hundreds of people each year were unable to claim as their employer was not insured or could not be identified.
What are the chances of success?
It must be shown that the exposure to asbestos occurred due to the actions or negligence of someone else, i.e. the defendant. The defendant is usually an employer or ex-employer.
There are three tests to consider when proving fault:
- Did the other side owe a duty of care?
- Did they breach that duty?
- Did the breach cause the disease?
In cases of secondary exposure, the question of whether an employer owed the family members of an employee a duty of care has been settled by the Courts. Family members who develop asbestos-related disease may now claim compensation even if the employee themselves is unaffected.
Where the defendant has admitted responsibility for the asbestos-related disease, a successful claim is very likely. On the other hand, if liability is only partly accepted or contested, achieving a successful outcome may be more difficult.
No win, no fee, no risk
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an asbestos-related disease claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making an asbestos-related disease 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 asbestos-related disease claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my asbestos-related disease claim?
If your asbestos-related disease claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. 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. asbestos-related 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.
How can Quittance help?
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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Asbestos-related disease 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.