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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the construction industry in the UK until the 1980s. It was later discovered that asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, when inhaled. Many individuals who have worked in jobs that involved exposure to asbestos or have lived in a building that contains asbestos may be at risk of developing these illnesses.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible to claim compensation for the harm caused by the exposure. A compensation claim for asbestos-related disease can help cover the costs of medical treatment, loss of income, and other expenses related to the illness.
In this article, we will discuss the process of making an asbestos-related compensation claim in the UK, including the types of compensation available, the time limits for making a claim, and the required evidence. We will also look at the different parties that may be liable for the exposure, such as employers or building owners.
You can make an asbestos compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
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 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.
If you decide to make an asbestos disease claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
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
What is the time limit for making an asbestos claim?
Provided that the diagnosis occurred within the last 3 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 I don't know when or where I was exposed?
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.
What is the 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.
How much compensation can I claim for an asbestos disease?
The amount of money you could claim will depend on:
- the severity 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.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
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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.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your illness such as inhalers, steroids and pain management.
Average asbestos-related disease general damages compensation
The following asbestos-related disease payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Asbestos disease||Moderate||Asbestosis with low respiratory disability||£13,730 to £35,000|
|Asbestos disease||Serious||Lung cancer||£32,270 to £96,230|
|Asbestos disease||Severe||Asbestosis with significant respiratory disability||£63,660 to £88,480|
|Asbestos disease||Very Severe||Mesothelioma||£63,650 to £114,460|
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 can help you with your injury claim
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.
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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.