A Guide to Claiming Asbestos-Related Compensation

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.

Introduction

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.

How much compensation can I claim for asbestos-related disease?

The amount of money you could claim for your asbestos-related disease 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 asbestos-related disease 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 an asbestos-related disease? (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

Asbestos-related disease compensation amounts

The following asbestos-related disease payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Asbestos disease
Asbestosis with low respiratory disability £12,020 to £30,630
Lung cancer £55,830 to £77,580
Asbestosis with significant respiratory disability £30,630 to £84,380
Mesothelioma £55,830 to £100,350

What is the average injury compensation for an asbestos-related disease 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 asbestos-related disease will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your asbestos-related disease 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.

See the injury table above for some examples.

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.

Asbestos-related disease compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an asbestos-related disease 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 asbestos-related disease claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an asbestos-related claim take?

How long it can take to secure compensation for an asbestos-related illness can vary significantly.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for an asbestos-related disease after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your asbestos-related disease 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.

Who pays for this specialist help?

The cost of treatment will be factored into your compensation settlement paid by the defendant or their insurance company. Should you require private treatment before the case settles, an interim payment to cover treatment costs may be possible.

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 612 7456 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:

  • Construction
  • Plumbing
  • Power station workers
  • Joinery
  • Electricians

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.

How long will my claim take?

Some injury claims can be relatively straightforward and compensation will be quickly agreed. More complex or contentious claims usually take a greater amount of time to complete. Certain key factors will delay the process, particularly in cases where the defendant does not accept responsibility for the exposure.

It can be difficult to predict exactly how long it will take to negotiate a settlement without more information.

Get a better idea of how long your claim is likely to take, speak to an expert personal injury solicitor on 0800 612 7456.

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.

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.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your asbestos-related claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

Read more about making a No win, no fee 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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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.

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.

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