Mesothelioma compensation claims
The following guide sets out what you should know about making a successful mesothelioma compensation claim.
Mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK. Nonetheless, 2,600 people were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma over the course of a single year, and this number is expected to rise.
Exposure to asbestos fibres is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Although exposure to asbestos estimated to have peaked around 1963, symptoms commonly develop around 40 years after asbestos exposure. A very few cases occur within 15 years of exposure. Some cases have been diagnosed up to 67 years after exposure.
Statistics from Cancer Research UK predict that mesothelioma incidences will peak in the 2020s before declining.
Who is likely to be affected by mesothelioma?
46% of mesothelioma cases occur in people aged 75 and over, and 8% occur in those aged under 60.
Mesothelioma is 5 times more common in men than women due to occupational asbestos exposure which occurred mainly in male dominated manual industries such as construction and shipbuilding.
Asbestos was once widely used in industry, including in the building trade, car manufacture and in the engineering industry.
Asbestos use declined once the health risks were better understood, but a comprehensive ban on the material was only imposed in 1999.
Mesothelioma can develop even after exposure to relatively low levels of asbestos or where the exposure took place over a relatively short period of time.
Some who have developed mesothelioma may have contracted it through contact with the work clothes of their relatives. People who lived close to factories that released asbestos fibres into the surrounding environment may have been exposed.
Quittance's panel of solicitors have represented claimants from various occupations who have developed mesothelioma, including:
- boilermakers and laggers,
- joiners and builders,
- motor mechanics
Symptoms of mesothelioma
There are two main types of mesothelioma.
The most common is Pleural Mesothelioma when a tumour forms on the lining of the lungs (pleura), making breathing difficult and painful. Other symptoms may include pain in the chest or lower back, fever and sweating, particularly at night, a persistent cough and unexplained weight loss.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma is less common but is also caused by exposure to asbestos. A tumour develops on the peritoneal lining of the abdomen preventing it from lubricating the abdominal organs. Symptoms may include abdominal pain or swelling, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
Quittance's solicitors can assist with claims for pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, in addition to other, rarer forms of the illness.
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma and can answer "yes" to any of the following questions you may be able to claim compensation:
- was the cause of the mesothelioma someone else's fault?
- will you be able to prove that the illness was as a result of another person or company's actions?
- did your knowledge of a diagnosis of mesothelioma occur in the last three years?
Mesothelioma and asbestos disease generally are special cases. Compensation may be payable even in the event that the company was unaware of the health risks of asbestos at the time of the exposure. "No fault" compensation was established in law in the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1897, with subsequent legislation dealing specifically with asbestos-related disease.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
In some circumstances, a mesothelioma compensation claim can be made on an adult's behalf if they are accepted by the Courts to be unable to conduct their own personal injury claim. In legal terms, such people are referred to by the Courts as 'protected parties'.
The individual responsible for making a claim on behalf of the claimant is described as a 'litigation friend' by the Courts and they will be expected to be discussing options with the solicitors and making decisions.
Can I claim on behalf of a deceased family member?
It is possible to make a mesothelioma claim on behalf of a family member who has passed away. A specialist member of the Quittance team will be able to assist with any questions you may have regarding this process, on a confidential, no-obligation basis. You can call us on 0800 612 7456 to arrange a consultation with an expert.
Ordinarily, anyone injured in an accident that happened in the last 3 years is entitled to claim for personal injury compensation.
In the case of mesothelioma, the illness usually only manifests decades after exposure. In such cases, the three-year time limit starts from the date the affected individual is informed of their diagnosis, the 'date of discovery'. It does not usually matter when the initial exposure to asbestos occurred.
This date of knowledge or discovery could refer to anything that the claimant might reasonably have been expected to discover either by themselves or through professional advice. There are limited exceptions to this, and solicitor will be able to advise further on this point if you are concerned you may be unable to claim.
Compensation for personal injury and illness is determined with reference to the Judicial College Guidelines. Specific legislation also specifies certain lump sum payments under the Pneumoconiosis, etc (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 and the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma scheme.
Compensation can vary from £5000 to in excess of £90,000 depending upon the severity of the effects of mesothelioma.
No Win, No Fee mesothelioma claim injury claims commence with the claimant agreeing, with their solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
The CFA is, in essence, the contract between you and the lawyer.
The document sets out the service executed by your lawyer and a success fee to be deducted from the award once your solicitor wins the case.
You will have peace of mind with the knowledge that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay up front and you will never be out of pocket. There will be no hidden fees when using a Quittance personal injury solicitor.
Meet the team
The national panel of QLS solicitors help injured people with all types of industrial disease claims, from short-term injury cases to life-changing injuries. Selected for their success rate in winning claims, QLS's solicitors have years of dedicated experience recovering compensation for their clients.
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