Mesothelioma Compensation Claims
If you have been affected by mesothelioma we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered mesothelioma 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
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.
The 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.
Do I have a mesothelioma claim?
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.
Can a mesothelioma personal injury claim be made on someone else's behalf?
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.
When should a mesothelioma compensation claim be made?
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your mesothelioma 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 mesothelioma 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a mesothelioma? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Mesothelioma compensation amounts
The following mesothelioma payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£24,950 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Severe||Life-threatening disease affecting a young person||£80,250 to £108,370|
|Lung disease||Severe||Lung cancer causing severe pain and impairment||£55,830 to £108,370|
What is the average injury compensation for a mesothelioma 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 mesothelioma will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your mesothelioma 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.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a mesothelioma injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a mesothelioma 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 mesothelioma claim could be worth now:
How long does a mesothelioma claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a mesothelioma claim can vary considerably.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your mesothelioma 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
'No win, no fee' means that if your mesothelioma claim is not successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees at all. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal agreement entered into between you (the 'claimant') and your solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a mesothelioma 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 mesothelioma claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only 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 mesothelioma claim?
If your mesothelioma claim is not successful then you will not have to pay 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. mesothelioma 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, 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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
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.
How long do I have to make a mesothelioma claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the mesothelioma to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your mesothelioma claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a mesothelioma 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.
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 mesothelioma compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a mesothelioma claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.