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Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Illness

Asbestos-related illness can often take decades to present symptoms and can have a severe impact on your life and well-being.

Your Legal Friend client Mr Dowse

They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently.

Mr Dowse
Leeds

Making an asbestos claim

The use of all types of asbestos has been illegal for nearly two decades; a voluntary industry ban took some of it out of use in the 1960s and then all asbestos was banned by law in 1999. Although the use of asbestos has been banned, it still exists in buildings we use every day such as in our schools, our offices, our shops and in other old buildings. The existence of asbestos in our workplaces and public buildings has unfortunately led to asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Historically, it was industrial, factory, and construction workers who encountered the most asbestos and were affected by asbestos-related illnesses, leading them to seek compensation.  However, because of its use in so many buildings, people who work in other industries are now also suffering from these illnesses and seeking the asbestos compensation due to them.

The trauma of finding out later in life that businesses and companies you worked hard for did not take the necessary safety precautions for your health can be devastating. Asbestos-related illnesses often take decades to present themselves, meaning retirees are most likely to face the reality of being diagnosed at a time when life should be about relaxation, family and enjoying retirement.

At Your Legal Friend, we understand how difficult it can be making a claim after receiving a life-altering diagnosis, but we will ensure we do everything we can to make the process as simple for you as possible, utilising our years of experience fighting for compensation for asbestos victims.

Due to the length of time it takes for an asbestos-related disease to present itself, you may not realise where you were originally exposed, or if there were multiple jobs where you encountered the substance. Our specialised team of asbestos solicitors and case handlers will help piece together your work history in order to find the responsible party, or parties and fight for your claim. We also never underestimate the impact an asbestos diagnosis can have on mental health, ensuring you are kept in the loop with your case and every step is carried out with the least amount of stress caused.

If you are a family member of a loved one who has passed away, it is possible to pursue asbestos claims after death. This may be a very difficult time for you and your family, so we will ensure your case is handled with the utmost care and sensitivity whilst still making sure you can pursue the justice you are seeking on their behalf.

The time limit on making an asbestos claim

With any claim, it’s helpful to start the process as quickly as possible as the information is fresh in your mind and medical records and investigations are readily available. The asbestos claims limitation period is under the umbrella of occupational illness law. In these cases, there is a time limit of 3 years from the date where you first experienced asbestos illness symptoms and were diagnosed with an illness, or first became aware an employer may be responsible for your illness - this is known as the ‘date of knowledge’.

If you attempt to bring a claim more than 3 years after this date, it may be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ under the Limitation Act of 1980, Section 11. However, asbestos symptoms sometimes take decades to appear, meaning it is difficult to determine exactly when the date of knowledge is, and thus when your claim may be ‘out of time’.

Due to the 3 year timeframe, you will need to begin pursuing your asbestos claim as soon as you feel able. We understand that contacting specialist asbestos claim solicitors may be the last thing on your mind as you deal with such stressful circumstances. We will try to make the process as easy for you as possible while making sure you know exactly how your case is progressing.

If you are within the asbestos claims statute of limitations, or would like to confirm if you are, you can chat with us and we’ll be able to advise you as best we can based on the information you provide. You can do this during a free initial phone consultation with us, where we will spend as much time as is needed going over your circumstances. If we feel something in your work history may responsible for your current illness, we may ask your permission to request medical records and HMRC employment details which our experienced asbestos lawyers will investigate. We will then work as thoroughly and as quickly as possible to tell you if we think you have an asbestos claim that will succeed, and more importantly, if you do not.

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Our asbestos claim solicitors have many years of experience working with victims of asbestos exposure and understand how difficult it can be for you to make the decision to pursue a claim. 

Our expert team will handle your case with the care, compassion and professionalism you not only deserve, but need, during this time.

Asbestos-related illness claims team

Our expert asbestos lawyers are headed by Joanne Candlish, who is a senior litigator, member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, has over 25 years of experience practising law and specialises in mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancer compensation. An empathetic and determined solicitor, Joanne is dedicated to helping her clients find justice and has helped to shape the legal landscape around mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses with several high-profile cases and two important victories for victims of asbestos.

Representing one of the lead families in the landmark Supreme Court case known as the ‘Employers’ Liability Trigger Litigation’, Joanne’s work helped to protect the right to compensation for thousands of mesothelioma, asbestos and other long gestation industrial disease victims. She also worked alongside HM Senior Coroner for Liverpool and Wirral Area on a successful Judicial Review to challenge an HMRC policy to withhold employment records from coroners and families in fatal disease cases, making it extremely difficult to investigate these deaths. The successful challenge means that work histories can again be accessed without having to obtain a court order and will assist in providing evidence in thousands of cases, helping victims get the compensation owed to them.

As an experienced asbestos law firm, we have made the claims process as easy as possible for victims of asbestos exposure whilst still providing legal representation that is unwavering in its pursuit of justice on your behalf. If you would like advice on whether you are able to pursue a claim, you can call us or use the contact form to arrange a phone call at a suitable time. If you choose to pursue a claim, an experienced asbestos exposure lawyer will be assigned to your case to carry out swift and thorough investigations in order to determine if you are able to claim. They will also be able to inform you if you are able to enter into a No Win, No Fee agreement, meaning there is no financial risk to you if the case isn’t successful.

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There are many people injured in accidents each year through no fault of their own and the circumstances will be different in each instance. Our team has extensive experience of successfully managing a wide range of personal injury claims, so we can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

Alison Saul

Director of Personal Injury

What our customers say

Mrs. Vora's portrait

“I found the staff to be friendly, helpful, courteous and they kept me well informed on a regular basis”

Mrs. Vora,
Loughborough

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“They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently”

Mr Dowse
Leeds

  For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today 0151 550 5228

10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Compiling your statement of your work history and exposure
Step
2
Obtaining your medical and work records
Step
3
Establishing negligence and breach of duty
Step
4
Establishing causation – the effect of negligence and breach of duty
Step
5
Calculating the financial value of your asbestos exposure claim
Step
86
Preparing your case for CourtMitigating your loss and claiming benefits
Step
7
Providing original documents to prove your loss
Step
68
Mitigating your loss and claiming benefitsPreparing your case for Court
Step
9
Attending the trial in Court
Step
10
Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres that is mined and then processed into a number of different forms, but primarily into materials used for building. It was found to be fire resistant and so was used for building insulation, flooring and roofing but is also found in a number of other industries and locations, such as ships, because of this quality.

When asbestos products are whole and unbroken, they are harmless, but if damaged can release their fibres, which are breathed in. These fibres are what cause a number of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma and pleural plaques.

What is an asbestos-related disease?

An asbestos-related disease is a severe illness caused as a direct result of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. Many of these diseases take years, or even decades, to present themselves, so often afflict older members of the population.

There are many diseases that can develop as a result of your asbestos exposure including asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and pleural thickening. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, or another asbestos-related disease, you can contact us for a free telephone consultation to discuss your circumstances and the process of making a claim.

How to claim for asbestos compensation

There are two main ways you can approach a claim for asbestos compensation – you can try to pursue the claim yourself, or you can discuss your circumstances with one of our asbestos claims solicitors, who can handle the case on your behalf. Both courses of action require a thorough investigation of your case, establishing your work history, understanding who the negligent employer is and construction of your statement. Experienced lawyers for asbestos cases are a real benefit to you and your case, ensuring thorough investigations take place and all evidence is presented properly, allowing you to focus on treatment and recovery. We know from experience that having someone on your side with the knowledge and experience of the asbestos claims process is the best way to attain the compensation appropriate to your circumstances.

Should you choose to use Your Legal Friend to handle your asbestos litigation, it all starts with a free initial telephone consultation. These can last for anything up to an hour, during which we will try to piece together what has happened to you and begin recording information on possible responsible employers. If we feel that it is appropriate for your case, we may ask for your permission to request your medical records and employment history from HMRC. If we’re able to find suitable evidence of exposure and a responsible party, we will then contact you to ask if you would like to proceed with your claim; at which point you can sign up to a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. If your asbestos claim is unsuccessful, you’ll pay nothing, so there’s no risk to you.

We always seek the highest level of compensation for asbestos-related disease claims, if your case is unsuccessful, we won’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard asbestos compensation cases.

But if you are successful, you will only be charged for your insurance premium. Many of our competitors charge a 'success fee', but we do not.

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How long do asbestos exposure claims take?

Asbestos illness claims vary, and the results of exposure can present in different ways at different times, so it’s difficult to give a definitive answer on the length of time any one claim will take. It can often depend on how quickly we can work with you to piece together the essential information, whether we can find representatives of companies, and whether insurance companies are willing to provide reasonable offers to settle claims.

Because asbestos symptoms begin to show symptoms later in life, we try to move these cases through the claims process as quickly as we can while still working thoroughly and getting you the maximum settlement. We will keep you up-to-date with the progress of your asbestos claim and remind you of any information we need.

How much compensation is there for asbestos exposure?

Asbestos compensation amounts vary and are based upon many factors, all of which are unique to your case. However, due to the seriousness of asbestos illness and the length of time, the asbestos claims average payout is usually quite high, with minor cases receiving over £10,000 and major cases seeing compensation amounts of over £100,000.

When you take your claim forward we will calculate the value of your claim based on these factors. As well as general damages for the pain and suffering of your newly discovered condition, we also take the impact of your illness on your life into account, and what care you may need in the future. We will also consider to what extent your previous jobs are responsible for this.

Once we have valued your claim, you will need to prove the losses you have sustained, due to your asbestos-related disease, in order to be successful. This is simple to quantify in some cases, through financial documents and payslips. However, if you are retired you may have to use other means such as showing your medical treatment records or sharing files that help to indicate the pain you have been experiencing. All of these pieces of evidence come together to help us build our case, ensuring we get the right asbestos claim amounts for every client.

This process of providing evidence can be difficult, particularly if it’s been decades since your exposure and you have only recently been diagnosed. We will try to make this process as easy as possible for you, letting you focus on treatment and recovery rather than legal action.

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What is the average settlement for asbestos claims?

As mentioned above, it is not easy to determine the size of the average asbestos settlement; however, we can give some guidance as to the bracket of asbestos payouts you might fall into using historic cases as a guide. Minor cases usually receive asbestos compensations payouts of £11,450 to £32,120, moderate cases usually receive £29,200 to £81,400, and major cases usually receive £53,200 to £105,270. We will not be able to provide you with a more accurate compensation estimate, which matches your individual circumstances until we have investigated your claim and compiled all the evidence.

Can I claim for asbestos exposure?

Whether or not you can make an asbestos claim is dependent on a number of factors making it difficult to give a definitive answer without discussing your individual case. However, if you have worked in industries such as construction, manufacturing or engineering, or have memories of using asbestos in your work without protective equipment, then you are likely eligible to move forward with your asbestos case. We can discuss your work history and other instances of exposure as part of your free initial phone consultation.

What is the 'asbestos claims limitation'?

The asbestos statute of limitations can be difficult to determine in cases with asbestos. The law around industrial illness states that you have a time limit of 3 years to bring a claim, beginning from your ‘date of knowledge’. This initial date is the day on which you found out, or ought to have known, that your injury was significant, or the injury was at least partially attributable to negligence on the part of your employer.

If you attempt to file an asbestos claim after this date it will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’. However, due to the nature of asbestos-related illnesses, the ‘date of knowledge’ can be hard to determine, but the date is usually when you began showing symptoms or when you were diagnosed.

In some cases, you may be claiming on behalf of a loved one who passed away from disease or illness caused by asbestos exposure. The limitation on a case filed on behalf of a loved one is still 3 years, but the ‘date of knowledge’ will be taken from the date of their death, rather than the date they were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

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When should I make a claim for asbestos compensation?

Discovering you’ve been affected by exposure to asbestos during the course of your work can be difficult, especially when your main focus is treatment and recovery. The last thing on your mind is talking to a solicitor, but the sooner you begin an asbestos claim, the easier it will be and the chances are better that you will still be within the 3 year claims time limit.

In order for you to bring a claim, you must do so within the 3-year time limit that begins from the ‘date of knowledge’. For most victims of asbestos exposure, this is from the time you became aware of your illness or were diagnosed with your illness, not from when you were exposed. If you attempt to make a claim after the 3-year time limit, your case will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’. There are exceptions to this rule in the case of claims involving children and fatalities.

Child claims

In the eyes of the law, individuals are not considered to be an ‘adult’ until they reach the age of 18. As such, children are unable to claim compensation until they reach this age. If someone under the age of 18 develops an asbestos-related disease, they have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to pursue a claim. However, it is extraordinarily unlikely someone this young would develop an asbestos-related illness.

Fatal claims

In the unfortunate event that you lose a loved one as a result of asbestos exposure, the law also provides an exception. In this situation, the date of limitation will run from the date of their death rather than the date of symptom discovery.

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Should I claim for an asbestos-related disease?

We can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t make a claim. But if you feel that it is something you wish to pursue in order to alleviate your pain and suffering or loss of income, then we can assist you. No amount of money can rectify what your employer has put you through, but perhaps an asbestos claim can make life a little easier for you and your loved ones.

Asbestos exposure has become a health crisis in recent years; one so serious the government has put in place policies and compensation schemes in order to ensure the many people affected are properly looked after if they become ill. For example, if a former employer or their liability insurer cannot be traced; there is an asbestos compensation scheme that can be applied for if you have developed a particular type of illness.

Claiming for asbestos exposure compensation from your former employer or their insurer is expected if you become seriously ill as a result. Their negligence in allowing an unsafe work environment has often already been established by previous claimants, and thus, you pursuing a claim is well within your rights. If you are concerned that your compensation will put jobs or livelihoods at risk, consider the size of the companies involved and their profit margins, then consider if your claim is of much material worth to them when the compensation you receive will ensure the financial stability of your family and retirement.

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Who can claim for asbestos exposure?

In most cases, it is the person who was exposed to asbestos at work and has become ill that will make the claim. However, due to the time in life when asbestos-related disease presents, you may feel that beginning a claim is too strenuous or will take your focus away from treatment and recovery; in which case, a loved one may contact us on your behalf to pursue your asbestos workers compensation.

While the person seeking an asbestos claim against an employer is usually someone who worked for the company, if you were exposed to asbestos and are suffering from asbestos exposure symptoms because of living near a factory, or because of material transfer from a family member who worked with asbestos, you are also eligible to claim for asbestos compensation.

In some unfortunate circumstances, you may wish to claim asbestos compensation on behalf of a loved one who is too ill to make a claim, or has passed away from their disease. You may be looking to hold their former employer responsible, or are seeking answers by pursuing a claim on their behalf, and we are certainly able to assist you with this as Your Legal Friend has years of experience with working with families to seek asbestos compensation after death.

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Are asbestos settlements taxable?

When you receive compensation for asbestos exposure, no tax is payable. After this, if you invest the amount or have it looked after by an asset management company, you will need to seek their advice as to whether interest needs to be taxed and how it should be handled. However, if you are simply using the compensation amount to support your family, cover medical costs or maintain your lifestyle, then you will not pay any tax. Most people will not have to worry about tax on asbestos claims payouts, but if you are unsure, seek appropriate financial advice.

How are asbestos cases paid out?

Asbestos compensation payouts will be paid to you as quickly as possible although the timeframe is usually 14 to 28 days after your case is won, but this can vary. No fees for us acting on your behalf will be taken from this sum as all of our costs will be paid by the insurers or former employer. The method of payment may be negotiated; however, it is most commonly in the form of a single cheque or bank transfer – your solicitor or a member of the team working on your case will advise you of this.

When was asbestos banned?

Asbestos was completely banned in the UK in 1999. Before this, there were a series of bans and restrictions on different types of asbestos starting with a ban on import and use of blue and brown asbestos (also known as crocidolite and amosite) in 1985. This ban was altered to include white asbestos (chrysotile) in 1992, but only restricted the uses of it. Finally, a complete ban on all types of asbestos finally passed in 1999.

During the 1990s, asbestos regulations were also passed on how existing asbestos products should be handled and removed, with a final update in 2012 that brought these laws in line with the European Union Directive on asbestos exposure.

Could I have been exposed to asbestos?

Asbestos was a very widely used material that can still be found in many buildings today. Depending on the age of the building you live or work in, or your profession, you may have been exposed to asbestos but cannot know with any certainty unless an asbestos survey has been carried out or you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Generally, there will be symptoms of asbestos exposure Those in construction or factory work are most at risk.

If you have been exposed and are not showing any symptoms, there is no reason to panic as you may not develop any related disease – most people don’t. If you have worked with asbestos in the past, or think you are showing symptoms of asbestos exposure, then see your GP or doctor.

Can I sue for asbestos exposure?

You cannot pursue a claim only for being exposed to asbestos; the exposure has to have resulted in a direct and provable impact on your health. When people talk of suing for asbestos exposure, it means that they are making a claim for the physical effects they are now experiencing as a result of that exposure, and not for the exposure itself. The symptoms of asbestos exposure may not present for decades after contact, with forty to fifty years being the standard length of time for symptoms to show.

Conditions linked to asbestos exposure include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural plaques. Not all of these conditions are caused by asbestos alone, and our investigations will seek to prove that asbestos is the most likely cause of your condition. If you wish to clarify how we will handle your asbestos compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact over the phone or via our contact form.

The company I used to work for no longer exists. Can I still make an asbestos claim?

Many older companies responsible for exposing their workers to asbestos no longer exist or have become part of other companies. In both of these cases, we can still pursue an asbestos lawsuit on your behalf.

If a company has been bought up by, or amalgamated into another company, they may now be responsible for their actions and any claim brought against them. If the new company owner is not responsible for claims, the company no longer exists in any form, or cannot be found, then the former insurer of the company can be pursued for your asbestos compensation claim.

In the situation where no former employer or insurer can be found, there is asbestos government compensation you may be eligible to claim. These can cover anyone from workers and family members, to those living near factories handling asbestos. However, you cannot make a successful compensation claim and also claim on one of these government schemes.

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How easy is it to get asbestos poisoning?

Sometimes, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases are referred to as ‘asbestos poisoning’. However, asbestos is not a substance that can poison you, but it is a substance that can lead to other serious diseases or illnesses. The likelihood of developing an asbestos-related illness increases the with the length of time you are exposed and amount of asbestos fibres you are exposed to, which is why people who worked with it are most likely to develop a condition, such as cancer, from asbestos.

Not everyone who has been in contact with, or has worked with, asbestos will become ill and it is still not understood why. However, there are certain things that may increase the likelihood of developing an asbestos disease, such as smoking. If you are concerned about your health and have worked or lived in an environment where you have been exposed to asbestos, then contact your GP who will be able to asses you and carry out some diagnostic tests. If you discover at this point that you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease you may then pursue an asbestos exposure lawsuit with the help of our experienced team of legal professionals and asbestos solicitors.

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What diseases can asbestos cause?

There are a number of conditions associated with exposure to asbestos; some are more serious than others.

Pleural Plaques are areas of areas of fibrous thickening on the lining of the lungs (pleura) or diaphragm.  The plaques can calcify over time, but they don’t cause long-term health problems and don’t affect life expectancy. Pleural plaques are benign, which means they’re not cancerous. Furthermore, they can’t become cancerous over time. In nearly every case, there are no symptoms, and for this reason, at present, no claims can be made.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening is a lung disease in which extensive scarring thickens the pleura, the lining of the lung. As the scar tissue grows, it can encase the lung and close off the space between the lungs and pleura. The condition is one of the most commonly diagnosed signs of asbestos exposure. It may cause chest pain and a significant decline in breathing function, but has no effect on life expectancy.

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease causing scarring of lung tissues.  It leads to long-term breathing complications which can be disabling.  As with other conditions, it may not be diagnosed until decades after the exposure occurred but symptoms include shortness of breath, some finger clubbing, and chest sounds known as ‘basal crackles’.

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer usually occurs against a background of Asbestosis.  A history of smoking is known to increase the likelihood of diagnosis where there is also a history of working with asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung. The disease can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos before it shows obvious symptoms that permit a definitive diagnosis. Whilst no cure for the disease exists, and the prognosis is typically poor, research continues to make significant progress in developing new treatment options and alternative therapies.

It is more usual for these conditions to develop in those who have worked with asbestos, but it’s also possible that family members could have been exposed to asbestos if, for example, overalls were taken home for washing, or if the family home was near to a factory where asbestos was often used.  Increasingly, more information is available about the use of asbestos in hospitals and schools, and illnesses are developing in a few people who have worked in such places.  Asbestos is no longer the villain of the industrial age, but it remains a silent and indiscriminate attacker.

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What are the symptoms of asbestos illness?

Symptoms arising from asbestos exposure take several decades to develop, often at a time when older age is causing its own problems with shortness of breath.  However, if you are concerned about breathlessness or a prolonged cough, and particularly where you are anxious about your history of exposure to asbestos in the past, it’s always prudent to seek the advice of your GP quite quickly.

A GP will always refer you on to a chest consultant for further investigation as an asbestos illness can’t usually be diagnosed without some clinical tests, such as chest x-rays, a CT scan, lung function tests, and a biopsy where required. 

Ultimately, if it’s confirmed that you have an asbestos-related condition, please seek legal advice as soon as possible, and ideally straight away.  Do make sure that any legal advice you seek comes from a specialist lawyer with expertise in dealing with your type of claim and a proven track record of success in this field.

Who can I make a claim against?

You may have worked with asbestos for more than one employer and some, or all, may no longer be trading.  You should aim to claim against all employers regardless of whether or not they remain in business.  However, if you have Mesothelioma, only one employer need be identified in order for a claim to proceed. 

It is often possible to trace the insurance companies who provided employers’ liability insurance to those firms, and, once they are located, these insurers will investigate their liability to pay compensation to you.  If they accept negligence, each insurer should pay compensation to you based on the number of years for which that the company exposed you to asbestos, except with Mesothelioma (where one company will pay all the compensation that falls due). 

If court proceedings are necessary, it may be that some companies that are no longer in existence have to be restored to the Companies House Register for that purpose.

What is the process for claiming asbestos compensation?

There are a number of hurdles you will need to overcome in order to succeed with a claim:

Causation – you must be diagnosed with an asbestos disease which has been caused by work in an environment where asbestos was present and in use.  We obtain medical evidence on your behalf to prove the diagnosis, and we will discuss your work and exposure history with you in detail to establish the source of that exposure and over what period.

Foreseeability – you must prove that your employer could have foreseen that exposure to asbestos could have caused an illness. A link was established between asbestos and cancer as long ago as the 1950s and most employers knew of the dangers before then.  Indeed, the first Asbestos Regulations were published in 1931.

Negligence and breach of duty – you must be able to demonstrate that your employer exposed you to asbestos in breach of those regulations and with a disregard for your safety. Most employers did not warn their workers of the dangers of asbestos exposure even though they had known for years of its propensity to cause serious illness.

Limitation – you must bring your claim within 3 years of the date when you knew that your asbestos illness was, or could have been, caused by exposure to asbestos.  The 3-year time limit is extended from the date of death in circumstances where a living claimant dies before or during a claim.

It is important to note that all of these hurdles must be overcome; not just one or two.

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What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is almost always caused by early exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. It can take decades for mesothelioma to form and it can be caused by only small amounts of dust. Inhaling asbestos dust does not cause immediate damage, but breathing pushes any lodged fibres onto the periphery of the lung, which is where the lining is, and the tumour forms at that point, with symptoms progressing quickly over a number of months.

Despite being aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many UK companies still exposed their employees to asbestos at work.  In fact, you do not need to have worked with asbestos in order to develop mesothelioma.  It can be caused by only small amounts of dust, either from the clothing of a worker that has been washed at home or from living next door to asbestos factories.

If you have been told that you have mesothelioma, we will do our utmost to ensure that we obtain as much compensation for you as soon as possible.  We will aim to claim against the insurers of the company who negligently exposed you to asbestos many years ago, even if those companies no longer exist. A recent landmark victory for mesothelioma victims in the court of appeal has set a precedent so that mesothelioma victims no longer have to prove that their exposure to asbestos exceeded certain exposure limits in order to make a claim.

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What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is caused by a scarring of the lung, which in turn is caused by breathing in asbestos fibres, usually many years ago.  It is a chronically progressive disease where the scarring of lung tissue may mean that it is difficult to breathe. You may suffer shortness of breath, some chest tightness and perhaps some pain.

Asbestosis can take 20 years or more to develop, so ill effects are not instantly traceable to asbestos. A diagnosis of Asbestosis is usually achieved using a variety of tests including a thorough physical examination, chest X-ray, CT chest scan, biopsy of the lung tissue and lung function tests.

What is pleural thickening?

Pleural thickening is another form of lung disease that occurs from scarring, calcification, and/or thickening of the lining surrounding the lungs (the pleura).  Pleural Thickening tends to cause a tightness of the chest or breathlessness, particularly after exertion. In some cases, symptoms can be quite debilitating if the scarring is widespread, but in others, the symptoms are more manageable.  It is not as serious a condition as Asbestosis or Mesothelioma, but it is one of the most commonly diagnosed signs of asbestos exposure. There may be a risk of developing a more serious condition, but usually, the risks are low.

If you have been diagnosed with either Asbestosis or Pleural Thickening, it is important to speak to a specialist solicitor.  We can advise you about making a claim and discuss with you whether you settle your case with a full and final settlement, or on a provisional damages basis which allows you to re-open your case in the future if one of the more serious conditions is diagnosed in your lifetime (or one year thereafter).

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How much is the average mesothelioma settlement?

In 2014, the government announced that victims of mesothelioma can expect to receive an average of £123,000 in compensation from a new fund if they are unable to track down their previous employer. However, payouts can depend on the severity of your case and it is difficult to give an average for mesothelioma claim amounts. We always work to secure you the maximum compensation that you are entitled to.

What is the diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme?

In 2014 the government announced a pot of money that would allow people with mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease to claim an average of £123,000 if they could not trace their previous employer. As part of the claims process, we will check if you are eligible to apply under this scheme. We have more details in our diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme guide.

If I have already lost my case, can I try again to claim for mesothelioma compensation?

It all depends on the circumstances of your previous claim if your previous claim was for a different asbestos condition and you subsequently are diagnosed with mesothelioma you may be entitled to make a further claim. If you previously tried to claim for mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease and your case was closed or turned down then it would be worth you seeking a second opinion as in certain circumstances you might be able to re-open the case. However, if you previously claimed for mesothelioma and your case lost at a court hearing it is highly unlikely that you would be able to claim again.

Our advice would be that if you have previously made a claim and were unsuccessful or you now have a different asbestos condition you should contact us for a second opinion as soon as possible as there is no financial risk to you, and we may be able to help.

What precautions against asbestos exposure should my employer have taken?

When working with asbestos, employers should ensure that their employees are working with the proper protective equipment, such as a suitable face mask and that all equipment is in good condition and is worn properly. Any waste should be double bagged and disposed of properly in a licensed tip. Provide you with the correct equipment and training to do the job safely and ensure there are facilities for you to be able to wash before breaks and before going home, as asbestos fibres carried on clothes can be inhaled and, in some cases, lead to cases of mesothelioma.

Will compensation affect my benefits?

Receiving compensation can affect some means-tested benefits. This is because means-tested benefits take into consideration your income, savings and assets to assess your need for benefits. Those that can be affected are housing benefit, council tax support, pension credit, and universal credit. This is only if the lump sum award you are given falls within a certain financial bracket. Being on benefits will not affect your right to claim though and it is worth noting that if your illness has put you in a position where money is right and you need to claim benefits, you may be entitled to financial compensation that will provide security and independence from means-tested benefits.

Can you get mesothelioma without asbestos exposure?

It is extremely unlikely that you will develop mesothelioma without some exposure to asbestos. This does not have to have been through work. Recent rulings have meant that victims no longer have to prove they were exposed to a certain amount of asbestos as part of their claim and mesothelioma can happen as a result of people inhaling small amounts. This can happen to family members of those who worked with asbestos and brought home work clothes to be washed or people who lived near sites where asbestos was being used without proper environmental safety precautions being taken.

Are asbestosis and mesothelioma the same?

Both are caused by exposure to asbestos and both conditions have similar symptoms. Asbestosis, however, is not a form of cancer and mesothelioma is. Unfortunately for mesothelioma sufferers, asbestosis has a much more favourable prognosis, with sufferers able to live for decades with the disease.

What if my mesothelioma was originally misdiagnosed?

Mesothelioma, once diagnosed, tends to progress very quickly. If you were originally misdiagnosed with another condition and that misdiagnosis was a result of negligence, you could also be entitled to medical negligence compensation. An early diagnosis is vital for mesothelioma victims and a missed diagnosis could be devastating for you and your family. 

Asbestos is a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres that is mined and then processed into a number of different forms, but primarily into materials used for building. It was found to be fire resistant and so was used for building insulation, flooring and roofing but is also found in a number of other industries and locations, such as ships, because of this quality.

When asbestos products are whole and unbroken, they are harmless, but if damaged can release their fibres, which are breathed in. These fibres are what cause a number of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma and pleural plaques.

An asbestos-related disease is a severe illness caused as a direct result of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. Many of these diseases take years, or even decades, to present themselves, so often afflict older members of the population.

There are many diseases that can develop as a result of your asbestos exposure including asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and pleural thickening. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, or another asbestos-related disease, you can contact us for a free telephone consultation to discuss your circumstances and the process of making a claim.

There are two main ways you can approach a claim for asbestos compensation – you can try to pursue the claim yourself, or you can discuss your circumstances with one of our asbestos claims solicitors, who can handle the case on your behalf. Both courses of action require a thorough investigation of your case, establishing your work history, understanding who the negligent employer is and construction of your statement. Experienced lawyers for asbestos cases are a real benefit to you and your case, ensuring thorough investigations take place and all evidence is presented properly, allowing you to focus on treatment and recovery. We know from experience that having someone on your side with the knowledge and experience of the asbestos claims process is the best way to attain the compensation appropriate to your circumstances.

Should you choose to use Your Legal Friend to handle your asbestos litigation, it all starts with a free initial telephone consultation. These can last for anything up to an hour, during which we will try to piece together what has happened to you and begin recording information on possible responsible employers. If we feel that it is appropriate for your case, we may ask for your permission to request your medical records and employment history from HMRC. If we’re able to find suitable evidence of exposure and a responsible party, we will then contact you to ask if you would like to proceed with your claim; at which point you can sign up to a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. If your asbestos claim is unsuccessful, you’ll pay nothing, so there’s no risk to you.

We always seek the highest level of compensation for asbestos-related disease claims, if your case is unsuccessful, we won’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard asbestos compensation cases.

But if you are successful, you will only be charged for your insurance premium. Many of our competitors charge a 'success fee', but we do not.

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Asbestos illness claims vary, and the results of exposure can present in different ways at different times, so it’s difficult to give a definitive answer on the length of time any one claim will take. It can often depend on how quickly we can work with you to piece together the essential information, whether we can find representatives of companies, and whether insurance companies are willing to provide reasonable offers to settle claims.

Because asbestos symptoms begin to show symptoms later in life, we try to move these cases through the claims process as quickly as we can while still working thoroughly and getting you the maximum settlement. We will keep you up-to-date with the progress of your asbestos claim and remind you of any information we need.

Asbestos compensation amounts vary and are based upon many factors, all of which are unique to your case. However, due to the seriousness of asbestos illness and the length of time, the asbestos claims average payout is usually quite high, with minor cases receiving over £10,000 and major cases seeing compensation amounts of over £100,000.

When you take your claim forward we will calculate the value of your claim based on these factors. As well as general damages for the pain and suffering of your newly discovered condition, we also take the impact of your illness on your life into account, and what care you may need in the future. We will also consider to what extent your previous jobs are responsible for this.

Once we have valued your claim, you will need to prove the losses you have sustained, due to your asbestos-related disease, in order to be successful. This is simple to quantify in some cases, through financial documents and payslips. However, if you are retired you may have to use other means such as showing your medical treatment records or sharing files that help to indicate the pain you have been experiencing. All of these pieces of evidence come together to help us build our case, ensuring we get the right asbestos claim amounts for every client.

This process of providing evidence can be difficult, particularly if it’s been decades since your exposure and you have only recently been diagnosed. We will try to make this process as easy as possible for you, letting you focus on treatment and recovery rather than legal action.

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As mentioned above, it is not easy to determine the size of the average asbestos settlement; however, we can give some guidance as to the bracket of asbestos payouts you might fall into using historic cases as a guide. Minor cases usually receive asbestos compensations payouts of £11,450 to £32,120, moderate cases usually receive £29,200 to £81,400, and major cases usually receive £53,200 to £105,270. We will not be able to provide you with a more accurate compensation estimate, which matches your individual circumstances until we have investigated your claim and compiled all the evidence.

Whether or not you can make an asbestos claim is dependent on a number of factors making it difficult to give a definitive answer without discussing your individual case. However, if you have worked in industries such as construction, manufacturing or engineering, or have memories of using asbestos in your work without protective equipment, then you are likely eligible to move forward with your asbestos case. We can discuss your work history and other instances of exposure as part of your free initial phone consultation.

The asbestos statute of limitations can be difficult to determine in cases with asbestos. The law around industrial illness states that you have a time limit of 3 years to bring a claim, beginning from your ‘date of knowledge’. This initial date is the day on which you found out, or ought to have known, that your injury was significant, or the injury was at least partially attributable to negligence on the part of your employer.

If you attempt to file an asbestos claim after this date it will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’. However, due to the nature of asbestos-related illnesses, the ‘date of knowledge’ can be hard to determine, but the date is usually when you began showing symptoms or when you were diagnosed.

In some cases, you may be claiming on behalf of a loved one who passed away from disease or illness caused by asbestos exposure. The limitation on a case filed on behalf of a loved one is still 3 years, but the ‘date of knowledge’ will be taken from the date of their death, rather than the date they were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

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Discovering you’ve been affected by exposure to asbestos during the course of your work can be difficult, especially when your main focus is treatment and recovery. The last thing on your mind is talking to a solicitor, but the sooner you begin an asbestos claim, the easier it will be and the chances are better that you will still be within the 3 year claims time limit.

In order for you to bring a claim, you must do so within the 3-year time limit that begins from the ‘date of knowledge’. For most victims of asbestos exposure, this is from the time you became aware of your illness or were diagnosed with your illness, not from when you were exposed. If you attempt to make a claim after the 3-year time limit, your case will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’. There are exceptions to this rule in the case of claims involving children and fatalities.

Child claims

In the eyes of the law, individuals are not considered to be an ‘adult’ until they reach the age of 18. As such, children are unable to claim compensation until they reach this age. If someone under the age of 18 develops an asbestos-related disease, they have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to pursue a claim. However, it is extraordinarily unlikely someone this young would develop an asbestos-related illness.

Fatal claims

In the unfortunate event that you lose a loved one as a result of asbestos exposure, the law also provides an exception. In this situation, the date of limitation will run from the date of their death rather than the date of symptom discovery.

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We can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t make a claim. But if you feel that it is something you wish to pursue in order to alleviate your pain and suffering or loss of income, then we can assist you. No amount of money can rectify what your employer has put you through, but perhaps an asbestos claim can make life a little easier for you and your loved ones.

Asbestos exposure has become a health crisis in recent years; one so serious the government has put in place policies and compensation schemes in order to ensure the many people affected are properly looked after if they become ill. For example, if a former employer or their liability insurer cannot be traced; there is an asbestos compensation scheme that can be applied for if you have developed a particular type of illness.

Claiming for asbestos exposure compensation from your former employer or their insurer is expected if you become seriously ill as a result. Their negligence in allowing an unsafe work environment has often already been established by previous claimants, and thus, you pursuing a claim is well within your rights. If you are concerned that your compensation will put jobs or livelihoods at risk, consider the size of the companies involved and their profit margins, then consider if your claim is of much material worth to them when the compensation you receive will ensure the financial stability of your family and retirement.

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In most cases, it is the person who was exposed to asbestos at work and has become ill that will make the claim. However, due to the time in life when asbestos-related disease presents, you may feel that beginning a claim is too strenuous or will take your focus away from treatment and recovery; in which case, a loved one may contact us on your behalf to pursue your asbestos workers compensation.

While the person seeking an asbestos claim against an employer is usually someone who worked for the company, if you were exposed to asbestos and are suffering from asbestos exposure symptoms because of living near a factory, or because of material transfer from a family member who worked with asbestos, you are also eligible to claim for asbestos compensation.

In some unfortunate circumstances, you may wish to claim asbestos compensation on behalf of a loved one who is too ill to make a claim, or has passed away from their disease. You may be looking to hold their former employer responsible, or are seeking answers by pursuing a claim on their behalf, and we are certainly able to assist you with this as Your Legal Friend has years of experience with working with families to seek asbestos compensation after death.

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When you receive compensation for asbestos exposure, no tax is payable. After this, if you invest the amount or have it looked after by an asset management company, you will need to seek their advice as to whether interest needs to be taxed and how it should be handled. However, if you are simply using the compensation amount to support your family, cover medical costs or maintain your lifestyle, then you will not pay any tax. Most people will not have to worry about tax on asbestos claims payouts, but if you are unsure, seek appropriate financial advice.

Asbestos compensation payouts will be paid to you as quickly as possible although the timeframe is usually 14 to 28 days after your case is won, but this can vary. No fees for us acting on your behalf will be taken from this sum as all of our costs will be paid by the insurers or former employer. The method of payment may be negotiated; however, it is most commonly in the form of a single cheque or bank transfer – your solicitor or a member of the team working on your case will advise you of this.

Asbestos was completely banned in the UK in 1999. Before this, there were a series of bans and restrictions on different types of asbestos starting with a ban on import and use of blue and brown asbestos (also known as crocidolite and amosite) in 1985. This ban was altered to include white asbestos (chrysotile) in 1992, but only restricted the uses of it. Finally, a complete ban on all types of asbestos finally passed in 1999.

During the 1990s, asbestos regulations were also passed on how existing asbestos products should be handled and removed, with a final update in 2012 that brought these laws in line with the European Union Directive on asbestos exposure.

Asbestos was a very widely used material that can still be found in many buildings today. Depending on the age of the building you live or work in, or your profession, you may have been exposed to asbestos but cannot know with any certainty unless an asbestos survey has been carried out or you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Generally, there will be symptoms of asbestos exposure Those in construction or factory work are most at risk.

If you have been exposed and are not showing any symptoms, there is no reason to panic as you may not develop any related disease – most people don’t. If you have worked with asbestos in the past, or think you are showing symptoms of asbestos exposure, then see your GP or doctor.

You cannot pursue a claim only for being exposed to asbestos; the exposure has to have resulted in a direct and provable impact on your health. When people talk of suing for asbestos exposure, it means that they are making a claim for the physical effects they are now experiencing as a result of that exposure, and not for the exposure itself. The symptoms of asbestos exposure may not present for decades after contact, with forty to fifty years being the standard length of time for symptoms to show.

Conditions linked to asbestos exposure include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural plaques. Not all of these conditions are caused by asbestos alone, and our investigations will seek to prove that asbestos is the most likely cause of your condition. If you wish to clarify how we will handle your asbestos compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact over the phone or via our contact form.

Many older companies responsible for exposing their workers to asbestos no longer exist or have become part of other companies. In both of these cases, we can still pursue an asbestos lawsuit on your behalf.

If a company has been bought up by, or amalgamated into another company, they may now be responsible for their actions and any claim brought against them. If the new company owner is not responsible for claims, the company no longer exists in any form, or cannot be found, then the former insurer of the company can be pursued for your asbestos compensation claim.

In the situation where no former employer or insurer can be found, there is asbestos government compensation you may be eligible to claim. These can cover anyone from workers and family members, to those living near factories handling asbestos. However, you cannot make a successful compensation claim and also claim on one of these government schemes.

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Sometimes, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases are referred to as ‘asbestos poisoning’. However, asbestos is not a substance that can poison you, but it is a substance that can lead to other serious diseases or illnesses. The likelihood of developing an asbestos-related illness increases the with the length of time you are exposed and amount of asbestos fibres you are exposed to, which is why people who worked with it are most likely to develop a condition, such as cancer, from asbestos.

Not everyone who has been in contact with, or has worked with, asbestos will become ill and it is still not understood why. However, there are certain things that may increase the likelihood of developing an asbestos disease, such as smoking. If you are concerned about your health and have worked or lived in an environment where you have been exposed to asbestos, then contact your GP who will be able to asses you and carry out some diagnostic tests. If you discover at this point that you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease you may then pursue an asbestos exposure lawsuit with the help of our experienced team of legal professionals and asbestos solicitors.

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There are a number of conditions associated with exposure to asbestos; some are more serious than others.

Pleural Plaques are areas of areas of fibrous thickening on the lining of the lungs (pleura) or diaphragm.  The plaques can calcify over time, but they don’t cause long-term health problems and don’t affect life expectancy. Pleural plaques are benign, which means they’re not cancerous. Furthermore, they can’t become cancerous over time. In nearly every case, there are no symptoms, and for this reason, at present, no claims can be made.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening is a lung disease in which extensive scarring thickens the pleura, the lining of the lung. As the scar tissue grows, it can encase the lung and close off the space between the lungs and pleura. The condition is one of the most commonly diagnosed signs of asbestos exposure. It may cause chest pain and a significant decline in breathing function, but has no effect on life expectancy.

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease causing scarring of lung tissues.  It leads to long-term breathing complications which can be disabling.  As with other conditions, it may not be diagnosed until decades after the exposure occurred but symptoms include shortness of breath, some finger clubbing, and chest sounds known as ‘basal crackles’.

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer usually occurs against a background of Asbestosis.  A history of smoking is known to increase the likelihood of diagnosis where there is also a history of working with asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung. The disease can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos before it shows obvious symptoms that permit a definitive diagnosis. Whilst no cure for the disease exists, and the prognosis is typically poor, research continues to make significant progress in developing new treatment options and alternative therapies.

It is more usual for these conditions to develop in those who have worked with asbestos, but it’s also possible that family members could have been exposed to asbestos if, for example, overalls were taken home for washing, or if the family home was near to a factory where asbestos was often used.  Increasingly, more information is available about the use of asbestos in hospitals and schools, and illnesses are developing in a few people who have worked in such places.  Asbestos is no longer the villain of the industrial age, but it remains a silent and indiscriminate attacker.

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Symptoms arising from asbestos exposure take several decades to develop, often at a time when older age is causing its own problems with shortness of breath.  However, if you are concerned about breathlessness or a prolonged cough, and particularly where you are anxious about your history of exposure to asbestos in the past, it’s always prudent to seek the advice of your GP quite quickly.

A GP will always refer you on to a chest consultant for further investigation as an asbestos illness can’t usually be diagnosed without some clinical tests, such as chest x-rays, a CT scan, lung function tests, and a biopsy where required. 

Ultimately, if it’s confirmed that you have an asbestos-related condition, please seek legal advice as soon as possible, and ideally straight away.  Do make sure that any legal advice you seek comes from a specialist lawyer with expertise in dealing with your type of claim and a proven track record of success in this field.

You may have worked with asbestos for more than one employer and some, or all, may no longer be trading.  You should aim to claim against all employers regardless of whether or not they remain in business.  However, if you have Mesothelioma, only one employer need be identified in order for a claim to proceed. 

It is often possible to trace the insurance companies who provided employers’ liability insurance to those firms, and, once they are located, these insurers will investigate their liability to pay compensation to you.  If they accept negligence, each insurer should pay compensation to you based on the number of years for which that the company exposed you to asbestos, except with Mesothelioma (where one company will pay all the compensation that falls due). 

If court proceedings are necessary, it may be that some companies that are no longer in existence have to be restored to the Companies House Register for that purpose.

There are a number of hurdles you will need to overcome in order to succeed with a claim:

Causation – you must be diagnosed with an asbestos disease which has been caused by work in an environment where asbestos was present and in use.  We obtain medical evidence on your behalf to prove the diagnosis, and we will discuss your work and exposure history with you in detail to establish the source of that exposure and over what period.

Foreseeability – you must prove that your employer could have foreseen that exposure to asbestos could have caused an illness. A link was established between asbestos and cancer as long ago as the 1950s and most employers knew of the dangers before then.  Indeed, the first Asbestos Regulations were published in 1931.

Negligence and breach of duty – you must be able to demonstrate that your employer exposed you to asbestos in breach of those regulations and with a disregard for your safety. Most employers did not warn their workers of the dangers of asbestos exposure even though they had known for years of its propensity to cause serious illness.

Limitation – you must bring your claim within 3 years of the date when you knew that your asbestos illness was, or could have been, caused by exposure to asbestos.  The 3-year time limit is extended from the date of death in circumstances where a living claimant dies before or during a claim.

It is important to note that all of these hurdles must be overcome; not just one or two.

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Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is almost always caused by early exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. It can take decades for mesothelioma to form and it can be caused by only small amounts of dust. Inhaling asbestos dust does not cause immediate damage, but breathing pushes any lodged fibres onto the periphery of the lung, which is where the lining is, and the tumour forms at that point, with symptoms progressing quickly over a number of months.

Despite being aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many UK companies still exposed their employees to asbestos at work.  In fact, you do not need to have worked with asbestos in order to develop mesothelioma.  It can be caused by only small amounts of dust, either from the clothing of a worker that has been washed at home or from living next door to asbestos factories.

If you have been told that you have mesothelioma, we will do our utmost to ensure that we obtain as much compensation for you as soon as possible.  We will aim to claim against the insurers of the company who negligently exposed you to asbestos many years ago, even if those companies no longer exist. A recent landmark victory for mesothelioma victims in the court of appeal has set a precedent so that mesothelioma victims no longer have to prove that their exposure to asbestos exceeded certain exposure limits in order to make a claim.

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Asbestosis is caused by a scarring of the lung, which in turn is caused by breathing in asbestos fibres, usually many years ago.  It is a chronically progressive disease where the scarring of lung tissue may mean that it is difficult to breathe. You may suffer shortness of breath, some chest tightness and perhaps some pain.

Asbestosis can take 20 years or more to develop, so ill effects are not instantly traceable to asbestos. A diagnosis of Asbestosis is usually achieved using a variety of tests including a thorough physical examination, chest X-ray, CT chest scan, biopsy of the lung tissue and lung function tests.

Pleural thickening is another form of lung disease that occurs from scarring, calcification, and/or thickening of the lining surrounding the lungs (the pleura).  Pleural Thickening tends to cause a tightness of the chest or breathlessness, particularly after exertion. In some cases, symptoms can be quite debilitating if the scarring is widespread, but in others, the symptoms are more manageable.  It is not as serious a condition as Asbestosis or Mesothelioma, but it is one of the most commonly diagnosed signs of asbestos exposure. There may be a risk of developing a more serious condition, but usually, the risks are low.

If you have been diagnosed with either Asbestosis or Pleural Thickening, it is important to speak to a specialist solicitor.  We can advise you about making a claim and discuss with you whether you settle your case with a full and final settlement, or on a provisional damages basis which allows you to re-open your case in the future if one of the more serious conditions is diagnosed in your lifetime (or one year thereafter).

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In 2014, the government announced that victims of mesothelioma can expect to receive an average of £123,000 in compensation from a new fund if they are unable to track down their previous employer. However, payouts can depend on the severity of your case and it is difficult to give an average for mesothelioma claim amounts. We always work to secure you the maximum compensation that you are entitled to.

In 2014 the government announced a pot of money that would allow people with mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease to claim an average of £123,000 if they could not trace their previous employer. As part of the claims process, we will check if you are eligible to apply under this scheme. We have more details in our diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme guide.

It all depends on the circumstances of your previous claim if your previous claim was for a different asbestos condition and you subsequently are diagnosed with mesothelioma you may be entitled to make a further claim. If you previously tried to claim for mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease and your case was closed or turned down then it would be worth you seeking a second opinion as in certain circumstances you might be able to re-open the case. However, if you previously claimed for mesothelioma and your case lost at a court hearing it is highly unlikely that you would be able to claim again.

Our advice would be that if you have previously made a claim and were unsuccessful or you now have a different asbestos condition you should contact us for a second opinion as soon as possible as there is no financial risk to you, and we may be able to help.

When working with asbestos, employers should ensure that their employees are working with the proper protective equipment, such as a suitable face mask and that all equipment is in good condition and is worn properly. Any waste should be double bagged and disposed of properly in a licensed tip. Provide you with the correct equipment and training to do the job safely and ensure there are facilities for you to be able to wash before breaks and before going home, as asbestos fibres carried on clothes can be inhaled and, in some cases, lead to cases of mesothelioma.

Receiving compensation can affect some means-tested benefits. This is because means-tested benefits take into consideration your income, savings and assets to assess your need for benefits. Those that can be affected are housing benefit, council tax support, pension credit, and universal credit. This is only if the lump sum award you are given falls within a certain financial bracket. Being on benefits will not affect your right to claim though and it is worth noting that if your illness has put you in a position where money is right and you need to claim benefits, you may be entitled to financial compensation that will provide security and independence from means-tested benefits.

It is extremely unlikely that you will develop mesothelioma without some exposure to asbestos. This does not have to have been through work. Recent rulings have meant that victims no longer have to prove they were exposed to a certain amount of asbestos as part of their claim and mesothelioma can happen as a result of people inhaling small amounts. This can happen to family members of those who worked with asbestos and brought home work clothes to be washed or people who lived near sites where asbestos was being used without proper environmental safety precautions being taken.

Both are caused by exposure to asbestos and both conditions have similar symptoms. Asbestosis, however, is not a form of cancer and mesothelioma is. Unfortunately for mesothelioma sufferers, asbestosis has a much more favourable prognosis, with sufferers able to live for decades with the disease.

Mesothelioma, once diagnosed, tends to progress very quickly. If you were originally misdiagnosed with another condition and that misdiagnosis was a result of negligence, you could also be entitled to medical negligence compensation. An early diagnosis is vital for mesothelioma victims and a missed diagnosis could be devastating for you and your family.