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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 use 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 schools, offices, shops and in other older buildings. The existence of asbestos in our workplaces and public buildings has unfortunately led to many people to be diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Historically, it was industrial, factory, and construction workers who were exposed to asbestos the most and thus now have been 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 the businesses and companies you worked hard for didn’t take the necessary safety precautions to protect you, 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 to make 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.
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 your claim on your behalf. We also never underestimate the impact that an asbestos diagnosis can have on your mental health, so we’re careful to keep you in the loop at every vital step, ensuring your case is handled with care, imposing the least amount of stress to you and your family.
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. In occupational illness law, there is a time limit of 3 years from the date where you first experienced symptoms, 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, the symptoms of asbestos-related disease 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 a solicitor may be the last thing on your mind as you deal with such stressful circumstances and 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 time limit, or would like to confirm if you are, you can chat with one of our claim advisors and we’ll be able to advise you as best we can based on the information you provide. You can do this within a free initial phone consultation with us, where we will spend as much time needed talking through your circumstances and work history. 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 an experienced asbestos lawyer will then 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.
Throughout your asbestos claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much
Mrs E. Swaffield
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win.
We always seek the highest level of compensation for your asbestos claim – and if your case is unsuccessful, we won’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard asbestos compensation cases.
With our guarantee, you won’t pay anything unless you win your compensation claim. Even then you’ll only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the agreed success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount won.
In most cases, people have been exposed to asbestos at work many years, or even decades, ago. We work to ensure we understand exactly what happened to you and work with you to draft a detailed statement, in your own words, about your work history, your exposure to asbestos and the symptoms you are looking to claim for.
Once we have your statement, we obtain:
You must prove that you worked in an environment where you were exposed to or worked with asbestos, so it’s clear that the harm was caused because your employer failed to protect you from the known risks of the substance.
Once you have proved negligence and a breach of duty, you must also prove that your condition was caused by your exposure to asbestos and not by anything else. We will need expert medical evidence to assess this, so we will arrange for you to see an expert to assess your condition which will then determine if we can then move forward with the case.
The calculation of your compensation comprises:
Personal injury compensation, including asbestos compensation, aims to place you back in the position that you would have been in, were it not for your illness. So you are responsible for doing what you can to minimise your loss. This means that you need to attend all treatments and appointments that may help your recovery, and, if you are working, returning if, or when, it is safe to do so.
We will also advise you on any benefits you could claim from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) during your claim.
You must do your best to keep all original accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses/medical treatments safe until your claim has been settled, as you must disclose all documents that are relevant to your asbestos claim.
While we do not always need to issue proceedings in Court, we prepare every case as if it were going to trial anyway.
The trial will take place before a Circuit or High Court Judge who will make a decision on the evidence that we have prepared on your behalf relating to your asbestos claim.
If you are successful, the amount of compensation you receive will be decided either by negotiating with the Defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the Judge. We will agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us, and we will then ensure we pay your compensation to you as soon as possible.
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 thorough investigation of your case, establishing your work history, who the negligent employer is and the construction of your statement. Having someone on your side with knowledge and experience of this process and who has dealt with people in your exact position before is the best way to attain the compensation appropriate to your circumstances.
Should you choose to use Your Legal Friend to handle your case, it all starts with a free initial telephone consultation. These often last up to an hour or until we’re sure that we have all the detail we need, 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 from the NHS and employment history from HMRC. If we’re able to find suitable evidence of exposure and any 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. If your claim is successful, depending upon the severity, you will be charged 25% of the total damages received, plus the cost of an ATE premium to insure you against any unexpected costs and challenges during the course of your claim.
Every asbestos claim is different 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 it takes. 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 responsible, and whether insurance companies are willing to provide reasonable offers to settle claims.
Because asbestos-related diseases 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 claim and remind you of any information we need.
The compensation you will receive for asbestos exposure and asbestos-related disease is based upon many factors, all of which are unique to your case.
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 the harm caused.
Once we have valued your claim, you will need to prove the losses you have sustained, due to your asbestos-related disease, in order for the claim 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.
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.
Whether or not you can make an asbestos claim is dependent on a number of key factors, which our claim handlers will go through with you as we treat each case on an individual basis. However, if you have worked in industries such as construction, manufacturing or engineering, or have prior knowledge of using asbestos in your workplace without protective equipment, then you are likely eligible to make a claim. We can discuss your work history and other instances of exposure as part of your free initial phone consultation.
Limitation can be difficult to determine in cases related to asbestos. The law around industrial illness states that you have a time limit of 3 years to pursue 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 is will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’. However, due to the nature of asbestos-related illness, 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 a 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.
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 a claim, the easier it will be and the chances of you winning your case dramatically improved.
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.
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.
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.
In most cases, it is the person who was exposed to asbestos at work and has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease that will be able to make the claim. However, due to the fact that asbestos-related disease presents itself in most cases later in life, you may feel that pursuing a claim maybe too strenuous or will take your focus away from treatment and recovery; in which case, a loved one may contact us on your behalf.
While the person seeking to make an asbestos claim against an employer is usually someone who worked for a company, if you were exposed to asbestos and are suffering from an asbestos-related disease due to living near a factory, or because asbestos fibres were transferred to you from a family member who worked with asbestos, you may also be 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 an asbestos-related 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.
When you receive compensation for asbestos exposure, you are not liable to pay any tax on the amount won. If you then choose to invest the money or have it looked after by an asset management company, you will need to seek their advice as to whether taxable interest needs to be paid 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 be liable to pay any tax.
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 imported the product 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 was passed in 1999.
During the 1990s, laws 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 is a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres that is mined and then processed into a number of different forms, 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 dangerous fibres, which can then be breathed in. These fibres are what cause a number of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma and pleural plaques.
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 we cannot know with any certainty unless an asbestos survey has been carried out or you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Those who worked in the construction industries or industrial factories 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 are concerned about exposure or think you are showing symptoms, then see your GP or doctor initially.
Many companies responsible for exposing their workers to asbestos no longer exist, or have merged into other companies. In both of these cases, we can still pursue an asbestos claim on your behalf.
If a company has been bought out or merged 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 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.