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Asbestos-related illness claims & compensation

Asbestos-related illness claims & compensation

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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.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

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 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 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.

Throughout your asbestos claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of asbestos solicitors
  • No win, no fee - guaranteed
  • 95% success rate
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • Over 30 years' experience in personal injury compensation
  • Over £200,000,000 successfully claimed in the last 10 years
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

Our asbestos claims experience

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.

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 practicing 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 a 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 us 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.

Approximately 5,000 workers including tradespeople and teachers die each year through exposure to asbestos in the workplace and employers must be held accountable for their actions if they are responsible.

My focus is on bringing justice to those affected and holding negligent organisations to account.

Joanne Candlish,
Solicitor & Department Manager

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win.

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

On the other hand, if you are successful we will not charge you a “success fee”, you will only need to pay for your insurance premium if applicable. Most firms charge a “success fee” of up to 25% of your compensation but we don’t

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The asbestos claims process

1. Compiling your statement of your work history & exposure

In most cases, people have been exposed to asbestos at work for many years, or it may have been decades ago. We work to ensure we understand exactly what happened to you and to 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.

2. Obtaining your medical & work records

Once we have your statement, we obtain:

  • the relevant medical records from your GP and hospital so that we can review the extent of your condition
  • HMRC records to confirm your work history

3. Establishing negligence and breach of duty

You must prove that you worked in an environment here you were exposed to or worked with asbestos, and as a result harm has been caused because your employer failed to protect you from the known risks of the substance.

4. Establishing causation – the effect of negligence and breach of duty

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 will arrange for you to see an expert on your condition to assess you and consider what the hold may hold for you.

5. Calculating the financial value of your asbestos exposure claim

The calculation of your compensation comprises:

  • general damages - an award for your pain and suffering which takes into account the duration and severity of your asbestos-related illness, your age and prognosis.
  • special damages – compensation for your actual financial loss, include any loss of earnings and the cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

6. Mitigating your loss and claiming benefits

Personal injury compensation, including asbestos compensation, aims to place you back in the position that you would have been in, if it were 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 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.

7. Providing original documents to prove your loss

You must do your best 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.

8. Preparing your case for Court

While we do not always need to issue proceedings in Court, we prepare every case as if it were going to trial anyway.

9. Attending the trial in Court 

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 asbestos claim.

10. Awarding your compensation claim 

If you are successful, the asbestos lawsuit settlement amount you recieve will be decided either by negotiation 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.

Frequently asked questions

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 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 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.

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.

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 you 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 is 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.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

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.

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.

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 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.

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.