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Asbestos-related lung cancer

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  • Overview
  • Our Experts
  • See Our 10 Simple Steps

Asbestos-related lung cancer is a rare type of lung cancer as, by far, the greatest cause of lung cancer is smoking.

Asbestos-related lung cancer typically takes between 15 and 35 years to develop. The latency period is affected by the level of exposure you have had and co-carcinogens such as cigarettes.

The Helsinki Criteria were established in 1997 to help doctors determine if lung cancer (and other pleural diseases) are asbestos-related. If your lung cancer is diagnosed as asbestos-related, it must fit two criteria to ensure a claim is possible:

1.              Lung cancer must develop at least 10 years after initial exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos-related lung cancer has a minimum latency period of 10 years. If you have been diagnosed within a decade of your first exposure to asbestos, your exposure is ruled out as a possible contributing factor. However, if you developed lung cancer 10 or more years after initial exposure, you will overcome the first hurdle.  To prove that asbestos contributed to the development of your lung cancer, you must fit only one of the remaining Helsinki Criteria:

2a           Diagnosis of asbestosis, or

2b           Higher than normal asbestos fibres in lung tissue. The number of fibres is measured per gram of dry lung tissue and must coincide with the amount seen in asbestosis patients. The exact amount varies based on the type and length of asbestos fibres, or

2c            Higher than normal exposure to asbestos, measured in fibres per millilitre of air a year (fibres/mL-yr).  With the assistance of specialist solicitors you must prove that you have been exposed to levels of airborne asbestos equal to 25 f/mL-yr. To reach this threshold in a one-year work period, you must have been exposed to a level of 25 f/mL.  This high level is typically only found in asbestos manufacturing and asbestos insulation work. To reach 25 f/mL-yr in a five-year period, you must have been exposed to asbestos at a level of 5 f/mL. This level is typical of shipbuilding and construction work.

You will see that proving a claim for asbestos-related lung cancer is complex.  You must be able to demonstrate a comprehensive history of exposure.  A medical expert will need to comment on the known link between smoking and those exposed to asbestos, as the risk of developing lung cancer increases by a factor of around 10 by smoking and 5 by asbestos exposure.  The effect of both smoking and asbestos exposure is cumulative and the risk of developing lung cancer is increased by more than 50 times.

You will need to appoint a specialist solicitor to guide you through the extensive evidence you will need to prove your case.  By talking to us as soon as possible we can begin to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

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

  • Specialist occupational illness solicitors
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • 95% success rate
  • Over £200,000,000 successfully claimed in the last 10 years
  • Over 30 years of experience in personal injury compensation

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat about making a claim with one of our expert personal injury solicitors, call us now on 01515505228 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

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.

  • 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

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.

Occupational illness - 10 simple steps to achieving your compensation.

Here are the 10 steps we both need to go through to make your claim for compensation. We understand that you may not have been through this process before, so we hope you find this 10 step guide helpful.

1. Compiling your statement of your work history & exposure.

Often people have been exposed to harm at work many years ago.  We make sure we understand  exactly what happened and work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words about your work history, exposure and the symptoms you are now 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
  • HRMC records to confirm your work history

3. Establishing negligence and breach of duty

You must prove that you worked in an environment where harm was caused to you because your employer failed to protect you from the risks of developing an illness or condition. 

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

Once you have proved negligence and breach of duty, you must also prove that your condition was caused by this negligence and not by anything else.  We need expert medical evidence to assess this, so we will arrange for you to see an expert who will assess your current condition and consider what the future holds for you.

5. Calculating the financial value of your 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 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 aims to place you back in the position that you would have been in but for your illness.  So you are responsible for doing what you can to minimise your loss.

This means that attending treatment to aid your recovery or alleviate your symptoms, and returning to work when it is safe to do so.

We will 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

As you must disclose all documents that are relevant to your claim, you must keep all original accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses/medical treatments  safe until your claim has been settled.

8. Preparing your case for Court

Although It is not always necessary to issue proceedings in Court, we prepare every case as if it were going to trial.

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.

10. Awarding your compensation claim 

If you are successful in your case, the amount of compensation you receive 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 so that we can pay your compensation to you as quickly as possible.

How long does a claim take?

Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get medical records and assessments, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time.  Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.