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Mesothelioma

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  • Overview

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer almost always caused by early exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, perhaps decades ago.

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.

Inhaling asbestos dust does not cause immediate damage, but,  ironically, the very act of 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.

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.

It is important that you contact a specialist mesothelioma solicitor as soon as possible.  We have access to information and contacts which will help trace the insurers of the companies who employed you. Additionally we will ensure you apply for Department of Work & Pensions benefits, including a payment under the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979, which is a lump sum award in case the insurers cannot be located.

If you have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important for one of our specialist solicitors to come out and see you if convenient. We can obtain all the information we need and reassure you about the claims process. We understand that your diagnosis may have come as a shock and you will have questions that we will aim to assist with. Whatever your needs, please know that your claim will have priority.

If you are the next of kin of someone who has died from mesothelioma, it is still important for us to see you and we will explain how we will handle your claim, guiding you through the claims process.

By talking to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible you will increase your chance of securing the compensation you deserve.

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.