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Mesothelioma Compensation

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Your guide to making a mesothelioma claim

  • Overview

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.

Why should I contact a specialist mesothelioma solicitor?

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 a payment under the Government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, 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 mesothelioma 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.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim mesothelioma compensation?

If you have mesothelioma, it is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. This does not have to have been in large quantities. Mesothelioma victims no longer have to prove that they were exposed to a certain amount of asbestos in order to make a claim. It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to form but once it has, symptoms can progress very quickly. We urge victims of mesothelioma to contact us as soon as possible, so we can prioritise your case and secure you compensation for your illness.

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 will happen if I make a claim?

As part of our claims process, we start by taking your details either through our webform, web chat or you can call us directly on 0808 149 1554. In our initial phone consultation, one of our advisors will want to know as much of your employment history as you can give, the nature of your diagnosis and when you were diagnosed. The claims process will involve us taking as much of a history as you can give. We know that receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can come as a shock and our staff are trained to take your situation as seriously and sensitively as possible. Once our team has determined whether or not we can help you make a claim, one of our solicitors will prioritise your case, as we seek to help mesothelioma victims claim compensation as quickly as possible.

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.  

What is the time limit on making a mesothelioma claim?

Usually, the time limit on making a claim is 3 years after you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or what we would call, the date of knowledge. In some cases, it is only discovered that the person was suffering with mesothelioma after they have passed away. In this case, the time limit on bringing a claim is 3 years after the date of death. If you’re unsure whether you are out of time to make a claim, contact us anyway as our advisors will be able to give you advice.

Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?

You can make a claim on behalf of a loved one who has passed away or is unable to make a claim on their own behalf. If your loved one has passed away having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important that you get in touch with us, as we may be able to help your family achieve some financial security for the future. If you are claiming on behalf of someone who cannot make a claim themselves, we call this a litigation friend and our advisors can give you more information on your responsibilities in this case.

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.

When was asbestos banned in the UK?

1999. The Asbestos Regulations 1999 was signed by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and came into effect on November 24, 1999. However, the first time an attempt to actually ban the import and use of the more dangerous forms of asbestos, crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos), was in the 1985 UK Asbestos (Prohibition) Regulations. And whilst in1987, the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations was introduced to ensure tighter controls in the prevention of exposure to asbestos in the workplace, it was not until 1992 that the use of chrysotile (white asbestos) was added to the prohibition law from seven years’ earlier, which originally banned the blue and brown types. Many houses in the UK still contain asbestos and it is still a concern for contractors to this day, despite legislation.

What if my employer has gone out of business?

If your employer has gone out of business, or we cannot find records of your previous employer, you may still be eligible to make a claim through the governments diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme. When you contact us about your claim, we can walk you through this process in more detail, but payments are on average £123,000.

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.

Are mesothelioma settlements taxable?

All compensation damages awarded to someone in the UK are tax free. This is whether they are awarded in one lump sum, or over a period of time and whether or not they are awarded by court, or settled out of court.

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. For more information on asbestosis, please read our asbestosis compensation guide.

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. 

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.