Being diagnosed with asbestosis, pleural thickening or any another asbestos-related disease can be shocking and terrifying for you and your loved ones.
If you need to make an asbestos exposure claim, or you'd like a Free Claims Assessment from our expert Asbestos Solicitors, call us today and we can help.
Our friendly team of specialists aim to settle claims quickly, so you can enjoy the time you have left.
We can also help you get any state benefits you’re entitled to, and have helped clients get benefits within 8 weeks of starting a claim.
With our help, you can feel assured you and your family can have the financial security you need and deserve following your diagnosis.
We could deal with your asbestos claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Meet some of our Asbestos Claims Solicitors
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Our Personal Injury claims team includes Solicitors who specialise in claiming compensation for asbestos-related diseases.
If you have been in contact with asbestos due to someone else’s negligence and as a result have suffered pain or financial loss, you could be entitled to compensation.
Our Asbestos Claims Solicitors and Lawyers can offer you a free claims assessment, which will give you the chance to discuss your asbestos claim in detail. Where it’s possible, we could visit you at home or in hospital (in England or Wales).
If you think that you have an asbestos compensation claim, get in touch with our specialist Asbestos Solicitors today.
We could deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, so just ask us for more details. Read on to learn more about how to claim for asbestos compensation with Simpson Millar.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals made up of microscopic fibres that have good insulating and fire-retardant properties. But when these fibres are released into the air, they can enter the lungs and lead to life-changing conditions. Asbestos occurs naturally in six different types, all of which are carcinogenic to humans.
Asbestos was commonly used in building in the UK, particularly shipbuilding, and as insulation in factories, schools, hospitals and homes. When the health risks became apparent, the use of asbestos was completely banned. However, in many instances, the damage had already been done.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and as a result believe you have an asbestosis claim, pleural thickening claim, or asbestos cancer claim, you can receive free legal advice from a member of our team of Asbestos Claims Solicitors and Lawyers.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos contains microscopic fibres that, when disturbed, enter the air and can be easily inhaled by anyone nearby. The durable nature of these fibres means they don't break down within the human body, and instead become attached to the lining of the lungs, along with other areas of the respiratory system. They are almost impossible to expel. It is these fibres that cause healthy cells to mutate and turn cancerous.
What Diseases are Associated with Asbestos?
Asbestos is associated with four main illnesses. These are:
- Mesothelioma – This asbestos-induced cancer is responsible for the highest number of proven related deaths. In 2017, the number of deaths from mesothelioma reached 2,526 in Great Britain. Mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lungs, as well as the lower digestive tract, and has a gestation (latency) period of anything from 20 to 50 years. Once diagnosed it is almost always terminal
- Asbestos-related lung cancer – The fact that asbestos-related lung cancer is identical to the more common form of lung cancer makes it difficult to attribute a cause, but it is estimated that asbestos-related lung cancer kills the same number of people annually as mesothelioma.
- Asbestosis – Like mesothelioma, asbestosis has a long latency period, with similar symptoms emerging many years after initial exposure. Unlike mesothelioma, it is not a cancer. Asbestosis results in scarring of the lungs which leads to gradual shortness of breath, but isn't necessarily fatal. Even so, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, deaths mentioning asbestosis (excluding those that also mention ‘mesothelioma’) have increased significantly, and 2017, there were 517 deaths.
- Pleural thickening – Pleura is the name given to the lining of the lungs, which, in the case of pleural thickening, becomes inflamed, causing swelling and squeezing of the lungs, leading to breathlessness and chest pains. It isn’t fatal in itself, but is common among people exposed to asbestos, who might be susceptible to another, more serious condition.
What Asbestos-Related Issues Can Simpson Millar Help With?
Whether you would like to make an asbestos-related lung cancer compensation claim or you are suffering from pleural thickening, we can help with a range of issues caused by asbestos exposure. To read more about what our Asbestos Solicitors can help you with, see below.
Asbestos Compensation - Sheila’s Story
Eddie had worked in the building industry since he was 14. He got a bad chest infection and was sent to hospital where he was diagnosed with asbestos-related pleural plaques. He was due compensation for his suffering, so chose the Industrial Disease team at Simpson Millar to make a claim. By winning their asbestos exposure claim, Eddie’s family have been provided with some extra security.
Can I Claim for Asbestos Exposure?
It can be decades before signs of asbestos-related conditions, such as pains in your chest, shortness of breath and coughing can become apparent. That’s why it’s so important to have the help of an expert Asbestos Solicitor if you’re making an asbestos claim years after your initial exposure.
The diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease can have a huge impact on your life and your family's. Here at Simpson Millar, we feel this is something that should be put right, and that’s why we aim to get justice for you while offering support and assistance throughout the claims process.
We’ve represented lots of people affected by asbestos-related diseases over many years, including plumbers, electricians, welders, carpenters, plasterers, painters and decorators, hospital workers and teachers.
If you’re asking yourself, ‘can I claim for asbestos exposure?’, our friendly advisers can take your call and complete a Free Claims Assessment.
Making an asbestos compensation claim isn’t about punishing a negligent employer. The compensation you receive can help provide for you and your family, and it can also help you enjoy the time you have left.
Crucially, it also raises awareness of this ongoing problem and puts pressure on the government to do all it can to protect other workers from possible risk.
If you were exposed to asbestos as part of your job and are suffering with an asbestos-related conditions, you can make a claim for compensation. For a free claims assessment, get in touch with one of our Asbestos Solicitors.
How Long Does an Asbestos Claim Take?
The length of time an asbestos claim takes depends on the complexity of the individual case. However, on average, a mesothelioma asbestos claim can take anywhere between 6 and 18 months.
Lung cancer and asbestosis claims generally require a great deal more evidence to make a successful claim, so it can take more time to reach a settlement. This could be as long as three years from the initial diagnosis.
How to Claim for Asbestos Compensation
In asbestos cases, you generally have three years from the date of diagnosis to make a claim.
You should get in touch with us as soon as you become aware of your condition. Alternatively, if someone dies from an asbestos related condition, the estate can make a claim within three years from the date of death.
The asbestos claims process will look like this:
- Initial legal advice
- Getting medical records
- Getting work records / DWP records
- Writing a letter to the defendant(s)
- Arranging medical examination and obtaining report
- Defendant conducting their own investigations
- Investigation period
- Obtaining evidence for financial losses
- Commencing court proceedings if necessary
The unique nature of each asbestos claim means we can’t say exactly how long it will take to resolve.
Sometimes it takes up to three years from instruction for a settlement to be achieved, but one recent case we dealt with was resolved in just ten weeks. Don’t worry though, we’ll let you know straight away roughly how long your claim may take.
How Much Can You Claim for Asbestos?
Individual circumstances, including age, life expectancy and the severity of your illness, will play a role in the level of the award given. It also depends upon which asbestos-related illness you have been diagnosed with: pleural thickening (there are many different respiratory disability percentages), asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Asbestos compensation settlements can start at around £5,000 for minor symptoms, however, rise to £50,000, and into the £100 thousands where there is a high income at the time of diagnosis or the sufferer is a full-time carer to a disabled husband, wife or partner, or has dependent children. Our Personal Injury Solicitors can advise you on what your claim is worth.
What Support Can I Expect Throughout the Asbestos Claims Process?
We’ll offer many kinds of support throughout the asbestos compensation claims process, including:
- Guidance on applying for state benefits and lump sum payments from the government
- Advice and help on aids for the home and nursing care
- Helping you find local support groups and asbestos charities
- Assistance with cost of travel to hospital appointments
- Advice and assistance on making a will, taking out a grant of probate and trusts
- Home visits
- Assistance to the family in dealing with coroners and inquests following the death of a loved one
We can usually deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis, so ask us for details.
Simpson Millar is a proud sponsor of the Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS), providing NHS primary care respiratory practitioners with our expertise and insight on industrial respiratory conditions, so they can help their patients access appropriate information and advice.
Asbestos Claims FAQs
- Is Asbestos Banned in the UK?
Yes. From the mid-1980s onwards, rules and regulations have been brought in to ban the use and importation of the two main types of asbestos – crocidolite (blue) and amosite (brown) – and control the use of a third – chrysotile (white). In 1999, the import and application of chrysotile was also banned and strict rules for working with existing asbestos installations have continued to be updated since, resulting in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
- How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?
There is a 3 year time limit on making a personal injury claim. In asbestos claims, this applies from when you are first diagnosed with an asbestos related condition, not from when you were first exposed to asbestos.
You don’t personally need to give us any specific medical information in the first instance. If you’ve been to hospital, it’s very likely that you’ll have recently had an x-ray, scan, or possibly a biopsy.
Our specialist Asbestos Solicitors will always try to get this information from your GP or from the hospital you’ve been treated at as a matter of urgency.
Your Solicitor will work to get a medical diagnosis letter, which will be useful when making your claim.
- What if a Family Member Has Died from an Asbestos Disease?
In the terrible event that a loved one has died because of asbestos exposure, the 3 year deadline starts from the date of their death as long as they died within 3 years of the date of their diagnosis. This is known as the limitation period. Always get legal advice as soon as you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness as the rules on limitation can be complex.
- Can I Get Legal Aid for an Asbestos Claim?
Unfortunately, there is no legal aid available in Asbestos Claim cases. However, at Simpson Millar we deal with many asbestos claims on a No Win, No Fee basis.
- What if the Employer Responsible No Longer Exists?
Since 1972, companies are required by law to take out Employers' Liability Insurance, making sure they're covered for any illness or injury of any of their employees. If the employer has ceased trading, the insurer is then responsible for any settlement. It's the duty of a good law firm to use their experience, knowledge and the resources at their disposal to track down insurance firms and make sure they pay.
If the employer didn't have any insurance (pre-1972, it wasn't compulsory), the government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) is available, with a tariff compensation system based on your age and when you were diagnosed.
- Are There Other Government Payments?
Whether you've made a civil claim or not, there is a government lump sum payment available to all victims of mesothelioma. Most Asbestos Solicitors will sort this automatic entitlement out almost immediately, as these funds can be made available within a few weeks of diagnosis. If you have not made a civil claim or contacted a Solicitor, it's still possible to claim this government lump sum payment for mesothelioma and, where possible, it should always be claimed during lifetime. If, however, the person has died, then the husband, wife, civil partner or child should apply for this payment within 12 months of their death.
This is unique in that it is the only automatic payout for a disease offered by the government, and anyone with a diagnosis of mesothelioma is entitled to an award, whether or not the sufferer had any past exposure to asbestos. As with the DMPS, awards are banded by age and time of diagnosis. Sufferers of other asbestos-related diseases could also claim a lump sum payment, dependent on the level of exposure and their respiratory impairment.
There are many other state benefits available for people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. We can help you to access these benefits when making your Asbestos Claim. They can include Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people under state retirement age, Attendance Allowance for those over state retirement age and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). An application for a Blue Badge can also be made.
- What Should I Do Next?
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.