Asbestos Claims

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Our personal injury claims team includes Solicitors who specialise in claiming compensation for victims of Asbestos related diseases.

We offer free legal advice and we may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis - ask us for details.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals made up of microscopic fibres, but when released into the air, these fibres can enter the lungs and lead to conditions including:

  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer
  • Pleural thickening


Asbestos materials were widely used in the UK in various building materials, as it has excellent insulating and fire retardant properties. When the health risks it posed became apparent, the use of all asbestos was completely banned.

But in many instances, the damage had already been done.

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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 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 a person’s life and that of their family, and we at Simpson Millar feel this is something that should be put right, getting justice for our clients and 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 unsure whether you can make a claim for asbestos, our friendly advisers can take your call and give you some preliminary advice free of charge.

Making an asbestos claim for compensation isn’t just about punishing a negligent employer. The compensation you receive can help provide for you and your family and help you enjoy the time you have left.

And 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.

More Information about Asbestos Diseases

Mesothelioma

This asbestos-induced cancer is responsible for the highest number of asbestos related deaths. 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 it is identical to the more common form of lung cancer makes it difficult to ascertain 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 a thickening of the lung tissue, which leads to gradual shortness of breath but isn't necessarily fatal. Even so, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, it was the exclusive cause of 467 deaths in 2015.

Pleural thickening

Pleura is the name given to the lining of the lungs, which, in the case of pleural thickening, becomes inflamed, swelling and squeezing 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 asbestos conditions

Accreditations & Awards 

Gavin Evans and Helen Grady are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers as both occupational disease and asbestos disease specialists.

Charity Relationships

Simpson Millar is a sponsor of Mesothelioma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

Frequently asked questions about Asbestos

What medical information do you need to make a claim?

You don’t personally need to provide us with 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 seek 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 obtain a medical diagnosis letter, and this will be useful when making your claim.

What is the claims process?

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, a person’s estate should make a claim three years from the date of the deceased’s death.

The asbestos claims process will look like this:

  • Initial legal advice
  • Writing a letter to the defendant(s)
  • Obtaining medical records
  • Obtaining works records/DWP records
  • Arranging medical examination and obtaining report
  • Defendant conducting their own investigations
  • Investigation period (up to three months)
  • 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 diagnosis 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.

What support can I expect throughout the claims process?

We’ll offer many kinds of support throughout the 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 death of a loved one

We may be able to deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis, so ask us for details on this option.

What funding is available?

Unfortunately, there is no legal aid available in cases of this nature. A No Win, No Fee Solicitor can help in these circumstances, reducing the financial strain at what will already be a difficult and distressing time

How long does an asbestos claim take?

It depends how complex the case is, but on average, a Mesothelioma claim takes about 9 months. Lung cancer and asbestosis generally require a great deal more evidence to pursue a successful claim and it can therefore take more time to reach a settlement.

This could be as long as three years from the initial diagnosis.

How long do I have to make a claim?

There is a three-year limit on making personal injury claims. In the case of asbestos, this applies from when you are first diagnosed with a related condition, as opposed to when you were first exposed.

What if the employer responsible no longer exists?

As it can take anywhere up to 50 years for the symptoms of an asbestos-related disease to manifest, we often find that the employer responsible no longer exists. Since 1969, it has been required by law for companies to take out Employers' Liability Insurance, ensuring they are covered for any illness or injury that befalls an employee as a result of the work they do.

If the employer has ceased trading, the insurer is then responsible for any settlement. It is the duty of a good law firm to use their experience, knowledge and the resources at their disposal to track down insurance firms and ensure that they pay out.

If the employer didn't have any insurance (pre-1969 it wasn't compulsory), the Government's Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) is available, with compensation based on your age when you were diagnosed

How much is an asbestos claim worth?

Individual circumstances, including age, life expectancy and the severity of your illness, will play a role in the level of the award given.

Compensation settlements can start at anywhere around £15,000 for minor ailments, rising to £50,000 and in some cases in excess of £1million at the more serious end of the scale. Our Solicitors can advise you on what your claim is worth.

What if a family member has died from an asbestos-related disease?

In the sad event that a loved one has died and it’s revealed that this is due to asbestos exposure, the three-year deadline starts from the date of their death.

Are there other government payments?

Whether or not you have made a civil claim, there is a Government Lump Sum payment available to all victims of mesothelioma. Most specialist Solicitors will arrange this automatic entitlement almost immediately, as these funds can be made available within a few weeks of diagnosis.

If you haven’t made a civil claim or contacted a Solicitor, it is still possible to claim this Government Lump Sum payment for mesothelioma and, where possible, it should always be claimed during lifetime.

If, however, the victim has passed away then the spouse or child of the deceased should apply for this payment within 12 months of the victim's death.

This is unique in that it is the only automatic payout for a disease offered by the government. As with the DMPS, awards are banded by age at the time of diagnosis. Sufferers of other asbestos-related diseases may also be able to claim a lump sum payment, dependent upon the level of exposure and their respiratory impairment.

Do call a specialist industrial disease Solicitor or your local CAB for full details of government payments for asbestos disease victims.

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Simpson Millar is a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Morecambe and Southport.