Asbestosis compensation claims
If you have asbestosis due to your working conditions, get in touch to find out if we can help you make a claim for asbestosis compensation
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Claim for Asbestosis Compensation

Are you wondering if you are entitled to claim for asbestosis and are unsure what to do next? If you or a member of your family has developed the condition due to the negligence of another person or company, an experienced solicitor could help secure compensation.

Asbestosis is a condition caused due to being exposed to asbestos. When you breathe in asbestos dust, the mineral fibres can enter the lungs and cause fibrosis. This scarring of the tissue leads to reduced functioning of the lungs, causing breathlessness. It usually takes more than 20 years for asbestosis to develop and for people to experience any symptoms.

If you are suffering from such a condition through no fault of your own, it is essential to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. To speak to an asbestosis solicitor, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your contact details into our claim form to get a call back.

What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a chronic respiratory disease caused by prolonged contact with asbestos dust. This condition develops when a person inhales asbestos fibres and is generally related to industries where the mineral is regularly used.

Even family members of those working in such industries are at risk of developing asbestosis because asbestos fibres tend to stick on clothing worn by workers. Those who live close to areas where asbestos is mined or processed are also at risk because asbestos is airborne. Once it spreads into the atmosphere, anyone coming into contact can be at risk.

When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they travel through the trachea to the lungs and make their way to the alveoli. These are small pockets through which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. In response, the alveoli start producing macrophages. These cells are responsible for keeping foreign materials away from the lung tissue.

Although macrophages can destroy most of the asbestos fibres, they cannot eliminate the longer ones. These cause the lung tissue to become stiff and fibrotic. As a result, the lungs lose their flexibility and ability to expand as they should, making breathing difficult.

It usually takes between 20 and 30 years for a person to realise they have asbestosis. The first symptoms are typically mild, such as shortness of breath during physical activity. Over time, these will worsen, leading to lung pain, clubbed fingers, and coughing up blood.

Asbestosis can lead to several other industrial diseases as well, such as mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. Symptoms of asbestosis may be treated with medication, but there is no cure for the disease itself. If you have developed asbestosis due to the negligence of your employer, you must seek expert legal advice and get your asbestosis claim moving.

How is asbestosis diagnosed and treated?

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos and experience any symptoms, such as shortness of breath or wheezing, you should see your GP as early as possible. They will listen to your lungs and ask about your work history. If necessary, they will refer you for further tests, which may include:

  • A chest x-ray to see if there is scarring or irregular lung markings
  • A CT scan, which provides a detailed view of the lungs
  • Pulmonary functions tests assess how well you can inhale and exhale
  • In some cases, a biopsy can help rule out other lung conditions

Based on these tests and your medical history, your doctor will be able to make an asbestosis diagnosis. The outlook for the disease can vary significantly based on how early you discover it and the extent of the damage. Once it develops, asbestosis is a chronic and irreversible condition, and there is no cure for the disease itself. However, some treatments and lifestyle changes can help, such as:

  • One of the most important things for managing the illness is to stop smoking if you smoke;
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which combines exercise, breathing techniques, and education to improve lung function and overall quality of life;
  • Using an inhaler to ease breathing if your symptoms are mild;
  • Oxygen therapy may be necessary for severe cases to provide supplemental oxygen and improve breathing;
  • Medication can sometimes be prescribed to reduce lung inflammation;
  • Asbestosis can weaken the immune system, so having vaccinations against respiratory infections is essential.

Early detection and avoiding further exposure are vital to managing asbestosis effectively. Regular medical follow-ups and compliance with treatment plans can help enhance the quality of life and slow the disease’s progression.

Can I claim compensation for asbestosis?

If you have been exposed to asbestos due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to claim compensation for asbestosis. The easiest way to find out if your case has merit is through a free consultation with a legal adviser who will ask you a few questions about your circumstances. They will offer you legal representation on a no win no fee* basis if you can show that:

  • You have been in contact with asbestos at work or elsewhere;
  • Your employer or a property owner was aware of the risks of exposure but failed to take reasonable measures to protect your health and safety;
  • Your condition was a direct result of asbestos exposure.

You do not have to worry if you do not know when or where you came into contact with the harmful fibres. Your asbestosis solicitor will review your work history and identify how you were exposed and who might be liable for compensation in your case.

You can potentially start an asbestosis claim even if you suffered due to secondary exposure. For example, you could have breathed in the asbestos fibres from the hair or clothes of a family member. Claims are also possible if you developed asbestosis due to living near an asbestos factory or processing plant.

What evidence will I need to make a claim?

To support an asbestosis claim, you will need to gather relevant evidence to show the link between your illness and asbestos exposure. You also need proof of how your condition has affected your life and the related financial losses incurred. Here are some key types of evidence that can strengthen your case:

  • Detailed information about your employment history;
  • Copies of your medical records, including X-rays, CT scans, and pulmonary function test results;
  • A formal diagnosis of asbestosis from a qualified medical professional;
  • Expert opinions from pulmonologists or occupational health specialists can also support your claim;
  • Statements from colleagues or co-workers who can testify about asbestos exposure at your workplace;
  • Any documentation related to workplace safety practices and asbestos training provided by your employer;
  • Details about the conditions and materials present at your workplace that could have caused asbestos exposure;
  • If available, obtain any asbestos registers or records maintained by your employer or relevant authorities;
  • Evidence of financial losses and expenses related to your condition.

An experienced asbestosis solicitor will ensure you have all the necessary evidence and guide you through the legal process.

Asbestosis causes and symptoms

Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that has been extensively used for various purposes, particularly in the building industry, as it can serve as an insulator, corrosion protector, and fire-resistant material. It can be found in numerous construction components, such as sprayed coatings, pipe insulation, floor tiles, ceilings, and door panels.

The three main types of asbestos include Crocidolite, Amosite and Chrysotile. Crocidolite and Amosite were banned in 1985, while Chrysotile was prohibited in 1999. Thus, buildings constructed before 2000 may still contain asbestos in some parts.

However, asbestos is only harmful when disturbed and releases fibres into the atmosphere. When inhaled, these can cause various diseases and illnesses, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening and lung cancer. If asbestos is left undisturbed, it does not spread in the air and therefore does not pose an immediate risk to anyone.

The two principal causes of asbestosis are:

  • Occupational exposure. Asbestosis is commonly associated with exposure to asbestos fibres at work. Workers in industries like construction, shipbuilding, mining, and insulation manufacturing are at higher risk of exposure.
  • Environmental exposure. In some cases, individuals who live in areas with asbestos deposits or near asbestos-related industries may also come into contact with asbestos fibres.

Common symptoms of asbestosis include the following:

  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • A persistent cough or coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Swelling of feet, hands and ankles
  • Restless sleep
  • Hoarseness and wheezing
  • Pain in the chest or shoulders
  • Finger clubbing, where the toes and fingers appear rounded and swollen

If you have developed asbestosis, it is essential to seek legal advice by calling free on 0800 032 3660 to get your compensation claim moving. If an asbestosis solicitor can prove a third party has failed to take all reasonable measures to protect your health and safety, you will likely have a valid claim.

Responsibilities of employers to prevent asbestos exposure

Since the 1970s, several types of asbestos have been subject to restrictions, and the last type was finally banned in 1999. That means you or your loved one could have been exposed to the mineral while working in professions such as construction or plumbing before 2000.

The first laws on asbestos were introduced in the UK in 1931. Over the years, additional regulations and guidelines have been introduced to further control the use of asbestos and protect workers and the public from its harmful effects. The current rules set out by the Health and Safety Executive state that employers should:

  • Conduct thorough inspections to identify the presence of asbestos in the workplace and its type;
  • Carry out a risk assessment to determine whether it is possible to carry out work without asbestos exposure;
  • Plan the labour in a manner that minimises any disturbance to these materials;
  • Provide appropriate information, instruction, and training to all personnel who will be working with asbestos materials;
  • Ensure employees have adequate supervision while carrying out their job duties;
  • Consider using licensed contractors for tasks involving asbestos handling;
  • Notify the relevant authorities about any work involving asbestos;
  • Supply personnel with well-maintained, clean, and functioning personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Provide training on the correct usage of the protective equipment;
  • Make appropriate arrangements for the safe disposal of any asbestos waste generated during the work.

If your employer or former employer has neglected their duties, affecting your health, you may be eligible to claim compensation for asbestosis.

What if my former employer is no longer trading?

Asbestosis can develop anywhere from ten to sixty years after coming into contact with the mineral. In most cases, the exposure can be traced back to working conditions, especially if the claimant is a former:

  • Construction worker
  • Shipyard worker
  • Insulation workers
  • Plumber or electrician
  • Miner
  • Factory worker
  • Mechanic

However, given how long it takes to show symptoms, it may be possible that your former employer is no longer trading, whether they have declared bankruptcy, have been bought out or closed. In this case, you may still have a valid claim for asbestosis against their historical insurer.

The health risks associated with asbestos exposure have been known since the beginning of the 20th century, and the first health and safety regulations were introduced in 1931. Employers have been required by law to get insurance covering personal injury claims related to asbestosis since 1972. If your employer is no longer around, but their insurer is still active, they may be liable to pay you asbestosis compensation. If neither your former employer nor their insurer can be traced, you could still be eligible for state benefits.

Making an asbestosis compensation claim

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestosis, you may be eligible for compensation. Here are the steps to follow when making a compensation claim:

  • Seek medical attention. It is essential to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional if you suspect you have asbestosis. They will confirm the diagnosis and provide necessary medical records and reports, which will be crucial for your claim.
  • Gather evidence. You will need relevant proof to support your claim and show what losses you incurred. That may include medical records, doctor’s reports, evidence of past asbestos exposure (such as work history or witness statements), and other relevant documentation.
  • Consult an asbestosis solicitor. They will guide you through the legal process, assess the strength of your claim, and advise you on your rights and options.
  • Establish liability. Your solicitor will investigate and determine who is liable for your asbestos exposure. That may be a former employer, product manufacturer, or another responsible party.
  • Assess damages. The compensation award you may receive will include general damages (compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity) and special damages (financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost income).
  • Make a formal claim. Your solicitor will formally submit the compensation claim on your behalf. It will outline the details of your case, the evidence supporting your asbestosis claim, and the amount of compensation sought.
  • Negotiation and settlement. The other party or their insurer may admit liability. In this case, your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf to reach a fair settlement. If you cannot settle, you may have to take the case to court.
  • Court proceedings (if necessary). If the case goes to court, your solicitor may be able to represent you and argue your case before a judge.
  • Compensation. If you make a successful claim, you will receive a compensation award for the losses and damages resulting from asbestosis.

Take the stress out of starting a claim for asbestosis by hiring the services of professional and experienced personal injury solicitors at injuryclaims.co.uk. To get started, call free on 0800 032 3660 or request a call back.

Time limits to start a claim for asbestosis

The time limit to start an asbestosis claim is typically three years from the date of knowledge. This date refers to the moment you realised your condition was due to asbestos exposure and received a medical diagnosis. However, it is essential to seek legal advice promptly, as any delays in taking legal action could affect your ability to claim.

In certain circumstances, the UK court may allow an extension of the three-year time limit. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the court has the discretion to override the limitation period if it is considered fair and reasonable to do so, based on the following:

  • The length and reason for the delay in bringing the claim
  • The extent to which the cogency of evidence has been affected by the delay
  • The conduct of the defendant after the cause of action arose
  • The duration of any disability of the claimant arising after the date of the accident
  • The extent to which the claimant acted promptly and reasonably once they knew that the alleged negligence might be capable of giving rise to a claim
  • The steps taken by the claimant to obtain expert advice and the nature of any advice received.

If the court determines there is a valid reason for the delay and it would be fair to extend the time limit, they may allow the claim to proceed, even if it falls outside the usual three-year period.

There are a few exceptions to the typical limitation period:

  • If the claimant has a disability and cannot conduct legal proceedings, the time limit is suspended. In this case, a litigation friend could claim compensation for asbestosis on their behalf at any time.
  • If your loved one passed away due to asbestosis, you could start a claim within three years from the date of death. The time limit could also begin from when a post-mortem has confirmed the cause of death.

How much compensation for asbestosis am I likely to receive?

It is difficult to say from the beginning how much compensation your asbestosis solicitor will be able to secure on your behalf. That will depend on the specifics of your case, such as the impact your disease has had on your health, finances and overall quality of life. Generally, the more significant the effects, the higher the asbestosis compensation award.

There are two types of damages awarded in any personal injury claim, including a claim for asbestosis:

General damages cover the subjective losses caused by the disease, such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological distress
  • Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Loss of amenities

Special damages cover the costs associated with the illness, including:

  • Medical expenses like prescriptions and the cost of private treatment
  • Costs of care and assistance with daily tasks
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
  • Modifications to your home to accommodate a disability
  • Lost income and loss of earning capacity
  • Specialist equipment like respiratory assist devices or inhalers

Special damages are much easier to calculate and are based on actual evidence, such as receipts and invoices. General damages are non-monetary losses that are harder to estimate. They are typically based on historical cases and the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. In a claim for asbestosis, you could receive:

  • £35,500 to £105,850 for severe asbestosis and reduced lung function
  • £15,100 to £35,500 for less severe symptoms

You may also be entitled to state benefits if you were diagnosed with asbestosis. First, you could apply for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), a weekly payment from the government. The weekly amount awarded can range from £41.52 to £207.60, based on your assessed level of disablement.

You could also apply for a lump-sum payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers Compensation) Act 1979. However, this payment is only available if you do not make a civil claim for asbestosis. If you have already received this lump sum and made a successful claim, the amount awarded will be deducted from your compensation.

Can I claim on behalf of a loved one after their death?

If you lost a loved one to asbestosis, you might be entitled to claim compensation. Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, any dependent of the deceased can start an asbestosis claim, including:

  • Their spouse or former spouse, or civil partner
  • Anyone living in the same household for at least two years as their spouse
  • A parent or another ascendant
  • A child or another descendent
  • Anyone treated as a parent or child
  • Their siblings, uncles or aunts

Dependency claims usually cover two different aspects:

  • Financial dependency on the deceased, if you relied on their income, pensions, investments and any other economic benefits they provided.
  • Loss of service dependency if they provided services in the household, such as gardening, childcare or DIY projects.

You could also claim compensation for funeral expenses like the headstone, the memorial, wreaths and transporting the body to the grave. Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, you can also claim for past financial losses incurred by your loved one due to their diagnosis between the date of knowledge and the date of death.

A limited number of dependants, such as spouses and parents, are eligible for bereavement damages. The current bereavement award was increased from £12,980 to £15,120. It serves as recognition of the wrongful death of your loved one and the grief and suffering it has caused you.

How much does it cost to make an asbestosis claim?

If you have a valid claim, an asbestosis solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. That means claiming compensation for asbestosis will not cost you a single penny. Your solicitor will take on the risk of litigation, and you only pay them if they win your case.

At the beginning of your case, you will agree upon a success fee they will get if you receive compensation. This fee cannot exceed 25% of your award for general damages and past financial losses. If you lose the claim, your solicitor will not recoup their costs, as you do not have to pay them anything. As their fee depends on the outcome of your case, you can rest assured they will work hard to secure the maximum asbestosis compensation for you.

Under the no win no fee agreement, you will also receive After the Event (ATE) insurance coverage. The ATE will cover all the costs and disbursements incurred during your claim if you lose, such as:

  • The defendant’s expenses and solicitors
  • Court and counsel fees
  • The cost of medical reports and expert witnesses
  • Travel expenses
  • The cost of paralegal and other staff time
  • Barrister fees if your case goes to court

You only have to pay the cost of the ATE premium if your claim for asbestosis is successful. Otherwise, the policy is self-insuring, and you will incur no out-of-pocket expenses.

To find out if your case has merit and what are your chances of success, call 0800 032 3660 today to speak to an asbestosis solicitor. You can also enter your detail into our online claim form to receive a call back and discuss your options.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.