Helping you claim compensation for mesothelioma
If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure at work, you could be entitled to make a mesothelioma compensation claim.
How Much Could You Claim?

Mesothelioma Claims

Using asbestos in any buildings, production or manufacturing processes is now illegal in the UK. However, it was widely used throughout the last century in various products and industries due to its heat resistance and insulation properties. Inhaling asbestos dust and fibres can cause numerous health problems, including mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is responsible for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK. However, the number of people currently diagnosed with the disease is worryingly high, at over 2,600 cases per year. It is expected that this number will rise in the coming decades, as symptoms of the condition can present themselves many years after exposure.

With that in mind, if you have been diagnosed with the disease and it can be proven that your current or previous employer was liable for the condition, you should be eligible to make a mesothelioma claim. To find out if you have a valid case, call 0800 032 3660 today or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.

Am I entitled to make a mesothelioma claim?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused. A free case assessment with an experienced mesothelioma solicitor can let you know if your case has merit and your legal options. Usually, a claim should be possible if:

  • You were diagnosed with the condition within the past three years
  • Another party breached their duty to keep you safe from asbestos exposure

If you are unsure how you were exposed to asbestos, it is still worth seeking legal advice. Your solicitor will look at your employment history and other circumstances and may be able to track down the responsible party.

You could also start a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who passed away due to the disease. You can claim if you relied on the deceased’s income or the services they provided in the household. Mesothelioma compensation for family members can also help cover the cost of funeral expenses and financial losses incurred by your loved one before their death.

How to make a mesothelioma compensation claim

The process for making a mesothelioma claim will typically follows these steps:

  • Seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor who will asses liability and the strength of your case and guide you through each step of the claim.
  • Gather the required documentation to support your claim. The necessary evidence may include your employment history, proof of asbestos exposure, medical records and documents showing financial losses.
  • After establishing liability and the damages you incurred, your solicitor will submit your claim to the defendant. The responsible party will have a specific timeframe to respond.
  • If the other side admits liability, your mesothelioma solicitor will begin negotiations to reach a fair settlement. They will keep you informed throughout the process.
  • If liability is denied or you cannot settle, your solicitor will initiate court proceedings. That does not necessarily mean you will go to court, as most cases resolve before the trial.
  • If your case goes to court, a judge will decide liability and the mesothelioma compensation you are entitled to receive based on the available evidence.
  • If your claim is successful, you should receive your compensation award within four weeks. However, you may be able to secure interim payment during the claims process if you have pressing financial needs before your case is resolved.

What is mesothelioma, and how is it caused?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can affect the lining of the lungs, the heart, the abdomen or the testicles. It is almost always due to asbestos exposure, a group of naturally occurring minerals used throughout the 20th century in many industries due to their heat resistance and insulating properties. The risks associated with asbestos exposure were overlooked for decades until it was finally banned in 1999.

Workers in some industries are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma or other types of asbestos-related diseases. These include construction and industrial workers, electricians, plumbers, miners and insulators.

When asbestos materials are disturbed or damaged, tiny fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled or swallowed. These can become lodged in the lining of organs, leading to irritation, inflammation, and scarring and eventually cause cancer. Unfortunately, because mesothelioma presents symptoms many years or decades after exposure, diagnoses are often terminal.

There are various types of mesothelioma, and they include:

  • Pleural mesothelioma. It occurs when the cancer cells affect the lining of the lungs and is the most common type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma. In this condition, the cancer cells affect the lining surrounding the organs of the abdomen. Common symptoms include weight loss, weakness, nausea and swelling.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma. It occurs when the cancer cells affect the lining of the heart. This disease is quite rare and accounts for only 1% of all mesothelioma cases. Common symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Testicular mesothelioma. This is the rarest form of mesothelioma and occurs when the cancer cells affect the lining surrounding the testicles.

Regardless of what type of illness you were diagnosed with, if it was due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to make a mesothelioma claim. If your solicitor can assess liability, you can recover compensation for the pain, suffering and related financial losses caused by your disease.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma can vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. Here are some common symptoms associated with it:

  • Persistent chest pain. Many people with mesothelioma experience chest pain that can be sharp or dull. This pain is due to the tumour pressing against the chest wall or other organs.
  • Shortness of breath. Mesothelioma can cause fluid build-up around the lungs, known as pleural effusion, which can lead to difficulty breathing.
  • Persistent cough. A chronic cough that does not go away and may be accompanied by coughing blood is also a common sign.
  • Fatigue. Feeling very tired or experiencing a lack of energy is a common symptom.
  • Unexplained weight loss. Mesothelioma can cause a loss of appetite and unintentional loss of body mass.
  • Swelling. Swelling of the abdomen or face and the development of lumps under the skin in the chest or abdomen are possible symptoms.
  • Hoarseness. Mesothelioma in the throat or oesophagus may lead to hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. If your condition is related to asbestos exposure, speak to a mesothelioma solicitor by calling free on 0800 032 3660. They can let you know whether you have a valid compensation claim and answer any questions you may have.

Mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the protective lining of several organs like the heart, lungs or abdomen. According to Cancer Research UK, around 2,700 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year, with around 2,400 deaths. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and only 2 in 100 sufferers will survive their disease for ten years or more.

The diagnosis of mesothelioma typically involves several steps:

  • A review of your medical history and a physical examination;
  • Various imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans or MRI;
  • A biopsy is the definitive way to confirm the presence of the condition. In this procedure, a small tissue sample is taken from the affected area and examined under a microscope to look for cancerous cells;
  • If mesothelioma is confirmed, further tests may help determine the stage of the cancer and how far it has spread.

Although there is no cure for the disease, several treatments are available to help ease suffering, such as:

  • Talc pleurodesis. This procedure involves draining fluid from around the lungs to relieve breathlessness. Talc, or a chemical powder, is put into the cavity surrounding the lungs to prevent further fluid build-up.
  • Radiotherapy. Radiation therapy is a standard procedure for mesothelioma. It uses X-rays of other types of radiation to kill malignant cells and help reduce signs and symptoms of advanced cancer.
  • Chemotherapy. This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells or prevent their growth. Benefits include improved symptom relief and a longer life expectancy. It can, however, have various side effects like nausea, fatigue and damage to healthy cells.
  • Pleurectomy-decortication. This operation usually leads to better lung function. It aims to remove all or part of the pleura and any visible tumours on the lung or chest wall.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy. This surgery is a radical treatment option that removes the entire cancerous lung and is only suitable for a limited number of patients.
  • Physiotherapy. Physical therapy is often recommended to help maintain strength and functional ability as much as possible.
  • Cordotomy. In this surgical procedure, a small section of nerve fibres in the spinal cord is destroyed to disrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain. That can help alleviate pain and improve life quality.
  • Analgesics. Various types of drugs may be used to relieve pain and improve comfort and well-being.

The treatment plan for mesothelioma depends on the stage of the cancer and your overall health. Early detection and prompt treatment can help improve the prognosis and enhance your quality of life.

Who is at risk of developing mesothelioma?

The only cause of mesothelioma is exposure to harmful asbestos fibres, which can happen in three main ways:

  • Occupational exposure. This occurs in the workplace if employers fail to take the necessary measures to prevent contact with toxic mineral fibres.
  • Secondary exposure. It happens when family members of employees are exposed to asbestos through dust or fibres on their hair and clothing.
  • Environmental exposure. Those who live near an asbestos site can also be exposed to asbestos fibres and develop a related illness such as mesothelioma.

People who work in industries where asbestos was used regularly are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Some of the most common occupations that solicitors see in claims for mesothelioma compensation include:

  • Laggers and boilermakers
  • Joiners, carpenters and builders
  • Electricians
  • Motor mechanics
  • Plumbers and pipefitters
  • Asbestos miners
  • Industrial workers
  • Shipyard and railway workers
  • Demolition and construction workers

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and it can be proven that liability lies with another party, such as an employer, you will likely be eligible to claim compensation.

Contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer for a no-obligation and free discussion of your case. They will confirm if you have a valid personal injury claim, explain the process involved and answer any questions that you may have.

What precautions should my employer have taken to prevent asbestos exposure?

The risks of asbestos exposure have been known since the beginning of the 20th century. Since 1931, more and more regulations were introduced to protect the health and safety of employees working with the mineral. The Health and Safety Executive published the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, which outline the legal duties of employers.

If you worked with asbestos, your employer should have:

  • Carried out inspections to determine the presence, type, and condition of any asbestos-containing materials;
  • Warn you of the dangerous nature of asbestos and provide instructions on safe work practices;
  • If possible, ensure that no toxic fibres are released into the atmosphere;
  • If that is not possible, provide you with adequate personal protective equipment and clothing;
  • Have control measures in place to minimise asbestos exposure;
  • Ensure that only qualified and trained personnel handle asbestos-containing materials;
  • Display clear warning signs in areas where hazardous materials are present;
  • Monitor the concentration of airborne asbestos and worker exposure;
  • Ensure the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

When employers fail to follow these and other safety procedures, there can be tragic consequences for workers and their families. If you or a loved one have suffered due to your employer’s negligence, an experienced solicitor could help you make a mesothelioma compensation claim.

What if the company I worked for is no longer trading?

If your previous employer cannot be found, you may still be able to claim mesothelioma compensation. Since 1972, it has been a legal requirement for companies to have Employers’ Liability (EL) insurance to cover personal injuries to employees. If your former employer has gone out of business, your solicitor will claim against their former insurer.

The Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) is an independent non-profit organisation that gives claimants access to their employer’s insurance information. Your solicitor will use their platform and records from Companies House to track down their former insurer and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

If both your former employer and their insurer are untraceable (i.e. they have both gone out of business), you cannot proceed with a mesothelioma claim. However, the government pays several benefits to mesothelioma sufferers that you may be able to claim, such as the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) and others detailed in the section below.

How much compensation for mesothelioma will I be entitled to claim?

The amount of compensation awarded for a mesothelioma claim can vary significantly from one case to another. It will depend upon the severity of your condition, its impact on your life, and your prognosis. Generally speaking, the more severe the illness and its consequences, the greater the compensation will likely be.

Compensation for personal injury and illness is determined by referring to the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) Guidelines. There is also legislation, such as the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 and the Diffuse Mesothelioma 2018 Scheme, which also offers lump sum payments to mesothelioma sufferers. Based on the Judicial College guidelines, you could receive between £65,710 and £118,150 for the pain, suffering and loss of amenities caused by mesothelioma.

Compensation will also take into account any financial losses that have been caused as a result of your illness. If you make a successful claim, your solicitor could secure damages that cover the following:

  • Any physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental health injuries like anxiety and depression
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
  • Loss of earnings from being unable to work
  • The cost of prescriptions and private medical treatments
  • Transport costs related to medical treatments and appointments
  • Any home care you require
  • Medical devices and modifications to your home to improve your well-being

What other benefits are available for people with mesothelioma?

Besides claiming compensation from your former employer, there are several other ways to get financial help if you were diagnosed with mesothelioma. These include:

  • The Diffuse Mesothelioma Compensation Scheme (DMPS) is set up by the UK government and awarded if you have not received compensation from elsewhere. It offers a lump-sum payment if you have been exposed to asbestos at work and cannot trace your employer or their former insurer. The time limit to claim under the DMPS is one year from diagnosis.
  • The Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (PWCA) offers a one-off lump-sum payment to mesothelioma sufferers or their dependants. The PWCA payment is only available if you received an IIDB, you did not take court action, your employer stopped trading, or you worked for them longer than 20 years ago. You have one year from the award or IIDB to claim under the PWCA Act.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is available if your condition was due to exposure to asbestos at work, including if you worked abroad for a UK company. However, you cannot get this benefit if you have been self-employed. People with mesothelioma are entitled to a maximum rate of £207.60 per week, which can be paid into your account every week, four weeks or 13 weeks.

A mesothelioma lawyer can let you know if you may be eligible for these or other benefits, such as Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). For a free consultation, do not hesitate to enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 today.

Time limits to start a mesothelioma claim

Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that often takes decades to develop after the initial asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with the condition and want to claim mesothelioma compensation, you should keep in mind there are strict time limits for starting legal proceedings.

According to the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to start a claim from when you were first diagnosed. That means the time limit begins on the date of knowledge of your illness, and it does not matter when you were exposed to the harmful mineral fibres. In exceptional cases, the court has the power to extend the time limit based on:

  • The reason and extent of the delay
  • Whether this has affected the cogency of evidence
  • The defendant’s conduct after the cause of action arose
  • Whether you acted promptly and reasonably once you found out you may have a claim
  • The steps you took to obtain evidence

Different time limits may apply to some mesothelioma compensation claims:

  • If the claimant cannot conduct legal proceedings due to their illness or another pre-existing condition like an intellectual disability, the time limit is suspended.
  • Family members of people who died from mesothelioma have three years to start a claim from the date of death.

Nonetheless, you should contact a specialist mesothelioma solicitor as soon as you receive your diagnosis. That will generally make it easier for your solicitor to gather the evidence needed to support your case and work to secure interim payments on your behalf.

How long does it take to receive mesothelioma compensation?

Each case is unique, and your specific circumstances will determine how quickly you may receive your compensation. However, due to the nature and complexity of a mesothelioma diagnosis, these claims will usually take at least 1-2 years to conclude. Even if the final settlement takes longer, receiving an interim payment at an early stage in the claims process is often possible.

The time it takes for a mesothelioma claim to conclude depends on several aspects, such as the complexity of the case and the severity of your condition. Some key factors that can impact the duration of your case include:

  • How long it takes to gather evidence to build your case
  • The time required to determine the responsible parties for the exposure to asbestos
  • How long it takes to receive a proper medical investigation to determine the extent of the illness and its impact on your life
  • Whether the defendant admits or denies liability for your illness
  • The time it takes to negotiate a settlement and the estimated value of your claim
  • Whether you have to argue your case in court

To speed up the claims process, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible and document everything related to your disease in detail. That will make it easier for your mesothelioma solicitor to understand what happened and settle your claim promptly.

Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?

If your loved one is too sick to start a mesothelioma compensation claim, you could conduct legal proceedings on their behalf. You may also be able to represent them if they suffer from another incapacitating condition, such as a mental health disorder or neurodegenerative disease. To claim on their behalf, you must apply to the court to be appointed as their litigation friend.

A mesothelioma lawyer can help you fill in and file the necessary forms. Before appointing you, the court will verify whether you can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently and that you have no conflict of interest with the victim. Once you become a litigation friend, you will have several responsibilities, such as:

  • Instruct solicitors and take legal advice
  • Make sure the claimant attends all their medical appointments
  • Try to find their wishes and keep them informed about the progress of the case
  • Attend court hearings if necessary
  • Deal with correspondence
  • Make decisions about the case, and consider any settlement offers from the defendant

You could also make a wrongful death claim if you lost a loved one due to mesothelioma. Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, any dependent of the deceased could start a legal case, including their spouse, parents, children and siblings. In this case, you may be able to claim compensation for:

  • The lost income and other financial benefits your family member provided
  • The loss of services they have provided for the family, such as childcare and household chores
  • Funeral expenses like wreaths, the headstone and embalming of the body
  • The financial losses incurred by your loved one before dying, such as the cost of care and assistance, private medical treatments and lost wages

A limited number of family members, including spouses, civil partners and parents of unmarried children, can also claim bereavement damages. The current bereavement award stands at £15,120 and must be divided equally between the eligible claimants.

Do mesothelioma solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service

If you do have a valid case, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to provide you with a 100% no win no fee* service. That means there are no upfront costs, and if they cannot win your case, you will not pay a penny. Some other benefits of using this type of arrangement include:

  • It ensures you have access to justice regardless of your financial situation;
  • It reduces the financial burden and allows you to focus on your case without worrying about expenses;
  • It reduces the financial risk, as you only pay anything if your case is successful;
  • Your mesothelioma solicitor is motivated to work diligently on your behalf, as they only get paid if they win your claim;
  • You can be sure that your case has merit and that you are not wasting your time, as your solicitor will not take on the risk otherwise;
  • You will receive high-quality legal representation and advice;
  • You will know from the beginning exactly how much you have to pay your solicitor if they win the case, as their success fee is agreed upon from the beginning;

Knowing that your solicitor is working on a no win no fee basis can ease some of the stress associated with claiming mesothelioma compensation. They will handle all the legal matters while you can focus on your recovery.

Your solicitor will also purchase After the Event (ATE) insurance before starting legal proceedings. The ATE is self-insuring, and you only pay the cost of the premium if and after receiving compensation. This type of insurance policy provides coverage for the legal costs and disbursements incurred during claiming, such as:

  • The defendant’s solicitor fees and other legal expenses
  • Cost of travel to and from legal appointments
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Medical reports and expert witness fees
  • Cost of printing and copying

To find out if you may have a valid mesothelioma claim, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back to receive your free case assessment. As there are strict time limits for making a claim, you must seek legal advice following your diagnosis as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out.

* 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.