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Claiming Compensation

If you were exposed to asbestos dust and are diagnosed with asbestos related pleural thickening or asbestosis, you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation through the Courts.

You need to have breathed in a lot of asbestos dust to develop asbestosis. Your exposure has to be very heavy over a year or more for you to get this illness. If you only recall slight exposure or don’t recall any exposure, then it’s unlikely you will be able to bring an asbestosis claim but it is still worth speaking to an asbestos solicitor.

You do NOT have to breathe in a lot of asbestos dust to develop pleural thickening.

You can bring an asbestosis claim or pleural thickening claim if you were:

  • Exposed with a previous employer

  • Exposed by a person or any other organisation

  • Exposed from living, working, attending school or being regularly near a factory using asbestos

  • Exposed from washing asbestos contaminated clothes of a family member or living with a family member who worked with asbestos

  • Exposed from using products containing asbestos


What do I have to prove to win my case?

Bringing an asbestos claim is very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

There are various parts to the puzzle that have to be investigated and hurdles that have to be overcome before the jigsaw puzzle fits together.

In an asbestos claim where exposure was at work you have to prove:

Defendant

Identify the employer or its Insurance company

Employment

Prove the sufferer was employed by the Defendant using witness evidence and/or documents, e.g. HMRC Employment History, Apprenticeship Deed

Exposure

Prove the sufferer was exposed to asbestos fibres during the employment using witness evidence from the sufferer and others

Breach of Duty

Prove the defendant broke the law that applied at the time.

Causation

Prove the exposure (it has to be heavy for asbestosis) caused the illness by obtaining independent medical evidence

Value

Prove the value of the asbestos claim by gathering witness, expert and documentary evidence.

My employer exposed me to asbestos but no longer exists so how can I bring an asbestos claim?

You can but we need to trace the employers’ liability insurers on cover at the time of the exposure as they will pay your compensation.

I am not sure where or how I was exposed to asbestos dust. Is there any point in contacting an asbestos solicitor?

Yes, because our specialist asbestos solicitors have expertise, experience and knowledge gained over many years from other asbestos claims and could help you identify your asbestos exposure.

How do you work out how much compensation I am entitled to?

Compensation for pleural thickening and asbestosis claims is normally between £15,000 and £100,000, but in some asbestos claims, it can be a lot higher.

Each claim is assessed individually. How much you get will depend on your circumstances including your age, how breathless the pleural thickening or asbestosis makes you, how long you have had it and what might happen in the future because of it. It will also depend on whether we can sue for all or only part of your exposure to asbestos.

The aim of compensation is to make sure that you and your family don’t suffer financially as a result of you having pleural thickening or asbestosis.  

There are two parts to the compensation claim:

  1. Compensation for the illness and its impact on your life. This is called ‘compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity’. This will normally be between £12,000 to £89,000.

  2. Compensation for your specific financial losses and expenses caused by the pleural thickening or asbestosis and includes loss of earnings, loss of pension and the cost of providing care.

 

For more information on compensation in asbestosis and pleural thickening claims click here

You also have the option of resolving your pleural thickening or asbestosis claim on a full and final or provisional basis.

If you settle your case on a full and final basis then you get all your asbestos compensation now. You cannot come back to Court for more asbestos compensation from your opponent if you get worse or you develop any other asbestos related illnesses, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.

If you settle it on a provisional basis then you get some asbestos compensation now and have the right to come back to Court for more asbestos compensation from your opponents if you get worse or if you go on to develop any other asbestos related illnesses.

We will advise you on the value of your asbestos claim for both options and which is better suited to you.

 

How long will my asbestos claim take?

Our aim is to finish your asbestos claim within 12 months of seeing you.

Some claims with complex or unusual issues can take longer to finish. 

Where a Client is or will soon be seriously disabled by pleural thickening or asbestosis we will use the court’s fast track procedure to resolve the case quickly.  

Will my asbestos claim go to Court? Will I have to attend Court?

The vast majority of asbestos claims settle before any final court hearing.  

How will my asbestos claim be paid for?

We will make sure that you are protected against having to pay legal costs.

We will talk to you about the different ways your asbestos claim can be funded and which is the most appropriate for you.

Most asbestos claims are funded on a No Win No Fee basis. Some solicitors take 25% of your compensation to cover their legal costs but we do not. You will always receive 100% of the compensation we obtain for you.

If we carry out investigations in your asbestos claim but cannot make a claim for any reason then we will not charge you for the work we have done.

What if someone I know has died of pleural thickening or asbestosis but did not made an asbestos claim?

If someone you know died of pleural thickening or asbestosis but didn’t bring an asbestos claim, then their Executors or dependants can contact us. If the Deceased died without giving any information about his/her asbestos exposure, then immediate investigations will have to be carried out so you shouldn’t delay in making a claim.

How long do I have to bring an asbestos claim?

There are strict time limits for bringing a claim through the courts.

The general rule is a court case has to be started within 3 years of the diagnosis of pleural thickening or asbestosis.  

If a sufferer dies of pleural thickening or asbestosis, then it is usually 3 years from the date of death.

If you think the 3 year time limit has expired then it may not be too late to claim.

If there are good reasons for the delay then the Court might let you bring the asbestos claim outside the usual time limit.

If you are outside the time limit it is always worthwhile discussing this with an asbestos solicitor.

It is important that you seek urgent advice from an asbestos solicitor if you don’t know when you were diagnosed or think the time limit has expired or is about to expire. The quicker you act the more likely you will be allowed to pursue an asbestos claim.

The Legal Process - How much will I have to do?

We understand asbestos sufferers and their family members may be worried about bringing an asbestos claim.

We understand you may not have brought a claim before or spoken to a solicitor for anything other than buying or selling a house or perhaps making a will.

We want to reassure you that by instructing The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP to bring your asbestos claim you will be in very good hands.

We will guide you through the legal process for bringing an asbestos claim.

There are some steps where we need your input.

However there are many steps in an asbestos claim where a specialist asbestos solicitor who has the necessary experience and knowledge gained from other claims can simply get on with the claim with minimal or no input from you.

Our aim is to provide you and your family with as much financial security as possible, as quickly as possible.

Stage 1
Investigation

You have an important role here as only YOU can tell us about your work and family life and how you may have been exposed to asbestos how you were diagnosed and what impact this has had on your life.

We will then put this is a statement for you.

We will visit you at home and discuss this with you.

We will obtain your HMRC employment history, medical records and any other documents that help your asbestos claim.
We will try to obtain witness evidence to support your exposure to asbestos dust either from your old workmates or people who worked for the same employer but didn’t know you.
We will obtain a medical report from an independent expert to support your claim. The report can be prepared on a review of the medical records and other papers or following a medical examination. This can take place close to your home or at your home.
We will gather evidence in support of the value of your asbestos claim including witness statements from family members caring for you and any relevant documents.
We will carry out numerous investigations to identify an opponent to claim against.

Stage 2
Negotiation

Once Stage 1 has been completed we will advise you on the prospects of winning your claim and what compensation you will receive.

We will do this at your home or over the telephone, whichever is easier for you.

We will send the evidence we have obtained to your opponents and invite them to settle your claim without taking it to court.

If your opponents make any offer then we will contact you and advise you what to do.

We will always advise you on your options and the best course of action.

There might be some negotation here before we can settle your claim on terms favourable to you.

If we are unable to settle your claim at this stage then we will move on to stage 3.

Stage 3
Court Claim

We will prepare the court papers and start a court action.

If you are terminally ill because of your asbestos illness, severely disabled or will be severely disabled then we will use the court’s fast track procedure for asbestos claims.

Your opponent will serve their reply to your claim.

Within weeks of this there will be a hearing at which the court will fix a timetable for resolving the claim. You won’t need to attend this hearing.

We will inform you what the timetable is.

The court sometimes enters judgment which means the only issue left to be decided is how much your asbestos claim is worth.

If judgment is not entered then the judge will timetable your claim to a trial.

If you are terminally ill, severely disabled or will be severely disabled due to your asbestos illness then the trial date can be within a few weeks or months of the hearing.

If your opponents disclose any documents, witness statements or expert evidence then we will discuss this with you.

If your asbestos claim is being disputed the court might order that you give evidence at home or at another convenient place before trial.

Your opponents will provide us with their valuation of your asbestos claim.

We will update our valuation of your asbestos claim and advise you.

If your opponents make any offers we will discuss this with you and advise you on the best course of action.
In the vast majority of cases we reach an agreement with your opponent. If we are unable to reach an agreement then the court will assess what compensation you are entitled to.

This page was last updated on: 30 Mar 2017, 12:40 p.m.

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