It is frightening to think that even today, there are still many properties that contain asbestos. This is despite the fact that it has been shown to be extremely toxic and caused the deaths of many people.
So, what level of compensation should you expect, and how should you go about claiming it?
Just a few years ago, there was a raft of asbestos personal injury claims as a consequence of new legislation and developments in medical science. We now know that thousands of people have been suffering the after-effects of exposure to asbestos as a consequence of their workplaces back in the 70s, 80s, and even beyond.
We also know that many houses built before 1990 contained asbestos cement materials.
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Back in the 1970s up to the 1990s, there is no doubt that those working in the construction and building industries were most exposed. There are horrendous examples of long-term exposure to asbestos, which has caused significant damage to the lungs and, in some cases, death.
Unfortunately, there are still some industries today which will come into contact with asbestos (although rarely).
The problem is that these groups of people tend to work on properties that may have been built using asbestos many years ago before the regulations changed. If you find asbestos, then there is an official protocol you have to adhere to in order to remove it safely. Make sure you do it!
The problem with asbestos as a material is the fibers are so small that they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs causing lacerations and breathing difficulties.
Some of the more common symptoms associated with asbestosis include:-
One of the main problems with asbestos compensation claims is the fact that the symptoms can take up to 20 or 30 years to appear. Asbestosis can easily be diagnosed by your doctor, and in many cases, traced back to a previous working environment, but there is no cure.
The medical condition asbestosis is literally centred around your lungs. As a consequence, your GP should be able to listen to your chest for warning signs. Additional tests may include:-
In reality, your GP will be able to diagnose asbestosis without additional tests, but they are often used to confirm initial concerns.
Once the tiny fibres of asbestos are absorbed deep into your lungs, there is no cure. The damage that has already occurred cannot be reversed, although there are treatments that can make life a little more comfortable.
Once you have asbestosis, it is simply a case of making sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, in some cases, this can lead to other conditions such as pleural disease, mesothelioma, and even lung cancer. So, it is safe to say that asbestosis can be a killer.
As asbestosis is a major problem for those who have been exposed to asbestos, there are some significant compensation payments available. It will obviously depend upon the severity of the symptoms, but the following table will give you an idea:-
|Injury||Range of compensation|
|Mild asbestosis, up to 10% lung function impairment||£12,020 up to £30,630|
|More pronounced asbestosis with lung capacity impairment up to 50%||£30,640 up to £84,380|
|Lung cancer||£55,830 up to £77,850|
|Mesothelioma with severe pain/impairment to quality-of-life||£55,830 up to £100,350|
The above compensation payments are known as general damages, financial compensation for pain, and suffering. However, you would likely also be eligible for special damages.
Special damages cover to costs incurred, ongoing costs, and future costs relating to medical treatment as a consequence of, in this case, asbestosis. However, you will also be able to claim for any special requirements, medical equipment, car conversions, and loss of earnings. This list is by no means exclusive, but it does give you an idea of the kind of expenses covered by special damages.
It is worth noting that general damages are dictated by industry guidelines, and thereby limited. When it comes to special damages, there are no limits; as a consequence, special damages will often be a multiple of general damages.
If you are diagnosed with asbestosis by your doctor, then it is simply a case of backtracking to see where you may have first developed the illness. Historically it was a problem to backtrack 20 or 30 years, but records are much clearer today, and it is now much simpler.
As soon as you are ready to pursue compensation, you should approach a claims management company.
When you present your case details and evidence to a claims management company, they will estimate your chances of a successful prosecution. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they would likely offer to take your case forward on a “no win no fee” arrangement.
It is worth noting that as well as compensation from your previous employer, you may be able to claim compensation from a UK government compensation fund. This is something to discuss with your claims management company.
The “no win no fee” arrangement effectively indemnifies the claimant against costs incurred by the claims management company when pursuing compensation. In exchange, they will negotiate a “success fee,” which is traditionally a 25% share of any compensation awarded.
Where you are able to prove negligence on behalf of your previous employer, they would likely look towards an out-of-court settlement. Assuming an agreement can be reached, you could receive compensation within 14 days of signing your acceptance.
There will be occasions where your employer will admit negligence, but the parties are unable to agree on compensation. In this instance, it would be left to the courts to rule on compensation.
Obviously, there will also be occasions where your employer refutes negligence, which will prompt a full-court hearing. You may be asked to attend the court, although obviously, this would depend upon your health.
The judge would hear arguments from both sides and make a ruling on negligence. If negligence was confirmed, then it is simply a case of following the industry guidelines for general damages and calculating the degree of special damages. In this scenario, you would likely expect to receive your compensation within 21 days of the ruling.
Asbestosis was, for many, the silent killer which emerged in the 1970s and was still prevalent in the 1990s. While there is still asbestos in some buildings today, there is nowhere near the level of danger which those in the building and construction industry faced in the 1970s.
Assuming negligence is fairly easy to prove, asbestosis compensation payments tend to follow relatively quickly. Unfortunately, as the symptoms can take up to 30 years to emerge, sometimes the claimant is already in very poor health and often in financial distress.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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