You or a loved one may have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening or even of lung cancer which you know or suspect may be linked to previous asbestos exposure at work.   I will be glad to discuss your prospects of recovering compensation without obligation and without charge.

 

I will visit you at home and act on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.

Don’t dismiss the prospect of succeeding in recovering compensation for any of the following reasons:

    • ‘I cannot recall exposure to asbestos’ – in my experience a patient and detailed discussion, with no obligation or charge, at your home can often help with recollection;
    • ‘My employer went out of business years ago’ – their insurers will be obliged to meet the claim and there are databases of who insured which companies historically.  I have many years experience of tracking down insurance companies as far back as the 1930s;

There is no complete historic list of insurers for dissolved companies in asbestos disease claims.  However more often than not this does not present an obstacle to a compensation claim because, as experienced asbestos legal advice solicitors, we have an extensive database of our own in relation previous successful compensation claims for injuries of all sorts. Although based in Bristol our database is not restricted to Bristol, the South West or South Wales as I cover claims and will visit you anywhere in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland.

I have acted for clients who have worked for major and small employers in Bristol, London, Swindon, Birmingham, Sheffield, Gloucester, Stoke, Stafford, Burton, Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Cornwall, Falmouth,  Newport, Cardiff, Manchester Barrow Liverpool Newcastle Gosport Havant and Medway and well as many other English and Welsh towns and cities and in Ireland and Scotland.In addition we also have access to various external databases linking insurers with employers who have exposed their employees to asbestos, and if unsuccessful there, we will formally request all relevant possible insurers to make searches of their own in their records to see if they held cover.

We can also search for details of past directors at Companies House and approach them personally for details of insurers or insurance brokers who may hold records.  We will leave no stone unturned in finding out which insurer held cover for asbestos related injury.

The Courts have held that even if you were exposed to asbestos dust negligently by more than one employer then that employer will be required to meet the full claim for compensation in a case of mesothelioma.  So even if we can only find the insurers for one employer who exposed you to asbestos you will be fully compensation.  The position is different in asbestosis and pleural thickening cases, where the courts consider it to be appropriate to apportion the compensation between negligent employers.

  • ‘I picked it up off my dad’s/husbands clothes’ – it depends when, but post 1965 this may well not matter.  I am glad to advise;
  • ‘My exposure to asbestos was very brief or light ‘– much depends on when the exposure was and I can advise you on that;
  • ‘I know I was exposed but I cannot remember who my employer was’ – a list of your employers names can be easily obtained quickly from HMRC and this will help you recall;
    It is very common for people to struggle to remember which employer exposed them to asbestos fibres.  As your solicitor I am shall be very happy to sit with you and go through the work you did for the various employers in the list I will obtain from HMRC in great detail without obligation or charge.  In my experience this will often reveal the likely source of the exposure.  As your solicitor I can obtain the list urgently.

 

Get expert advice before you discount a claim. 

Compensation

How this is worked out and how much depends on the nature of the condition you have, but in any event will be significant.

This is best discussed in person and I am very happy to discuss hard figures with you.

The levels of compensation vary significantly depending on the type of asbestos related condition.  Cases of mesothelioma generally attract significantly higher awards than asbestosis or pleural thickening.

Compensation is generally divided between what is known as General Damages (to compensate for pain and suffering) and Special Damages (compensation for identified financial loss).  In the case of mesothelioma awards Special Damages usually reflect the amount of financial support a person would have given their dependent family over the years if their life had not been cut short by the disease.  Alternatively it may be for the earnings or other income they have lost as a result of their shortened lifespan.

Compensation claims for paid care and support, as well aids and equipment can be made.  In either case this often amount to sums of several hundred thousand pounds in compensation to them and their family.  Claims for asbestos compensation in mesothelioma cases can be settled before or after the death of the person affected depending on their preference and as your solicitor I would be happy to advise on the pros and cons of either approach.

Welfare Benefits

For mesothelioma sufferers there are a number of schemes operated by the Government under which payment of a lump sum in compensation can be made regardless of whether or not you contracted the condition at work.

For sufferers of other asbestos related conditions as a result of work another Government scheme offers a lump sum payment.

Other weekly benefits including Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit may well fall due.

Benefits are a complex area so again ‘Get Advice’

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

A diagnosis of Mesothelioma contracted as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres in employment (not self employment) will entitle you to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.  This is a weekly payment paid at the full rate and it will continue to be paid until death.

As your solicitor I would be pleased to help you by obtaining a copy of the relevant forms and helping you to complete them.  The DWP pay the benefit from when you were first disabled by the Mesothelioma but they will not pay any backdated benefit for more than 3 months prior to the date you claim.   Consequently it is important to put in the claim quickly.

The entitlement to the benefit is not affected by your income from any source and is not taxable.

Constant Attendance Allowance

If the effect of the Mesothelioma is such that you need care and attention to support you most of the time you may well be entitled to Constant Attendance Allowance.

Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance

If you are very severely disabled by the Mesothelioma and already have one of the two higher rates of Constant Attendance Allowance you are likely to be entitled to this benefit.

There are several schemes for the making of one off payments by the Government for asbestos related illnesses.

Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

You may entitled to a lump sum if you have one of the following diseases:

  • mesothelioma
  • bilateral diffuse pleural thickening
  • primary carcinoma of the lung when accompanied by asbestosis or bilateral diffuse pleural thickening
  • pneumoconiosis
  • byssinosis

To get a payment the following criteria must be met:

  • your asbestos or other disease must have been caused by your employment
  • you are getting Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • you must claim within 12 months of the decision awarding Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • your ex employer has stopped trading
  • you haven’t yet brought any court action or received compensation for the asbestos cancer or other asbestos illness

You may be able to make a claim if you’re the dependant of someone who suffered from a dust-related disease but who has died. A dependant claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.

I should be very happy to help by assisting in the completion of the appropriate forms without charge.

The 2008 scheme

A substantial one off lump sum payment can be made to you or your dependents where;

  • No payment was due to you under the 1979 Pneumoconiosis Act
  • You haven’t had payment from a damages claim or an employer;
  • You cannot claim from the Ministry of Defence for asbestos exposure

Examples could include:

  • You came into contact with asbestos from someone close to you.  They may have brought the dust asbestos fibres home on their clothes and perhaps you washed them
  • You lived close to premises from which asbestos fibres escaped into the atmosphere
  • you were exposed to asbestos fibres while self-employed
  • You really cannot be sure where you were exposed to asbestos but it was in the UK.
  • To be entitled you need to claim within 12 months of diagnosis.

I should be very happy to help by assisting in the completion of the appropriate forms.

I can help by

  • Helping you complete the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme form and sending it off on your behalf and dealing with the resulting correspondence and helping to answer any questions.  If it is refused I can help with an appeal.
  • Contacting a medical expert to get proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis
  • Putting together the story of your exposure in a witness statment

If it is decided you are entitled you should get payment within 6 weeks of the application. The money will be sent to your bank plus the money needed to pay for any legal costs. If requested, they can also send your payment via cheque.

Are There Any Costs?

The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme provides £7,000 to cover your legal fees. You will receive that directly.

I can guarantee my fees for this work will not exceed the £7,000 that the DMPS provide.

In the event that your application is unsuccessful, there will be no charge. I can assist by examining the reasons for any refusal and if appropriate make representations on an appeal.

If you receive compensation under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, the following benefits can be affected if you or your partner are claiming them:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Council Tax reductions

However, you can still receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) under the following circumstances:

  • You’re in employment
  • You receive State Pension
  • You receive Employment and Support Allowance
  • You get Incapacity Benefit/ Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Claims to American Asbestos Trusts

In certain circumstances claims to trusts in the USA can be successfully made in relation to asbestos related illness even though the exposure to asbestos took place in the UK.  We work with American lawyers to investigate the possibility of payments in that respect and can advise you further if appropriate.

Time Limits for a Claim

It is very important indeed to get advice as soon as you can following diagnosis of an asbestos cancer or other condition.  The reason is that an asbestos claim will be time barred (which means it cannot go ahead without the Court’s permission) if legal proceedings have not been issued within 3 years of the date on which you did find out or could sensibly have found out that you had an asbestos condition.

This rule is quite strictly applied and sometimes those who have had symptoms for some time but did not take medical advice are deemed to have known about the problem from the date the symptoms started.  So act promptly and get legal advice from a solicitor specializing in mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening claims.

If the person affected has already died then there is still time – the executor or person entitled to their estate must act and issue legal proceedings in 3 years from the death.

The Courts have a discretion to extend the time to make a claim, but it is sparingly exercised.  So if you think you may have missed the time limit get legal advice because there may well be still time to make the claim with the Court’s permission.