Thousands of people every year in the UK are met with the news they are suffering from an asbestos-related disease and which in most instances is a direct result of their workplace exposure to asbestos fibres and dust perhaps as long ago as 40 years or more. Sadly the slow progression of an asbestos illness means that most people affected are likely to be those approaching or in their retirement years.
If you have concerns over your respiratory health and recall coming into contact with asbestos dust and fibres you should discuss this with your GP who will examine you and take steps to establish if your lungs show any signs of asbestos exposure or harm.
Following diagnosis or the death of a family member from asbestos exposure it is important an experienced industrial disease solicitor is consulted at the earliest opportunity. You can contact us online at www.asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk or via FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018. Anyone exposed to asbestos dust and suffering from an asbestos-related disease may be eligible to compensation and a specialist asbestos solicitor will be in a position to offer you expert legal advice and start your claim without unnecessary delay. We provide access to specialist asbestos solicitors have many years expertise investigating asbestos claims and tracing relevant companies and insurers who are responsible for meeting your compensation claims and we retain a comprehensive company database for the benefit of all clients.
A mesothelioma claim for compensation can still be brought under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme where a sufferer has been unable to identify the relevant company insurers providing they were diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 25th July, 2012 and negligence can be established.
If you have claimed compensation for an asbestos disease on a ‘provisional damage’ basis and you believe your condition has now deteriorated or changed asbestos solicitors can help you to determine whether or not you are eligible to re-open the case and seek further compensation. Provisional compensation is common in pleural thickening and asbestosis cases where a likelihood exists the condition will deteriorate and/or develop into a fatal cancer claim like mesothelioma. Settlement of any asbestos claim on a ‘full and final basis’ will prevent the re-opening of a case in order to seek further compensation.
Most asbestos related illnesses can be managed by lifestyle changes and should not be viewed as life threatening albeit there are serious and incurable conditions which require different levels of treatment and care where the outlook is not so good. Asbestos-related diseases are primarily diseases affecting the lungs albeit in less common instances serious conditions caused by asbestos can be found in the tummy [peritoneal mesothelioma], within the heart [pericardial mesothelioma] and within the testicles [testicular mesothelioma]. Almost all asbestos diseases are caused by inhaling asbestos fibres which pass through the lungs where they become trapped and over time, typically 10 years to 50 years, cause inflammation, irritation and scarring to the lungs. Sometimes the fibres cause development of abnormal cells which leads to the formation of tumours that attack healthy lung tissue and spread throughout the body through the blood and lymphatic system. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are different forms of cancers affecting the lungs which can be caused by asbestos exposure, albeit there are distinctive features. Mesothelioma forms in the linings of the lungs [the pleura] whilst lung cancer forms within the lung tissue. Their symptoms are very similar and include shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss and fatigue which develop late in both cancers.
Other asbestos disease claims can be made for the conditions of pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis and pleural effusion all of which are caused by being exposed to asbestos dust.
Obtaining you the maximum compensation for your illness is of paramount importance and will enable you to access the best medical care, cover the cost of necessary home adaptions and most importantly provide you and your family with some financial security over the coming years. Wherever appropriate our solicitors will seek to establish liability issues at the earliest stage allowing us to seek an ‘interim payment’ of your damages which can help you meet ongoing care and other expenses.
Asbestos compensation claims need to be brought within strict legal time limits and generally speaking should be brought within three years of a diagnosis or within three years of learning of a condition. Calculating timescales is not always straightforward and special rules exist in respect of children and protected persons, ie, those adults who are under a disability due to a mental disorder. The effect of being under a disability means any compensation claim would not become time-barred and this might be particularly relevant in asbestos cases where the victim is also suffering from dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The time limit rules are slightly different in respect of bringing a case on behalf of a deceased and state that if the deceased did not know about an asbestos illness or having been diagnosed did not survive three years, then a fresh three year period should commence on the date of their death allowing a family member and/or Executor of the Will to bring the case.
If you suspect that someone has passed away from an asbestos related disease you should contact HM Coroners’ Office particularly if there is an ongoing claim for compensation. In those instances where the cause of death is industrial disease or unclear HM Coroner will become involved and consider any need for a Post Mortem examination. A Pathologist will perform the examination and usually obtain tissue samples, blocks and slides for microscopic analysis which will form the preliminary results for the Coroners early attention.
Wherever appropriate your solicitor will liaise with HM Coroners’ Office in order to evaluate the often complex medical evidence. They will represent your interests at any Coroners’ Inquest and consider the findings and verdict which might support a compensation claim.
Throughout the course of any compensation claim it is important you feel reassured by your solicitor’s efforts and you are given accessibility to contact them at any time to discuss any aspect of your case as might arise.
Asbestos is now banned in the UK albeit the legacy lives on in many buildings and homes that were built before 1980 which still contain asbestos materials used as insulation around boilers, ducts, pipes, sheeting and fireplaces.