Compensation

Who can make a claim for compensation?

  • You can make a claim for compensation if you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease which includes mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural effusion.

 

  • Claims can also be made on behalf of a person who has passed away from an asbestos-related disease which generally involve the Executor of a Will and next of kin.

Note: There will be instances when a person passes away, sometimes unexpectedly from their condition during the claim process which necessitates a family member taking over the responsibility of bringing a claim. In all cases involving a deceased claim our specialist solicitors will liaise with HM Coroner’s office.

How is compensation calculated?

Compensation is awarded by the courts to reflect the nature and severity of the illness you have and will make an award for the ‘pain and suffering’ your illness has caused. This is referred to as ‘General Damages’.

Guidelines are used by the courts to determine the level of compensation in each case and it follows no two awards will be alike:

Mesothelioma           £35,000 – £83,750

Lung Cancer               £51,500 – £66,000

Asbestosis                  £31,500 – £69,500

Pleural Thickening    £25,250 – £51,500

 

In addition, other losses and expenses referred to as ‘Special Damages’ can be claimed which might include;

  • Loss of income caused by your illness
  • loss of pension entitlement caused by your illness
  • Private treatment costs
  • Costs of medication
  • Care costs – if, as a result of the illness, you require help around the house or nursing care, the cost of the care itself can be claimed even if a family member performs the task. If you are no longer able to undertake DIY, gardening or other household chores the cost of employing someone else to perform these tasks can also be claimed
  • Aids and adaptations – This could involve modification to your home including installation of a stair lift, bathroom adaptions and the extra cost of specialist travel insurance
  • Hospice care.
  • Travel costs

If the sufferer has passed away their dependents may also be able to claim:

  • Bereavement damages. This is currently £11,800 for the husband or wife of the deceased or if not married, children under 18
  • Funeral expenses
  • Financial dependency on the person who has died
  • loss of love and affection of a husband/wife/father/mother.

Types of settlement awards

Generally speaking most compensation claims are settled on a ‘full and final’ basis which means your claim is fully discharged and you will be unable to return to court for further compensation in the future. It is important to note that acceptance of a full and final settlement does not apply if your award was made in England or Wales for the condition of pleural plaques.  If you have been compensated for pleural plaques and subsequently develop another asbestos-related condition please call us today on FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018.

Depending upon your situation and illness there might be merit in seeking a ‘Provisional Damages Award’ which would enable you to receive some initial compensation with the added comfort of being able to seek further compensation should there be any deterioration in your condition. Our experienced solicitors will discuss this with you albeit the final decision will ultimately rest with yourself.

If you have previously received a provisional damage award for an asbestos-related condition and have concerns over your present state of health and eligibility to further compensation please contact us today.

Once your claim has been started and liability has been agreed by those responsible, your solicitor can consider requesting an interim payment of your damages from the responsible insurers. An ‘interim payment’ is often sought to help alleviate any ongoing financial hardship and in more serious cases to assist in rehabilitation, care costs and likely accommodation improvements to take account of deteriorating health.  Compensation claims can take time to fully settle and an interim payment can be of enormous benefit to a sufferer which often helps them on their road to recovery. Speak with us now if you feel this could apply to your situation.

Protecting your wishes and interests

There are many good reasons why you should consider making a Will if you have not done so until now.  If you have made a Will you can relax and feel reassured about the future for your loved ones and friends.

A Will confirms to everyone your wishes for the distribution of your ‘estate’ which includes all money, possessions and property after you have passed away including any life insurance policies and of course, any successful compensation claim if this settles after you have passed away. Importantly it will indicate the ‘Executor’ or ‘Executors’ who are those individuals you have entrusted to deal with your estate after you have passed away.

If you pass away without making a Will the law will dictate how your estate is to be distributed and this might not take account of your true wishes. Unmarried partners and partners not registered by Civil Partnership cannot inherit from each other without a Will and where children are involved a Will provides an opportunity to express arrangements for the children if either parent passes away.

Many people have a Will drafted early in their lives to provide some certainty in the event of an untimely passing which can be amended whenever necessary to reflect a change in circumstances or wishes. Others, perhaps the majority will only focus upon doing the right thing during times of illness and contemplation.

A Will is the only way to ensure your savings and possessions reach those people you care about whether they are a family member, friend or charitable trust and will remove any potential areas of family dispute.

Aside to savings on inheritance tax your Will can also express specific wishes you might have in terms of the type of funeral service you want and/or any music you would like played or other specific requests.

We are experienced in Will writing and will help you draft a Will to suit all your needs – Just ask.

The claims process

Claiming rightful compensation for an asbestos-related illness can be daunting in terms of the physical and emotional effort required not only by those affected but also their loved ones and friends who provide comfort and support. As leading industrial disease specialists we understand and recognise many of the issues facing people in your situation and with the benefit of our skill and experience we will lead you through the process in a timely and straightforward manner. We will provide regular updates on the progress of your claim and our solicitors will remain accessible to you throughout your case.

Following initial contact your claim will be managed from start to finish by one of our experienced specialist solicitors who has proven experience and results in all types of asbestos claims including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural effusions. Our solicitors speak proudly of their high success rate which is achieved through many years of experience and attention to detail in the assessment of each case.

Please visit our testimonials (http:/www.asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk) to see what our clients have to say about the service they received.

Initial consultation with your solicitor

Initial contact with a specialist solicitor is likely to take place on the telephone but if you prefer we will call to visit you in the comfort of your home to talk through the many aspects of your claim.

Inevitably there will be instances were a case demands ‘fast tracking’, in particular cases involving mesothelioma or where a client is poorly and/or there are good reasons to progress a claim without delay. In all instances we remain flexible so as to ensure we are able to secure and protect your claim.  Evidential difficulties can be encountered where a client becomes too unfit to be interviewed or worse, passes away without making a statement.

Your Solicitor will explain what is involved in making a compensation claim, how it might be funded and above all provide his/her opinion in respect of achieving a successful outcome. All claims are managed under our ‘NO WIN NO FEE’ promise to give you peace of mind and protect you from any costs should your claim be unsuccessful.

Establishing a valid claim

Before starting a compensation claim your solicitor will need to be satisfied:

  • You are suffering from an asbestos-related disease which includes mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening or pleural effusion brought about by ‘workplace exposure’ to asbestos fibres and dust.

 

  • Your asbestos-related disease was diagnosed within the last three years which is the legal timescale for bringing most personal injury compensation claims. In the case of somebody who has passed away from an asbestos-related disease which they did not know about or having been diagnosed did not survive three years, a fresh three year period will commence on the date of their death. Calculation of timescales is not always straightforward and if in any doubt please speak with us today.

 

  • The responsible company/employer who exposed you to asbestos is actively trading or in the case of a dissolved company details of their relevant company insurers can be found for the period of your employment.

During the course of confirming this information your Solicitor will need to obtain medical records from your GP together with employment records which we will request from HM Revenue & Customs.  If you have any documentation to hand which might include medical letters, reports or xray/CT scan reports please let us know.  Any employment-related correspondence would also be helpful as too would a CV to ensure appropriate ‘company investigations’ are made against the correct company.

Securing witness evidence

It will be necessary for your solicitor to obtain a detailed witness statement from you which will include details about your work, exposure to asbestos dust and general level of health. Your statement is very important and will form the basis of your compensation claim. Further statements may also be required from family members or work colleagues particularly in those instances where a sufferer passes away before making a statement.

Medical and Engineering evidence

Your solicitor will want to present your case in the strongest light which will require a specialist chest physician to prepare a medical report on your condition.  Wherever possible your medical examination will take place close to your home.

The instructed physician will consider your medical records and any previous investigations such as an x-ray report.  A medical examination of this nature is not normally required in cases of mesothelioma where the physician can rely upon medical reports and x-rays.

In some cases the services of a Consultant Engineer will be required to provide expert evidence in terms of calculating the extent of your exposure to asbestos and its likely association to your condition, as opposed to some other cause.

Starting your compensation claim

This is an important part of the process which involves a ‘Letter of Claim’ being sent by your solicitor to the other side (The Defendant). The Letter of Claim contains detailed information and allegations regarding the basis of your claim and signifies the start of a legal process which requires a formal response from the other side within three months.

The Defendants are required to indicate their stance on liability and if admitted a process of agreeing a settlement will take place between both parties.  If liability is denied the Defendants are required to indicate their reasons in full. Your solicitor will communicate with the other side and undertake all measures to persuade them of their liability. If they continue to deny liability your solicitor will prepare your case for hearing in court and will instruct a specialist Barrister to present your case.  Whilst very unlikely, your case will proceed to court with continued dialogue and settlement negotiations often taking place until the final hour, sometimes on the morning of the hearing!

Once liability is admitted your solicitor will negotiate settlement terms with the other side and this could represent an opportunity for your solicitor to seek an ‘interim settlement’ award of damages.  An interim award (or ‘payment on account’) is often sought to help alleviate any ongoing financial hardship and in more serious cases to assist with those costs associated to rehabilitation, care and home improvement. A court can order an interim payment which can provide significant benefit to a client whilst awaiting final settlement of their claim.

Settlement

Most cases are settled without the need for a court hearing but in some instances it may be necessary to issue court proceedings particularly if the other side deny liability or cannot agree to settle your claim.  The threat of court proceedings is often sufficient to prompt settlement and where proceedings become necessary it is unlikely you will be required to attend court at any initial hearing. If no viable defence can be demonstrated by the other side to the court it is likely your case will be put before a judge who will consider your claim and make a judgement in terms of the amount of compensation you will receive.

Getting a second opinion

If your case has been rejected by a solicitor have you considered asking for a second opinion? There could be many reasons why your case was rejected or discontinued and below highlights only a handful of reasons.  If you choose not to obtain a further independent opinion any potential claim will inevitably become time barred and ultimately deny you an opportunity to claim compensation:

  • Insufficient medical evidence to support case
  • Insufficient level of ‘exposure to asbestos’ to support a particular disease claim which might include a deceased case brought by Executor/family member
  • Insufficient time left in which to bring a claim through the court or claim already ‘out of time’
  • Denial by Defendant (person responsible for causing your injuries ie. former employer)
  • Any complexities of the case, existence of previous solicitor opinion, difficulties identifying potential Defendant(s)
  • Identity of all potential Defendant(s) is unclear
  • Evidence presented by yourself and/or other witnesses
  • The solicitor’s existing workload

It is important to understand the reasons your solicitor felt unable to help you which is normally outlined in a letter. If you have not got a letter from your solicitor you might wish to contact them and request one or at the very least discuss matters on the phone. Remember that the opinion of one solicitor can differ from that of another particularly if the latter is an experienced industrial disease specialist conversant with all aspects of asbestos compensation. If you were not satisfied with the opinion offered you should speak with us today on FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018, complete our Enquire Now form, talk to us via our Live Chat or email us at, info@asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk.

In many instances a claim might be rejected due to a misunderstanding of the facts or some other reason which can be overcome with the appointment of a fresh and experienced solicitor.  We would be pleased to discuss your case with you and wherever necessary we will write to your previous solicitor for a copy of their file.  If you have previous solicitor correspondence to hand and details of any medical reports, diagnosis or investigations this would be helpful and you might wish to send us a copy of any such correspondence to, FREEPOST ASBESTOS HEALTH CHECK (no stamp required).  We will not charge you for our opinion and if we believe your case has merit we will seek to claim you compensation on our ‘NO WIN NO FEE’ arrangement.

Expatriates

Many thousands of British workers live abroad enjoying warmer climates and fulfilling a happy retirement, but sadly for many their retirement dreams could be affected by inevitable ill health, a grim legacy of their earlier work and exposure to asbestos materials.

Asbestos illnesses develop many years following exposure to asbestos and are caused by the accumulation of microscopic asbestos dust and fibres trapped within the lungs.  Over time this leads to inflammation and scarring of the lungs which commonly presents itself in the form of shortage of breath, persistent cough, wheezing, chest pains and/or weight loss.

Whilst choosing to live abroad former workers exposed to asbestos in the UK retain the legal right to bring a compensation claim against their former employers if they subsequently develop an asbestos related illness which might include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening, pleural effusions or pleural plaques.

Our Lawyers have experience in dealing with expatriates living in all parts of the world and we understand many of the issues and concerns you face dealing with medical investigations and/or a confirmed asbestos-related diagnosis.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness, are undergoing medical investigations or have concerns regarding your health arising from asbestos exposure please call us today on FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018 or email to, info@asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk or complete our enquiry form and we will contact you later.

Any expatriate with respiratory health concerns are urged to discuss these issues with their GP and/or health advisors who will be best placed to advise what if any investigations need to be undertaken.

State Benefits for Expatriates

Former UK workers retain all legal rights to recover compensation for any asbestos-related illnesses they might develop which also extends to their right to seek Government Benefits. See our information regarding state benefits.  Contact us today for help in claiming benefits and/or civil compensation on FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018 or speak to us via our LIVE CHAT. Alternatively, you might wish to email us at info@asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk.

Armed Forces

Asbestos was widely used in the shipbuilding and construction industry before laws introduced in the mid 1980’s banned the importation and use of blue asbestos (crocidolite), brown asbestos (amosite), and in 1999 the use and import of white asbestos (chrysotile).

Inevitably many of HM Armed forces came into contact with asbestos and inevitably inhaled the lethal fibres which cause the asbestos-related diseases of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening, pleural effusions and pleural plaques.

The slow onset of asbestos related diseases which ranges between 10 and 50 years means our retired community, who have long left work, are now most at risk.

Under Crown Immunity legislation veterans are unable to recover compensation for an asbestos illness if their only source of exposure occurred before 1987 within the forces (Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force). Importantly if there has been exposure outside of the armed forces this could significantly change any entitlement to compensation and put a veteran in the same position as a civilian who would enjoy full rights to compensation and state benefits.

If you are a veteran suffering from an asbestos related disease and were exposed to asbestos during employment outside of HM forces call us today on FREEPHONE 0808 164 6018, send an email to info@asbestoshealthcheck.co.uk or complete our enquiry form and we will contact you shortly.

In order to assist veterans suffering from asbestos illnesses an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme exists which provides a war disablement pension for injuries and illnesses caused through service. This scheme replaced the former War Pension Scheme in 2005.

From 11th April 2006 the Government further strengthened the position of veterans who suffer from the incurable asbestos related lung cancer known as mesothelioma by providing them with a choice of compensation. Legislative provisions provide either a one-off lump sum compensation of £140k or alternatively a traditional war pension.

Before deciding upon any course of action you should contact us to discuss your case. If it transpires you have encountered exposure to asbestos outside of HM Forces you might be better placed to consider bringing a civil claim for compensation given the high value of compensation awards. Further information can be obtained from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pensions-and-compensation-for-veterans.