Asbestos claims solicitors

Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team is one of the most experienced industrial disease teams in the country and is nationally recognised for its handling of complex and substantial cases. 

We have helped recover over £3.5 million in compensation in the past 12 months for those with asbestos related diseases. 

The team has long standing relationships with many agencies and charities that help people with asbestos related diseases, and their families, receive as much assistance and support as possible during a very difficult time.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work related deaths in the UK. It was used extensively from the 1940s to the 1980s as a building material and any building built before 2000 could potentially contain asbestos. It was widely used for its heat resistant properties in both residential and industrial buildings, ships, schools and other public buildings.

Which asbestos related conditions can I make a compensation claim for?

There are a number of different asbestos conditions which you can claim for:

  • Mesothelioma Mesothelioma is a tumour which affects the mesothelium, most commonly in the lining of the lung, but can also affect the abdominal cavity, heart or testes.
    ​It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos and has a long latency period of typically between 20 and 50 years. Mesothelioma can develop even after relatively low levels of exposure to asbestos. It can also occur following indirect exposure to asbestos, for example when washing overalls which have asbestos fibres on them, exposure within a school, or environmentally as a result of living close to an asbestos factory.
     
  • Lung cancer Lung cancer can be caused or contributed to by asbestos exposure. There are no clinical means of distinguishing between lung cancer caused by asbestos and lung cancer caused by smoking.
    People who smoke and have been exposed to asbestos are at a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer. Those who have not smoked but who have had asbestos exposure are also at risk of developing lung cancer.
     
  • Asbestosis asbestosis is fibrosis of the lungs caused from breathing in asbestos fibres. It is usually individuals who have had significant exposure to asbestos over several years who go on to develop asbestosis. The effects normally appear 20 years or more after exposure. It can cause breathlessness and may become more severe over time.
     
  • Pleural thickening Asbestos related diffuse pleural thickening is a benign thickening of the pleural membrane surrounding the lungs. It can cause breathlessness and may become more severe over time. The effects normally appear 20 years or more after exposure. 

How much compensation can I get for an asbestos claim? 

What are general damages?

In a successful case, general damages are awarded for the asbestos related condition itself and the accompanying pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The Judicial College Guidelines provide a framework for the assessment of general damages and give the following brackets (as at 2019) for asbestos related diseases:

  • Asbestos related diseases - 1-10% lung function impairment – £13,230 to £33,700

  • Asbestos related diseases - 10% and above – £33,700 - £92,820 

  • Mesothelioma - £55,830-£100,350 

  • Asbestos related lung cancer - £61,410 - £85,340 

The independent medical evidence we will obtain to support your claim will assist us in valuing your claim.  

What are special damages?

In addition to general damages, other financial losses arising as a direct result of your asbestos related condition can also be claimed in the event of a successful claim.

This can include:

  • Care and assistance – where you have or will have to pay for professional care then we can include the cost of this in your claim.  Furthermore, we can include an equivalent cost of care provided by family members or a hospice
  • Lost income – both past and future loss of earnings can be included in appropriate cases, for example where you have to take time off work or retire early because of your condition
  • Services – if you now have to pay for help around the home as a result of your asbestos related condition, for example for cleaning, DIY, gardening or window cleaning then the cost of this can be included in the claim
  • Dependants – if you are claiming for the loss of a loved one following an asbestos related death there may be a claim for statutory bereavement damages, for services and/or care provided and for financial dependency
  • Out of pocket expenses – you can include in your claim the cost of aids and equipment reasonably required, for travel expenses incurred as a direct result of your condition, prescription charges and increased living costs
  • Medical treatment – the cost of private medical care or alternative therapies can also be included in your claim

Settlement on a provisional damages or full & final damages basis

If the independent medical evidence we obtain supports that there are future asbestos related risks then there will be the option of looking to settle your claim on a provisional damages basis instead of on a full and final damages basis.

A provisional damages settlement enables you to recover compensation for your current condition on the basis that any future risks do not materialise but there will be a court order specifying certain terms which will enable you to re-open your case and return for further compensation, often where your asbestos related condition deteriorates or a new asbestos related condition develops.

On the other hand, settlement on a full and final damages basis will give you an enhanced award of compensation, taking into account (and “buying off”) any future risks.

You would be unable to return for further compensation in the future if you have settled your claim on a full and final basis, even if your asbestos related condition deteriorates or a new asbestos related condition develops.

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General asbestos claims FAQs

  • How long do I have to make an asbestos claim?

    For people with an asbestos related disease there is usually no problem in bringing a claim, even though the exposure occurred a long time ago. This is because you have 3 years from the date it can reasonably have been expected that you “knew or ought to have known” that your condition may be associated with your asbestos exposure, within which to issue court proceedings. If someone dies within 3 years of this date then their executors have 3 years from their date of death within which to issue court proceedings. However, there are some circumstances where exceptions can be made, so please do contact us so that we can advise you appropriately.

  • What can I claim for?

    This will vary from case to case and will depend on the injuries you have suffered, the medical treatment that you may require and any losses incurred.

    The claim amount may be made up of the following:

    • An amount for the injury itself, whether physical or psychological.
    • Any care that you have received in the past and any that you may need in the future, whether that is paid or unpaid. We can also include a claim for costs incurred by a hospice.
    • Any loss of income that you have suffered and any that you may suffer in the future.
    • The cost of the requirement of additional services such as DIY, gardening, window cleaning etc. Whether those services are paid for or are unpaid.
    • A claim on behalf of dependants (such as a spouse, child or other family member) for services provided, care provided or financial dependency.
    • Out of pocket expenses such as aids and equipment, travel, private medical costs and alternative treatment costs.
  • What are the steps to make an asbestos claim?

    We are happy to discuss the possibility of bringing a claim, without any obligation to take matters further.

    In addition to understanding how the asbestos related diagnosis came about and the impact of that diagnosis, we will ask for information about how you or your loved one came into contact with asbestos so we can start to assess your potential claim.

    Even if you haven’t worked directly with asbestos or cannot recall the circumstances of your asbestos exposure then still get in touch with us as it may well be that, after careful questioning, it becomes apparent where and when your exposure to asbestos is likely to have occurred.

    Where asbestos is considered to have potentially played a part in a death, it is important that the local coroner is notified of the death and that a post-mortem takes place. We can advise on this process.

    An initial interview is always provided free of charge. At that meeting we will discuss how to fund the claim. In the majority of cases, we can act under a Conditional Fee Agreement (‘no win, no fee’).

  • What benefits are available for different asbestos related diseases?

    There are various Government benefits available for those diagnosed with an asbestos related condition, including the following:

    For mesothelioma:

    • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
    • Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979
    • Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008
    • Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2014

    For asbestos related lung cancer:

    • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
    • Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

    For benign asbestos related diseases (asbestosis and asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening):

    • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
    • Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

    We are happy to advise or assist you in making any appropriate applications

  • Can I make a claim on behalf of a loved one who has died?

    It is possible to make an asbestos claim on behalf of a loved one who has died as a result of an asbestos-related disease.

    You may be entitled to claim if you were the spouse or child of someone who lost their life to this disease, or if you were financially dependent on them.

    To make a compensation claim in these cases, you must start your claim within three years of the date of death or at the point at which a post-mortem reveals that the death was caused by asbestos exposure.

  • How should my employer have protected me against asbestos exposure?

    A lot of types of asbestos have been under restrictions since the 1970s, the last type was banned in 1999. It is therefore possible to have been exposed to asbestos whilst working on buildings that were built or refurbished before 2000 and in many other professions, we see a large number of former laggers’ or plumbers who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease after exposure at work.

    Guidance regulations were introduced in 1970 on the use of asbestos in the workplace. These days, employers must follow strict rules set out by the Health and Safety Executive. They should:

    • Identify any asbestos present and what type it is
    • Carry out a risk assessment to see whether it is possible to do the work without asbestos exposure
    • Consider whether the work should be done by a contractor who holds a special license to handle asbestos
    • Notify the relevant authority to let them know about the work that will involve asbestos
    • Provide training and protective equipment to employees

    If your employer failed to follow regulations around the use of asbestos and you later developed an asbestos-related illness, you could be entitled to compensation.

  • Who will be paying for my asbestos claim?

    The company where you worked at the time of your asbestos exposure is liable to pay your compensation. However due to the latency period of asbestos in the body a lot of companies have ceased trading once a claim is relevant. If your former employer has gone out of business, you could still make a claim. The company will have been insured to deal with claims such as this, so it will be the insurer’s responsibility to make any compensation payouts

    In cases where the companies have gone out of business and the insurers are untraceable there are benefits set up to compensate those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.

  • Will my asbestos case go to court?

    Our highly experienced mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitors are recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as experts in handling asbestos related claims. Whilst we cannot guarantee that any particular claim will settle out of court, we take great care in investigating and preparing each claim that we take on. Our clients’ claims usually settle successfully without the need for a contested trial.

    Even in non-contested cases, there will be occasions when the case is brought for shorter hearings before the court. In these cases, the lawyers for both sides present the agreed settlement to the court for the judge’s approval.

Really helpful in solving my case in a swift and professional manner. I felt really safe having my case in your hands and I am really please with the end result! 

Boyes Turner client 

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