1 Mesothelioma Personal Injury All you need to know about making a mesothelioma claim from leading personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell.
2 Thank you for managing my father s claim so quickly and efficiently. The whole process was carried out with total professionalism resulting in a stress free time for him for which I am truly grateful. Now I can ensure he gets the best care for the rest of his life and I will never forget your part in making that possible. Thank you so much. Jill This information relates to the law and procedures in England and Wales. Please contact us if you need advice about the law and procedure in other legal jurisdictions.
3 Contents Introduction What is mesothelioma? Why use Irwin Mitchell? How can we help? When can you make a claim? How much does it cost? How much compensation will I get? What happens when I claim? What else can we help you with? Useful contacts
4 Introduction We understand mesothelioma. With years of experience working with fellow sufferers and their families, we appreciate what you are going through and know exactly what needs to be done to help you get the compensation you deserve. My wife and myself would like to express our thanks to you for the efficient and courteous way you have handled my claim. At a very difficult time in our lives, you have made the whole procedure go very smoothly and for that we are tremendously grateful... We did not imagine that the claim would be settled so swiftly and hope my health will allow me a little more time to enjoy my family. Alan
5 5 In most cases people develop mesothelioma through being exposed to asbestos at work. If your employer has failed to protect you and you are suffering as a result you can apply for compensation, even if you no longer work for that employer or the company no longer exists. Our belief is that everyone has the right to seek compensation to help them access the best possible medical treatment, as well as making life a little easier in these difficult circumstances. We are also mindful of the fact that it is hard enough to come to terms with having mesothelioma without also having to go through any stress related to finding good quality legal advice. Our team of highly specialised personal injury lawyers, who deal with asbestos-related cases every day, deliver expert legal advice sensitively and in plain language so that you know what to expect over the course of your claim. Above all, we put you first. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
6 What is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma most commonly affects the lining of the lung [pleura] but can also occur in the lining of the abdomen [peritoneum] and the heart [pericardium]. The disease usually takes years to develop and in the very large majority of cases the only known cause is exposure to asbestos dust. Despite knowledge of the harmful effects of asbestos, the substance was widely used in industry until the mid-late 1970s and remnants of it can be found to this day.
7 7 Who gets mesothelioma? Men who have worked in industry where they have had high exposure to asbestos are most at risk of developing mesothelioma. Typically that means shipyard workers, engineers, laggers, railway employees and construction workers. However, as mesothelioma may be caused by exposure to relatively small amounts of asbestos, cases involving workers such as teachers or health professionals are not uncommon. People who have lived near an asbestos factory or had a member of the family that worked in a job that caused exposure to asbestos dust are also at risk of developing the condition. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
8 Why use Irwin Mitchell? Irwin Mitchell is one of the largest and most experienced personal injury law firms in the country. Our reputation for helping mesothelioma sufferers and their families is second to none and every year we recover millions of pounds of compensation for people diagnosed with the disease. Specialist team Irwin Mitchell has a dedicated team working on claims for clients with mesothelioma. Employing many of the country s finest personal injury lawyers, our highly specialised team combines powerful legal arguments with care and consideration to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
9 9 Our service Our friendly professional service includes: Visiting you in your own home if that is convenient for you Undertaking immediate investigations to determine who was at fault Obtaining early interim payments where possible to support you financially Working in your best interests and giving quality legal advice, backed by many years of experience in supporting sufferers of mesothelioma and their families Pursuing your claim diligently and as speedily as we can Offering other specialist in-house services such as personal injury trust advice, financial planning, wills and powers of attorney. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
10 How can we help? Seeing the effects of mesothelioma first hand has led us to campaign for research to improve the quality of treatment available to victims of the disease. I just want to thank you for all your support and patience in dealing with the complexities of my claim your positive approach and reassurance kept me going at the times when I just felt like running away from it all I am sure others are now benefitting from your expertise and caring manner. Marianne
11 11 Our activity includes: Actively supporting the establishment of a National Research Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases, which would create a much needed network for new and existing research groups around the UK and Ireland and allow them to work closely together as a virtual centre Supporting research into mesothelioma through fund raising work with, and providing administrative support to, the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund Campaigning alongside the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK and the medical profession for new and improved treatments to be made available on the NHS. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
12 When can you make a claim? In many personal injury cases there are strict time limits on when you have to start court proceedings for your claim. For this reason it is important that you seek advice from one of our specialist advisors immediately. In the vast majority of mesothelioma cases, the time limit for pursuing a claim is three years from the date of diagnosis. However, if you miss that deadline or even if the mesothelioma sufferer has already passed away, it may still be possible to pursue a claim. Just contact one of our friendly professional advisors for advice on your particular circumstances.
13 13 Do I have a case? If you are unsure whether you have a claim you or a family member just needs to pick up the phone and talk it over with us. We ll assess your case free of charge, tell you what we think and then you can decide if you want to go ahead. It doesn t matter if you can t remember being exposed to asbestos at any time. Our investigations usually enable us to identify how the exposure to asbestos dust has occurred, however small it might have been. What are my chances of winning? We have a long track record of winning compensation cases where the client initially thought they did not have a claim. When you contact us we will give you realistic advice on the chances of winning based on the information you provide. It is not possible to give a definitive answer on any case. However, the more information we have the more accurate an assessment we can make. We will always give you an honest, straightforward opinion. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
14 How much does it cost? Don t be put off by legal costs there might not be any. Contacting us for initial advice on your claim will cost you nothing even our phone number is free to call. If we advise you to pursue a claim with us, we will review all the options for funding it. Our preferred option is our No Cost To You scheme which you may know better as a No Win, No Fee agreement. That means: if you win you keep 100% of your compensation* if you lose you pay nothing** there are no hidden costs. *Does not apply to group actions or accidents and illnesses outside England and Wales, criminal injury claims or untraced driver claims and is subject to compliance with the terms of your funding arrangements. **Subject to entering a No Win, No Fee agreement with us and complying with its terms
15 15 Other options When we discuss your claim in more detail we will tell you if the No Cost To You option is available or if we need to look at other funding options. You may, for example, be able to fund your case through trade union membership or legal expenses insurance. I know I could not have come this far without your support and guidance. Through all those tearful conversations your patience with me never wavered. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget you and the kindness that you bestowed on me. Val To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
16 How much compensation will I get? The amount of compensation you receive will depend on your circumstances. No two people are the same, so the trial judge will assess your claim and award compensation based on what he or she finds out about your situation. However, most cases settle out of court by agreement. Early interim payments Courts can provide interim payments to victims of mesothelioma during the early stages of a claim. We usually aim to obtain a substantial interim payment to provide for the additional expenses that may be required to meet your care or income needs if you have to stop working. This amount will be deducted from the final award when the case is settled.
17 17 Claims by families where the sufferer has already died It is always best if a claim is started during a sufferer s lifetime. He or she will be uniquely placed to provide information about the circumstances in which their exposure to asbestos occurred. However, it is still possible to pursue a claim after the sufferer has died on behalf of his or her estate and any of their dependants. Contact us for more information on this. State benefits It is possible to claim state benefits for mesothelioma including: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if exposed to asbestos at work Incapacity Benefit if forced to stop working Attendance Allowance if over 65 Disability Living Allowance if under 65 Blue Disabled Parking Badge. Irwin Mitchell can assist you and your family with all benefit applications, which should be made as soon as a diagnosis is suspected. Keeping you informed As we learn more about you and your circumstances, we will be able to provide a more accurate idea of the financial value of your claim. You can be assured that we will do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you and organise payment terms to suit your immediate and on-going needs. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
18 What happens when I claim? Once you have instructed us to claim on your behalf, we will investigate your case thoroughly by gathering witness statements and other relevant details about your illness and on-going requirements. A claim will then be made against the relevant company, who usually have insurance. We will then wait for a response from the insurance company you are claiming against. This can go one of two ways - either they decide to meet your claim or they do not. Don t worry if an insurance company turns down your claim at first as this often happens - it does not mean that your claim will fail.
19 19 What if the company no longer exists? If your claim is against a former employer and they no longer exist, it may still be possible to pursue compensation by tracing the insurer of the company. We have fought for many clients on this basis and have secured compensation for them. In cases where the company no longer exists and it is not possible to trace the insurers, it may still be possible to obtain compensation under a government no fault scheme designed for such cases. A different scheme also provides payment for mesothelioma victims who were either self-employed or exposed outside of the workplace. For example, if you lived near an asbestos factory or had a member of the family that worked in a job that caused exposure to asbestos dust. Going to court The vast majority of cases are settled before they go to court. However, if your case is one of the few that is to be decided by a judge don t worry: it s perfectly normal and we ll be there to help you every step of the way. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
20 What else can we help you with? We don t just specialise in mesothelioma claims. Irwin Mitchell has dedicated teams working in all areas of personal legal services, enabling us to deliver quick and efficient legal advice on anything from settling family disputes and wills or buying a house. Our ability to offer clients a wide range of such specialism under one roof is one of the key benefits of our services.
21 21 Our friendly professional staff give straightforward honest advice in all areas of personal legal services including: Divorce, children and family matters Buying or selling a house Wills, trust and probate services Personal injury or illness Questioning social, education and health care provision Support on making decisions about personal welfare and healthcare matters and how the Court of Protection can assist Employment difficulties Financial Planning including tax and trusts Planning or environmental decisions. Whatever your legal issue our specialist staff will be pleased to help you sort it out all you need to do is pick up the phone and give us call. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
22 Useful contacts Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK Tel: Web: British Lung Foundation Goswell Road London EC1V 7ER Tel: Web: E mail: June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund c/o Riverside East 2 Millsands Sheffield S3 8DT Tel: Web: E mail: Mesothelioma UK Glenfield Hospital Groby Road Leicester LE3 9QP Tel: Web: E Mail:
23 23 Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund c/o British Lung Foundation Sir G B Hunter Memorial Hospital The Green Wallsend NE28 7PB Tel: Web: E mail: Campaigning Organisations International Ban Asbestos Secretariat Web: E mail: Hazards PO Box 4042 Sheffield S8 2DG Website: To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on or text CLAIM to and someone will call you back
24 Looking for help with a claim? Freephone Text claim to and someone will call you back Irwin Mitchell Birmingham Imperial House, 31 Temple Street, B2 5DB Bristol One Castlepark, Tower Hill, BS2 0JA Glasgow 5th Floor, 150 St Vincent Street, G2 5NE Leeds 2 Wellington Place, LS1 4BZ London 40 Holborn Viaduct, EC1N 2PZ Manchester Bauhaus Rossetti Place, 27 Quay Street, M3 4AW Newcastle upon Tyne Gainsborough House, Grey Street, NE1 6AE Sheffield Riverside East, 2 Millsands, S3 8DT Irwin Mitchell Consulting Office Leicester Suite 122, 1st Floor, Gateway House, 4 Pennman Way, Grove Business Park, Enderby, LE19 1SY Irwin Mitchell Abogados Madrid Torre Picasso, Plaza Pablo Ruiz Picasso 1, 11B, Madrid 28020, Spain Málaga Calle Puerta del Mar 15, 2º, Málaga, Spain 2011 Consultations are by appointment only. Irwin Mitchell LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales, with number OC343897, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. All Scottish cases will be handled by a separate Scottish legal practice, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP, which is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.