2 Injury & Negligence I was totally satisfied with my solicitors service, it was First Class. Quote about Pannone part of Slater & Gordon, from Mr Fletcher, Merseyside
3 WELCOME TO PANNONE PART OF SLATER & GORDON When choosing a law firm, what do you look for? Quality service? Great reputation? Specialist solicitors at the top of their profession? Or simply friendly and approachable people? We offer all of these things. We focus on providing the highest standard of service with a personal touch that makes the difference. Our clients describe us as honest, professional and committed and in the words of the Legal 500 independent legal guide, we are excellent in every way, and never falter in support and availability. Our lawyers are easy to talk to and will keep you fully updated with no legal jargon. Whether you are entitled to legal aid, no win, no fee or legal expenses insurance, we ll find a way to fund your claim and fight for you. This booklet explains how to make a claim related to exposure to asbestos. For more information, or to set up a free consultation, please contact us on Richard Scorer National Manager of Serious Injury 03
4 Injury & Negligence WHAT IS ASBESTOS? Asbestos is a substance which was commonly used to insulate pipes, boilers, tanks and was used in other building products such as tiles and cement. There are several types of Asbestos (white, blue and brown), all of which are extremely dangerous and therefore, have now been banned in the UK. There is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. TYPES OF ASBESTOS ILLNESSES There are several types of asbestos illness for which compensation is available: Mesothelioma Cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdomen Lung Cancer Cancer of the lung tissue itself Asbestosis Serious scarring of the lungs Diffuse Pleural Thickening Thickening of the lining of the lung If you have been diagnosed with Pleural Plaques, no compensation is awarded in the English Courts as it does not usually cause any respiratory disability. However, if your exposure occurred in Scotland or Northern Ireland, compensation may be available.
5 WHERE MIGHT I HAVE COME INTO CONTACT WITH ASBESTOS? At one time, asbestos was used everywhere, so you may have come into contact with it when at work, in the home or at school. Just some of the products which contained asbestos include: Sprayed asbestos coatings Lagging used to insulate pipes and boilers Millboard Asbestos paper Asbestos cement sheets Asbestos cement pipes Asbestos partitions/roofs Fire doors Artex wall coverings/textured paints Soffits, guttering and drainpipes Linoleum and floor tiles Ceiling tiles Brake/clutch linings Asbestos rope Asbestos bitumen products 05
6 Injury & Negligence MESOTHELIOMA WHAT IS MESOTHELIOMA? Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdomen caused when asbestos fibres are inhaled through the lungs and work their way into the pleura, which is a membrane that protects the lungs from damage. This is also known as the lining of the lung. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF MESOTHELIOMA? Inhaled asbestos fibres cause damage to the cells of the pleura, and it is thought that over time that damage results in changes which eventually turn them into cancer cells. Mesothelioma can be caused by very small exposures to asbestos dust, but the greater the dose of asbestos, the greater the risk of developing the disease. The average time for mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos dust is around 40 years, but it can develop or cause symptoms after exposure from about 10 years.
7 WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MESOTHELIOMA? Symptoms include Breathlessness Chest wall pain which feels heavy and dull or aching Weight loss Fever Sweating (especially at night) Hoarseness in the voice A cough that doesn t go away Abdominal pain and swelling Mesothelioma cases are complex cases which need careful investigation by lawyers with expertise in asbestos litigation. Their service was superb. I couldn t knock it. I felt valued as a client. They couldn t do enough for us. Quote about Pannone part of Slater & Gordon, from Mr Barber, Bury (front cover) 07
8 Injury & Negligence ASBESTOS RELATED LUNG CANCER WHAT IS ASBESTOS RELATED LUNG CANCER? Asbestos related lung cancer is a cancer of the lung tissue which is caused by breathing in asbestos dust. It is a different disease from mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. Lung cancer can also be caused by exposure to chemicals. (See our Work Related and Environmental Illnesses booklet for more information). WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ASBESTOS RELATED LUNG CANCER? It has been known for many years that a heavy exposure to asbestos dust can cause this disease. Lung cancer will only be caused by asbestos where the amount of exposure has been very heavy. The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking. There are no physical differences between lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure and lung cancer caused by smoking.
9 WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ASBESTOS RELATED LUNG CANCER? Those with asbestos related lung cancer can develop the following symptoms; Persistent chest infections Breathlessness Bloodstained phlegm Pain when coughing or taking a deep breath A change in a longstanding cough Weight loss Treatments for lung cancer may include radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. There is a risk of the cancer coming back, even after surgery, and a small risk of going on to develop mesothelioma. 09
10 Injury & Negligence ASBESTOSIS WHAT IS ASBESTOSIS? Asbestosis is a form of scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Scarring, also known as fibrosis, makes it difficult for the lungs to work efficiently and so causes breathlessness. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ASBESTOSIS? There are many types of fibrosis, with many different causes. When someone develops fibrosis as a result of heavy exposure to asbestos, this type of fibrosis is called Asbestosis. There is a relationship between the amount of exposure to asbestos dust and Asbestosis and therefore, if you were only exposed to a low level of asbestos dust, it may be that your fibrosis was caused by something other than your exposure to asbestos.
11 WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ASBESTOSIS? Symptoms of asbestosis usually do not develop until many years after exposure to asbestos dust has ceased; typically 10 to 20 years later. Asbestosis symptoms can become worse over time. Symptoms may include; Shortness of breath Tiredness Persistent cough (In some cases) finger clubbing Extreme cases asbestosis can result in respiratory failure A person with asbestosis also has a slightly increased risk of developing other serious asbestos related conditions such as asbestos related lung cancer or mesothelioma. 11
12 Injury & Negligence PLEURAL THICKENING WHAT IS PLEURAL THICKENING? Asbestos related pleural thickening is a scarring and hardening of the pleura, which is a protective membrane surrounding the lung. The pleura has two layers which slide over each other when you breathe. Scarring and hardening is caused when asbestos fibres are inhaled and become lodged in the pleura making it difficult for the lungs to expand, causing breathlessness. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PLEURAL THICKENING? Asbestos is not the only explanation for the development of pleural thickening. Changes in the lung can also be caused by infections and injury, certain medications, a blood clot in the artery in the lung, radiotherapy and the early development of certain types of tumour. To develop pleural thickening, you require a greater level of exposure to asbestos dust than you would for mesothelioma.
13 WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PLEURAL THICKENING? Pleural Thickening usually takes many years to develop, typically about 20 years from exposure to asbestos dust. Pleural thickening may not produce any significant physical symptoms. However, some people with pleural thickening notice the following symptoms which do not improve but can become worse over time; Progressive breathlessness Reduced chest wall movement Chest pain General disability from impaired lung function Persistent cough People who have pleural thickening are at an increased risk of going on to develop mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. 13
14 Injury & Negligence MAKING A CLAIM Pauline Chandler, Principal Lawyer from our Industrial Disease Team, talks through what is involved with making an asbestos related claim. Talk to us Call us for a free consultation with one of our team of specialist solicitors who will discuss your asbestos illness with you and let you know how we can help. Investigation Your solicitor will initially take details of your working history and your exposure to asbestos. If they think you have grounds to make a claim, they will then obtain medical evidence on your behalf to proceed with your claim.
15 ... supportive, professional and tenacious Quote from Chambers (Independent Legal Guide) Pauline Chandler, Principal Lawyer Interim payments Where the employer admits fault, it may be possible to get you an interim payment. Supporting your case We know from years of experience how developing an asbestos illness can change your life and affect your family. We are here to support you. It is important that you instruct a specialist solicitor who understands such claims and will be able to get you the best possible result. Our team of specialist solicitors are very experienced in dealing with these types of claims and have in fact been involved with some of the most important and groundbreaking Industrial Disease cases over the last 30 years. 15
16 Injury & Negligence THE COMPANY WHERE I WORKED HAS GONE OUT OF BUSINESS. WHAT DO I DO? Don t worry if the company has gone out of business. It is often still possible to trace their insurers. We have a team with unrivalled expertise in tracing insurers of companies which have been out of business for many years. We often take over cases and succeed in tracing the company s insurers, where other firms have failed. WHAT CAN I RECOVER IF MY CLAIM IS SUCCESSFUL? Compensation is awarded for pain and suffering to reflect the nature and severity of the condition. Other losses and expenses can be claimed such as: Loss of income caused by your illness Private treatment costs Loss of pension caused by your illness Cost of medication and/or aids and equipment incurred as a result of your illness Nursing care costs Travelling expenses incurred as a result of your illness
17 WHAT WILL IT COST? We understand that the cost of legal advice can be a worry, but if you do have a claim there are options available to fund your case including no win, no fee. You may have legal expense insurance under an existing insurance policy which will entitle you to free representation. We will check this for you. If you do not have legal expense insurance under an existing policy, we will represent you under a No Win, No Fee Agreement. This means if your case fails, you do not have to pay anything. For further information on funding, please refer to our funding booklet. Their knowledge and experience are remarkable; they have a vast understanding and their negotiating skills are excellent. Quote from Chambers (Independent Legal Guide) 17
18 Injury & Negligence TIME LIMITS Please note, you must make your claim within 3 years from the date you were diagnosed with an asbestos related illness. If you leave it longer than this, you may lose the right to make a claim. In the event that you are claiming on behalf of someone who has died, the claim must be brought within 3 years from the date of death. STATE BENEFITS As well as making a compensation claim you may be able to claim state benefits. We have a specialist Disability Rights advisor who can advise you on what you are entitled to. Don t worry that any compensation you receive will affect your means tested benefits. Our dedicated Trusts Department can provide you with specialist advice to ensure that any compensation you receive does not affect your benefits income. LUMP SUM PAYMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT If you are awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for your asbestos related disease, you may also be entitled to a one off lump sum payment from the Government.
19 CONTACT US Highest quality advice (ranked in top tier by leading independent legal guides Chambers and Legal 500) Free no obligation consultation Experienced specialist solicitors and principal lawyers who are Leaders in their field Range of funding options including no win, no fee National UK coverage and home visits Please contact us for an initial free, no obligation, Pannone part of Slater & Gordon have offices nationwide. To find your local office visit For further information, please go to 19
20 For more information, please contact Alicia Rendell on or Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
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