1 John Pickering and Partners LLP Mesothelioma A guide to compensation Freephone
2 What the Leading Legal Directories say about John Pickering and Partners LLP John Pickering has developed an unbeatable reputation in industrial disease cases. Sources say: If I had an asbestos case I would go to John Pickering, I can t think of another firm in the country that comes close. Chambers and Partners John Pickering and Partners LLP is pre-eminent in asbestos cases; the partners know asbestos disease claims inside out Legal
3 John Pickering and Partners LLP Introduction. This guide is written for you if you are suffering from mesothelioma or have a family member or friend who is suffering from mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by breathing in asbestos dust normally in the workplace. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma it is very likely that you and/or your family will be able to make a claim for compensation. Deciding to pursue a compensation claim is a very important decision. You will need expert legal advice from a specialist firm of solicitors. Freephone
4 Why Choose John Pickering and Partners LLP? Your choice of solicitor is a very important decision. If you choose our firm we guarantee: 1. Your case will be dealt with by a qualified solicitor who is a specialist in mesothelioma cases. 2. We will make sure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to as speedily as possible. 3. We will not ask you to pay anything for the work we carry out on your case in the UK. 4. You will receive 100% of the compensation we recover for you in the UK. 5. If you live in the UK we will visit you at home or in hospital if that is convenient for you. 6. We will write and speak to you in plain English avoiding legal jargon. 7. We will not act for defendants. 03
5 What is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that can occur in the lining of the lungs and the linings of certain other organs. In the UK approximately 2000 people each year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Extensive right mesothelioma on a chest X-ray from asbestos exposure What causes Mesothelioma? The vast majority of mesotheliomas are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Mesothelioma is not caused by smoking. Mesothelioma may be caused by exposure to very small amounts of asbestos dust. The greater the exposure to asbestos dust the greater the risk of developing mesothelioma. What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma? The most common early symptoms are breathlessness, chest pain, tiredness and weight loss. How is Mesothelioma diagnosed? Your Doctor will normally send you for a chest X-ray first. If the chest X-ray shows some shadowing you will normally be sent for a CT scan. A CT scan is an X-ray that gives much more information than a normal X-ray. It produces a number of detailed pictures of a cross section of the inside of your body. The scan can take up to about 30 minutes. A CT scan can provide strong evidence to support a diagnosis of mesothelioma but a definite diagnosis can only be made by looking at the cells and tissue. Sometimes this can be done by draining fluid from the lung. It is more usual for a sample of tissue to be taken. This is called a biopsy. This is either done under local or general anaesthetic. It will take several days for the results to come back. What treatment is there? The treatment offered will depend on how advanced the mesothelioma is, the general health and fitness of the patient and their personal preferences. Radiotherapy is a high dose of radiation used to kill some of the cancer cells. It is sometimes used to reduce the size of the tumour which in some cases can reduce pain and discomfort. It is also sometimes used at the site of the biopsy scar to prevent the tumour from spreading. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can shrink the tumour and relieve some of the symptoms. Some Doctors think it can help people to live longer but this is not certain. There are a number of different drugs used for mesothelioma including Alimta. Surgery is frequently used to assist with diagnosis and also to try and stop the build-up of fluid. More radical surgery is performed at a few hospitals in the UK and you may wish to discuss this with your Doctor. 04
6 Blue asbestos (crocidolite) found between Prieska & Koegas, South Africa What is Asbestos? 05 Asbestos is a mineral that has been mined for hundreds of years. It is the Greek word for inextinguishable or unquenchable. This is because it is fireproof. The three common types of asbestos are Chrysotile (White), Amosite (brown) and Crocidolite (blue). How was I exposed to asbestos? It is often very difficult to identify where you were exposed to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos dust happens when a product containing asbestos is disturbed and asbestos fibres are released into the air. You may not have disturbed an asbestos product but you may have been close by when someone else did. Asbestos was used widely in the UK particularly from the 1930 s through to the 1970 s. These are some of the products which contained asbestos: Corrugated roofing sheets (often called Big Six) Soffits Insulation around pipework (sections and cement) Insulation around boilers Insulation board used for fireproofing often in the structure of buildings/doors Sprayed asbestos coatings Ceiling tiles Vinyl floor tiles Asbestos rope Asbestos partitions Artex wall coverings Asbestos insulation quilts Asbestos gloves and overalls When you first contact us we will arrange to come and see you and go through your employment history with you and work out where you have been exposed to asbestos dust.
7 Asbestos in the home A. Outside the Building 1. Pipework and Soffits 2. Panels and boards 3. Roofing B. Boards and Partitions inside Buildings A - 1 A - 2 B A - 3 C - 1 C - 2 D C. Ceilings 1. Tiles 2. Textured coatings ( Artex) D. Floor Tiles 06
8 Asbestos roof Asbestos in the workplace Asbestos ceiling tiles Asbestos floor tiles Asbestos textured paints and plasters Asbestos partitions 07
9 Fire doors insulated with asbestos boards Asbestos removal Philippe Gontier/Eurelios/Science Photo Library Sprayed-asbestos fire-proofing insulation Lagged pipework containing asbestos Lagging on boilers containing asbestos 08
10 Can I obtain compensation through the courts? Meeting of former asbestos workers Groothoek, South Africa What do we need to prove? We must prove that your employer or sometimes another person or organisation caused you to be exposed to asbestos dust in breach of their legal duties to you and that this caused your mesothelioma. If we can prove this we should be able to obtain compensation for you. How long will my case take? We are committed to finishing mesothelioma cases very quickly. We aim to finish cases within 3 to 6 months of first seeing you. There are specialist fast track procedures that allow us to do this both using the Royal Court of Justice in London and local courts. We always aim to finish your case as quickly as we can. However, sometimes cases can take longer when there are complex or unusual issues. How much compensation am I likely to receive? All cases are different and we will advise you individually of the likely value of your case. The aim of compensation is to put you in the same financial position as if you had not developed the mesothelioma. There are some quite complicated court rules that are applied to assess the correct amount of compensation. Compensation awards will be different depending on the circumstances of the sufferer. For example a 40 year old in full time employment with a young family will receive a higher award than a 70 year old with no dependents who is receiving a state pension. 09 Most mesothelioma sufferers will receive compensation somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 although in some cases awards can be a lot higher.
11 Can I obtain any payments from the UK Government? The following are regular weekly or monthly payments. 1. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This is a weekly benefit that is paid for certain industrial diseases including mesothelioma. If your job involved you working with asbestos after the 4th July 1948 and you develop mesothelioma you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.To claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit it is necessary to complete form BI 100 PD. We can send you this form and help you to complete it. This benefit is not means tested and therefore it does not matter what savings, capital, earnings or other benefits you have. 2. Disability Living Allowance. This benefit is paid to people who have a disability and need help with personal care and mobility. It is paid to people who are under 65. It is not a means tested benefit. 3. Attendance Allowance. This benefit is paid to people who are aged over 65 and is paid instead of Disability Living Allowance. It is paid to people who have a disability and need help with personal care. It is not means tested. 4. Constant Attendance Allowance. This is payable if you need daily care. It is not means tested. The following are one off lump sum payments. 1. The Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers Compensation) Act This provides for a lump sum payment to mesothelioma sufferers/or their dependents where mesothelioma has been caused by employment. To be eligible you must have been awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. To receive a payment you cannot have started or brought a court action or received compensation from your employer. Your employer must have stopped trading or the employment must have been more than 20 years ago. You should apply for this payment as soon as possible. The application should be made on Form PWC1. We can let you have this form and help you complete this. If you go on and bring a successful court claim for compensation then the lump sum payment will be deducted from your court compensation. 2. The Diffuse Mesothelioma 2008 Scheme. This scheme pays a lump sum of compensation to mesothelioma sufferers who are not eligible to receive a payment under the 1979 Act scheme. To receive a payment you need to have been exposed to asbestos dust in the UK and not have received compensation from elsewhere. The scheme is very similar to the 1979 Act Scheme. To apply you should complete Form PWC1. We can let you have this form and can assist you in completing this. 10
12 Some common questions What if I live outside the UK? If you live outside of the UK but were exposed to asbestos dust in the UK we can bring a court action in the UK. You may also be entitled to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, a payment under the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 and/or payment under the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme. We can send you an application form for the various benefits and help you to complete these. Can I obtain compensation if my employer has gone out of business? Even if your employer has gone out of business a claim can be pursued against them if we are able to find their insurance company. Insurance for employers has been compulsory since 1972 and many employers had insurance before this date. We have unrivalled experience in tracing insurers and have an extensive database of insurance information. Alternatively it may be possible to bring an action against someone other than your employer. It is therefore important to see a solicitor even if your employer has gone out of business as it is often possible to obtain compensation. My husband died from Mesothelioma can I obtain compensation? Yes. You will be able to bring a similar compensation claim in the courts. In addition there may be state benefits that you can claim. There are strict time limits and it is important that you consult a solicitor without delay. 11
13 Will I have to go to court if I make a Mesothelioma claim? Most cases do not normally proceed to a full trial. However, we find that we must start a court case to try to make sure that the defendant deals with the case properly and speedily. Starting a court case means that we send formal documents to the court which set out your claim. There are special court rules and procedures to make sure that mesothelioma cases are dealt with urgently. When a court case is started your case will normally be referred to a judge who specialises in mesothelioma claims to arrange a meeting with both sides and fix an urgent timetable. Only a small proportion of cases actually go to trial so it is unlikely that you would have to give evidence at court. If you are not well enough to attend any court hearing then other arrangements can be made for your evidence to be given. What are the time limits for making a Mesothelioma compensation claim? There is a legal rule called limitation which lays down rules about when claims should be made, so it is important to urgently seek advice if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos related condition or if you believe you may have developed such a condition. The general rule is that you should start court proceedings within 3 years of when you first know or ought to have known about your condition caused by asbestos exposure in your former workplace. If somebody has died within 3 years of this date then time may run from the date of death for the benefit of those entitled to continue with any claim. If 3 years have already expired then it may not be too late to claim. A judge can allow a claim that was started outside of this 3 year period if there are good reasons for the delay. Asbestos worker You should seek legal advice as soon as you can for further guidance about whether you may be able to bring a claim. How will my Mesothelioma case be paid for? If your case is successful we will get paid by the defendants. We will not ask you to pay any legal costs and will not make any deductions from your compensation. If your case is unsuccessful we will make sure that you don t have a legal bill to pay. 12
14 Common questions continued How do I know if a solicitor is any good? There are certain questions that you may want to ask before you instruct a solicitor to deal with your mesothelioma claim or that you may want to put to your existing solicitor. Questions that you might want to ask a solicitor for the first time about a mesothelioma claim might include- Does the solicitor or his/her firm also act for insurance companies defending compensation claims brought by asbestos sufferers? If so, how do they prevent there being a conflict of interest? Is the person who will be handling your case a qualified solicitor? Will he/she be handling your case personally? Does the solicitor specialise in handling asbestos claims? Has the solicitor taken such claims to court? If so, how many? Does the solicitor specialise in handling other types of work? If so, what proportion of their work relates to asbestos claims? Does the solicitor try to start court proceedings in the claim quickly or negotiate with insurance companies? How long does it usually take the solicitor to get asbestos claims to trial? Do they use fast track court procedures to deal with mesothelioma claims urgently? Is the solicitor a member of APIL and/or the Law Society Personal Injury Panel? If not, are any of his/her colleagues? Can the case be handled on a no win/no fee (conditional fee agreement) basis? If so, will the solicitor deduct any money from your compensation? Claims for asbestos related disease can give rise to very complex medical and legal issues. If you had a complex and serious medical problem you would expect your GP to refer you to a specialist doctor. We think it is important that asbestos disease victims get specialist legal advice. We are also happy to consider accepting referrals from other solicitors. If you already have a solicitor acting for you in a mesothelioma claim there are some questions that you might want to consider asking- Have court proceedings been started? If not, when will court action begin? Has the solicitor obtained a medical report and other evidence such as witness statements yet? Will the claim be issued in a court that specialises in dealing with mesothelioma cases? If court proceedings have been started, has the claim been listed for trial? If not when will the case be listed for trial? Has the defendant(s) admitted liability? If not, will the solicitor be asking the court to use the show cause procedure and make an award of interim damages? How much does the solicitor think that your claim is worth? If the solicitor cannot say at the moment, when will they be able to advise you?
15 Our commitment We have always tried to act in a socially responsible way. Even before the phrase was first coined and large corporations wheeled out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes we tried to act in an ethical way in how we treat our workforce, our clients and the wider community. The firm was built on this ethos and our commitment to behave in an ethical way continues. Our commitment to act in an ethical and socially responsible way can be seen by the following:- Taking on difficult and challenging test cases that push the boundaries of the law, particularly cases that may preserve or promote the rights of asbestos diseases sufferers. These cases have often been carried out at financial risk to the firm as legal aid was not available. Promoting the broader rights and interests of clients beyond simply recovering compensation. We have been involved in various campaigns, consultations, etc about trying to improve the quality of life for asbestos sufferers. Apart from legal issues this may include things like campaigning for the better provision of medical services for mesothelioma sufferers, for better state benefits for sufferers, etc. Not acting in any way that could potentially undermine the rights of our clients. For example, we believe it would be unethical as a firm that is committed to helping asbestos sufferers to also act for organisations responsible for causing asbestos exposure or those who insured them. Not all law firms have this policy. Our support of charities that help asbestos sufferers. Our support for charitable projects. Since 2008, we have been committed to donating 10% of our net annual profits to charities and good causes who help asbestos sufferers. In 2009 we set up the John Pickering and Partners Charitable Trust to cement our commitment to helping organisations that help asbestos victims. We have already given several thousand pounds to these good causes. 14
16 Our background. We specialise in obtaining compensation for victims of industrial disease and clinical negligence. Most of our work involves handling claims on behalf of asbestos disease sufferers who have developed mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis or asbestos related pleural thickening. We also deal with many other industrial disease claims such as occupational asthma, silicosis, bladder cancer, dermatitis, vibration white fingers (HAVS) and deafness (NIHL). We only act for the injured victims. We don't act for defendants. We have one of the largest asbestos disease practices in the country, and have recovered millions of pounds in compensation for asbestos disease victims and their families. We have been involved in most of the important test cases relating to asbestos disease claims and have constantly fought to preserve and extend the rights of asbestos disease sufferers to compensation. The firm was started in 1979 by John Pickering. The firm has now grown to 6 partners and 30 staff with offices in Manchester, Liverpool and Halifax. We are an award winning practice and received the accolade from Liverpool Law Society of Specialist Law Firm of the Year. We are consistently highly ranked by legal guides. The Chambers legal directory ranked us in the category, "One of the Best in the UK" for industrial disease claims. 15 Kevin Johnson Kevin qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and immediately specialised in employer liability, accident and disease claims and particularly asbestos disease claims on behalf of claimants. Kevin has acted for asbestos sufferers with a variety of asbestos conditions. Kevin s clients reflect Liverpool s maritime industry and Kevin acts for large numbers of dock workers, shipyard workers and Merchant Navy seamen. He is a member of the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group and was a guest speaker at one their asbestos conferences. Kevin contributed to a chapter on asbestos disease claims in a legal textbook, Occupational Illness Litigation. Kevin is also a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). Kevin is based at the Liverpool office which is accredited by APIL. Ruth Davies Ruth is a partner at the Halifax office and specialises in asbestos disease claims but also deals with claims for industrial diseases such as dermatitis, noise induced hearing loss and vibration white finger. Having had a background in Trade Union accidents at work, she has a number of accident cases which she manages. She is particularly interested in asbestos cases where the time to claim has overun and has had a number of successes in this area. Also she has a particular interest in lung cancer cases and has had a number of successful cases. She is a Fellow of APIL and the Halifax office is APIL accredited. She is also a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel. Ruth is married to Jode with one daughter Lara.
17 Carolann Hepworth Carolann has been a partner with John Pickering and Partners since May She specialises in Industrial Disease and Personal Injury claims. She contributes to a legal textbook on Occupational Illness Litigation and has lectured on asbestos related illness. When a big insurer went bust a few years ago and the Board set up by the government to protect people when this happens refused to pay up she took them to court straightaway to make sure her client got his money. This was the first case of its kind. Carolann is based at the Manchester office which is also APIL accredited. Paul Glanville Paul qualified as a Solicitor in 1992 and specialises in asbestos related industrial disease cases for claimants in the UK and abroad. He joined John Pickering and Partners in 1994, becoming a partner and setting up the firm s Halifax office in He has dealt with a number of leading cases including Quinn v MOD and Maguire v Harland & Woolf. He is a member of the Law Society s Personal Injury Panel and a Fellow of APIL. He lives in Hebden Bridge with his partner and 3 children. Fozia Hussain Fozia is a partner based in the Halifax office. Fozia joined the firm in September 2002 after reading Law at The University of Leeds and completing her Legal Practice Course at Huddersfield. She trained with the firm, qualified as a Solicitor in November 2004 and became a partner in May Fozia specialises in bringing claims for compensation for victims of industrial diseases such as asbestos related illnesses, asthma and vibration white finger as well as victims of accidents. Fozia has wide experience of asbestos related claims, especially mesothelioma and lung cancer claims. She has pursued litigation against employers and occupiers for asbestos victims. Fozia also specialises in pursuing claims for those injured in accidents at work, in road traffic accidents and in any other setting. She has acted in many difficult and high value accident cases where the accident victims have been left severely injured and disabled. Neil Fisher Neil qualified in 1980 and spent many years dealing with claims on behalf of trade union members. Neil joined John Pickering and Partners LLP in 2003 and became a partner in He is based at our Manchester office. Neil is an asbestos litigation specialist and represented our clients, Mrs Rice and Mr Thompson in the important test case victory in He is a member of the Law Society s Personal Injury Panel and a Fellow of APIL. 16
18 1. Asbestos Victim Advice and Support Groups. These are groups whose primary activity is to make home visits to asbestos victims, provide a comprehensive advice service, provide ongoing support and campaign on behalf of victims Asbestos Action Tayside (covering East of Scotland) Ground Floor Royal Exchange Building Panmure Street Dundee DD1 1DU Asbestos Support West Midlands 138 Digbeth Birmingham B5 6DR Barrow Asbestos-Related Disease Support Heber House Leck Carnforth Lancashire LA6 2JG Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group 3 Fryer Street Runcorn Cheshire WA7 1ND Clydebank Asbestos Group 8 Crown Avenue Radnor Park Clydebank G8 3BW Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team 34 Glumangate Chesterfield S40 1TX Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group Windrush Millennium Centre, Unit Alexandra Road Moss Side Manchester M16 7WD Hampshire Asbestos Support & Awareness Group 79 Radstock Road Southampton Hampshire SO19 2HT and Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group Suite 32 Second Floor Oriel Chambers 14 Water Street Liverpool L2 8TD
19 Northeast Asbestos Support & Awareness Group 119/121 Marton Road Middlesborough Cleveland TS1 2DU Northern Region Asbestos Support & Campaign Group Wallsend People's Centre 10 Frank Street Wallsend NE28 6RN Sheffield & Rotherham Asbestos Group The RAIN Building Eastwood Lane Rotherham S65 1EQ Other Contacts. London Hazards Centre Hampstead Town Hall Centre 213 Haverstock Hill London NW3 4QP International Ban Asbestos Secretariat Save Spodden Valley Mesothelioma UK National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre Hospital Management Offices Glenfield Hospital Groby Road Leicester LE3 9QP Helpline: Fax: E Mail: Web: June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund C/o Riverside East 2 Millsands Sheffield S3 8DT Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund C/o British Lung Foundation Sir G B Hunter Memorial Hospital The Green Wallsend NE28 7PB John Pickering and Partners LLP Freephone
20 What our clients say about us Thank you so much from me, my mother and my family. You have done a great job and I cannot think of enough words or the right words to tell you how much we appreciate what you have done for us. It won t bring my father back but I am sure he is looking down at us and you with a smile. (Mr T) Once again please accept my grateful thanks for the efforts that you have made on my behalf and for this very stressful conclusion. I am happy for you to add this case to your long list of successful endeavours. In fact, I have already referred an acquaintance to John Pickering and Partners to pursue a similar case of their own. (Mrs M) I would just like to say a big thank you to all who were involved in the case and worked so hard on my behalf. I am very pleased it s all over now, and I feel I can put my husband to rest, and hopefully start to get on with my life. Thank you so very much. (Mrs T and Family) There are so few words to express my sincere thanks to you in particular, but also your staff, for your patience, kindness and ultimate success during what has been a difficult time for my family and myself. (Mrs S) John Pickering and Partners LLP Freephone e mail: Old Exchange Buildings St. Ann s Passage 29/31King Street Manchester M2 6BE T: F: Castle Street Liverpool L2 4SX T: F: Crossley Mill 1st Floor Dean Clough Halifax HX3 5AX T: F: /11/11
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