Your Guide to Asbestos Related Disease Claims

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1 Your Guide to Asbestos Related Disease Claims 100 Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester M16 0PG 1-3 Union Street, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 1RP Tameway Tower, Bridge Street, Walsall, WS1 1JZ

2 Introduction Probably the most well known cause of occupational diseases, asbestos is renowned for the damage it does to those who worked with it while not properly protected. Having been used for over 100 years in textiles, insulation and other products, asbestos provided fire proofing in buildings throughout Europe and America. The use of asbestos peaked around the late 60s-early 70s until its use and supply was banned by 1999, but by this time 1000s of buildings had been built or refurbished using asbestos material. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that provides both fireproofing and insulation in buildings. There are three main types of asbestos that were used commercially: blue (Crocidolite), brown (Amosite) and white (Chrysotile). All three types are inherently dangerous. Asbestos presents a risk because the fibres that make it up can be inhaled and lodge in the lungs. These then cause diseases including lung cancer, pleural plaques, Asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) and Mesothelioma (cancer of the lung and stomach lining). The greater the exposure to asbestos and asbestos products the more likely it is that you will suffer from asbestos related diseases. What are the dangers of asbestos exposure? The carcinogenic properties of asbestos have been a long-time proven and many sufferers have been able to claim the compensation they deserve. Asbestos related diseases are untreatable and the most serious ones lung cancer and Mesothelioma are fatal, so it is vital that anyone who thinks they may be suffering from asbestos related diseases get the help that they need.

3 Who is at risk? There can be years between the first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of a related illness. A 2003 Health and Safety Executive report found that deaths related to asbestos will reach their peak between 2011 and 2015, with those highest at risk being workers exposed to asbestos in the construction, ship building and refurbishment industries. As previously mentioned, the greater the exposure to asbestos the higher the chance of contracting an asbestos related disease. What are the options? If you believe that you have a disease directly relating to working with asbestos, the key thing, if you haven t already, is to visit your doctor. Time is of the essence and your health is the most important thing! If you are diagnosed with a disease caused by exposure to asbestos and you want pursue a claim the next step is to contact our specialist Industrial Disease Team who will able to give you clear and straight forward advice. Colemans-ctts Solicitors have a dedicated Industrial Disease Department who specialise in pursuing claims for persons who have been exposed to various substances during the course of their employment. We can assist you in the pursuit of a claim on a No Win, No Fee arrangement. Should you wish to discuss a potential claim then please contact us on and speak to one of our industrial disease specialists for advice or complete the online form and one of our team will contact you.

4 Industrial Disease FAQs The company I worked for no longer exists can I still claim? A large majority of people suffering from industrial diseases only become aware of symptoms in later life, often many years after their exposure at their places of work. This can often mean that the company they worked for when they were exposed no longer exists. This does not however prevent a person from claiming. It has long been a legal requirement for businesses to hold employer liability insurance policies to protect them in the event that a member of their workforce was injured whilst at work. It is from these insurance policies, which continue to be enforceable despite a company no longer existing, that the majority of claims are made, and our Industrial Disease team have the resources, including national databases, to help trace insurance policies for companies that no longer exist. How long can it take to get compensation? There is no set answer to this question. The life span of a claim is entirely dependant upon the facts of each case. Some Claims can settle within months of commencement whilst others, which proceed to court, can continue for 3 years or more. Will I have to go to court? Again this is entirely dependant on the facts of each case and there is a possibility that you may eventually be required to give evidence at court. It is worth noting however that a large number of cases settle outside of the court framework and it may not be necessary for you to ever step foot inside a court building. A family member has recently passed away from an Asbestos related disease. Can I claim on their behalf? The fact that a family member has passed away does not mean that the right to claim is lost. We are able to take instructions from the beneficiary of a deceased s estate and bring a claim on behalf of the estate. Our team receive many such instructions. I am contemplating claiming on behalf of a deceased relative and am awaiting an inquest into their death. Do I need to await the outcome of the inquest before contemplating making a claim?

5 The simple answer is no. It is best to contact our team at the earliest opportunity. We can often provide support and advice in respect of the inquest process and help with preparation. In some circumstances we can even attend the inquest with you. How much compensation am I likely to get? Again this is entirely dependant on the facts of each case and the medical evidence. In the early stages of a claim it is nearly always impossible to give even a rough estimate of the likely compensation award, because the valuation of such claims is based on the evidence of medical experts, whose evidence will be obtained during the case. How is the amount of Compensation I will receive calculated? The amount of compensation awarded is usually broken down as two distinct forms of compensation called General damages and Special Damages. General Damages This is the most commonly recognised type of compensation and is an award in respect of a person s pain and suffering. Whilst it is difficult to give estimates of the likely awards for general damages, the Judicial Studies Board have produced guidance on the amounts that can be generally expected to be obtained for different types of diseases and injuries. Whilst this is in no way a rigid formula for working out compensation, it is a tool used by Claimants, Defendants and the Courts alike in the valuation of a persons claim. Special Damages This is a further award of compensation which takes account of a persons financial losses directly resulting from their injury/disease. Included within a claim for special damages can be an amount in respect of the provision of care by family members and also an amount in respect of future care to be provided by professionals. This means that whilst a person maybe awarded a lump sum in respect of their pain and suffering they can also get financial support to deal with their illness, which can prove to be invaluable especially in the latter stages of a terminal illness where professional care becomes a necessity.

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