Frequently Asked Questions
Here at Asbestos Claims UK we pride ourselves on the quality and speed of the personal service that we offer to our clients.
If you have any queries about a potential claim for compensation do not hesitate to call us for a free, without obligation preliminary discussion.
Here are a number of the most frequently asked questions which clients raise when they first contact us.
Who Pays my Compensation?
Providing that you have an asbestos related illness which entitles you to compensation we can only proceed with a claim if we can identify the person, company or organisation responsible for exposing you to asbestos fibres.
In many cases, this will be an employer who may have ceased trading many years ago.
Here at Asbestos Claims UK we have a substantial database of companies that we have pursued on behalf of previous clients. It is still possible to proceed with your claim even if your employer has ceased trading providing we can identify the insurers (known as the Employer’s Liability Insurers) of the company. Again, our database contains details of the insurance arrangements of many hundreds of companies throughout England and Wales.
Even if the company has ceased trading you can still bring a claim once we have established the identity of the company’s insurers.
How Long do I have to make a Claim?
There are strict time limits for bringing claims for personal injury, which includes asbestos related illnesses.
The Limitation Act 1980 requires claims to be brought within three years of the date of knowledge of the presence of an asbestos related disease. Usually, this is three years from the date of diagnosis by a medical expert.
The Court do have the discretion to allow claims to proceed “out of time” but good reasons need to be given for the delay and the Court will consider carefully whether the delay has prejudiced your opponent in being able to investigate and respond to your claim.
It is very important therefore that you act promptly upon receiving information that you may be suffering from an asbestos related disease.
Here at Asbestos Claims UK we offer a free, no obligation preliminary assessment as to the merits of a claim. It is far better to make an enquiry as to whether you have a case, secure in the knowledge that it will cost you nothing to do so, than to delay and possibly lose the right to bring a perfectly valid claim because you no longer comply with legal time limits.
How Long will my Claim Take?
The length of your case will differ according to the type of asbestos disease that you have and your work history.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma there are fast track procedures in place to ensure that your claim is progressed as quickly as possible.
All of the major insurance companies have dedicated case handlers who are broadly sympathetic to such cases. The reality is that they have dealt with many such claims in the past on behalf of their policy holders.
If it is necessary to commence Court proceedings the Court process also allows for an accelerated procedure to ensure that claims are resolved as quickly as possible. Here at asbestosclaimsuk we have dealt with many claims for mesothelioma sufferers from start to finish within six months.
For cases of pleural thickening, asbestos related lung cancer and asbestosis the time periods differ enormously depending on an individual’s work history. The reason for this is because these conditions are dose related. This means that each and every employer who exposed you to asbestos has to be pursued as the employers are only liable to compensate you to the extent that they exposed you to asbestos and caused you harm.
Therefore, by way of example, if you had two employers over a 10 year period and you worked for each employer for 5 years then, assuming the severity of asbestos exposure was equal throughout, each employer would be liable to compensate you up to 50% of the value of the claim.
To ensure that your position is protected it will be necessary to sue both employers and maximise your entitlement to compensation.
The more employers you have had where exposure to asbestos occurred the longer it will take to progress your case to a conclusion.
How Much is my Claim Worth?
Claims for asbestos related disease can be valuable. You are entitled to an award to reflect what is known as pain, suffering and loss of amenity (commonly known as General Damages).
Guidance is regularly issued to the Courts to assist them in assessing how much compensation should be awarded for each type of asbestos disease. The latest guidance suggests awards from £53,200 up to £95,700 for mesothelioma and from £58,500 to £81,400 for asbestos related lung cancer. In cases of pleural thickening and asbestosis, awards range from £32,120 to £88,500 depending on the impact of your lung function. If you are diagnosed with pleural thickening or asbestosis, but the impact on your lung fuction is modest (1% to 10%) then awards will be in the region of £12,600 to £32,120.
In certain cases, other claims may be brought. For example, if the condition affects your ability to work then you may be entitled to pursue a claim for loss of earnings. These are known as special damages.
Claims typically involve not only loss of earnings but also lost income of any type (such as pensions and benefits) as well as the costs of care and assistance given the debilitating nature of the illness.
Our experienced team of solicitors will assess the personal circumstances of your case carefully and give you full advice as to what entitlement to compensation you may have.
Do I get a Lump Sum or do I get a Pension?
In a civil claim for compensation you have two choices as to how to settle your case once the claim has been accepted by your opponent.
You may settle your claim on a full and final basis. This entitles you to a lump sum payment. The lump sum payment reflects present disability arising from the asbestos disease and takes into account the percentage risks associated with future deterioration or development of other more serious asbestos related conditions.
It is very important to remember that full and final settlement means just that. If you take a full and final settlement but later develop a more serious asbestos related disease or your condition deteriorates it will not be possible to return to Court and secure a further award of compensation.
The alternative is to settle your claim on a provisional damages basis. You will receive a lower sum in doing so (perhaps around 50% of the value of your claim on a full and final basis) but you will be entitled to a Court Order which allows you to return for further compensation if you have the misfortune to develop a more serious condition in the future or your condition deteriorates.
You are not entitled to a pension in a civil claim for compensation. Pensions are awarded by the state in relation to benefits applications.
What State Benefits may I be Entitled To?
You may be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This is a regular payment payable by the Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) if you meet their criteria. It is available for what is known as a prescribed disease such as diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Here is the link to the DWP website which contains more information:
There are two separate schemes for suffers of mesothelioma in cases where it is not possible to pursue a claim against a third party. These include payments under a 1979 Act of Parliament for former employees and, more recently, a scheme for non employees who develop the condition, for example those who contract the disease due to environmental exposure to asbestos fibres. This link to the DWP website will provide you with further details:
As part of our service to clients we will ensure that you are properly advised about your entitlement to state benefits and we will assist you in making your application.