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Asbestos Claims

Exposure to asbestos can lead to a variety of adverse health conditions including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. These illnesses can often arise many years after contact with asbestos.

The people most at risk are those that have handled asbestos in their jobs but there have also been cases where an asbestos-related illness occurs in a family member of the person who worked with or came into contact with asbestos. In these cases, asbestos fibres were inhaled from contaminated clothing.

If you were exposed to asbestos dust and later develop an illness caused by exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to make an asbestos compensation claim. This is something our specialist asbestos solicitors at Wolferstans can help you with.

Book a free consultation with our asbestos solicitors in Plymouth

If asbestos exposure has affected your health, we are happy to hold a free initial conversation about how we can help. Please get in touch by calling us on 01752663295 or use our contact form.

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How our asbestos solicitors can help

Our asbestos claims solicitors can advise you on your right to make a claim and the process for doing so. All claims are handled personally by our specialist asbestos lawyers working within our dedicated Asbestos Unit. You can expect a first-class service delivered by sympathetic, experienced advisors. Our dedicated legal support team and leading industrial disease lawyers are the best in their field and will deal with your case with sensitivity and compassion.

We offer our clients a “No Win, No Fee” agreement which means that if the case is lost, we will not charge you. If successful, you or your family will be entitled to damages and we recover legal costs from your opponent.

Our asbestos solicitors work with specialist medical and nursing experts to bring our clients the best possible service. We will seek early payments to fund any care, equipment or home adaptations you may require, as well as connecting you and your family with any relevant charities and organisations.

We are well known for our success in actions against a wide range of employers, including the Ministry of Defence, British Rail, Devonport Dockyard, power stations, ship repair yards, as well acting for those employed as plumbers, carpenters, electricians and in the construction industry.  We have also succeeded in claims for “white collar” workers such as teachers, managers and civil servants.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and answer your questions, including whether you are entitled to compensation and how the claims process works.

Our asbestos claims solicitors can visit our clients and their families in the hospital or their home at a time suitable for them. We can also advise you over the phone, via email or using videoconferencing (Zoom, Microsoft teams etc.) where appropriate.

Our expertise with asbestos compensation claims

Our specialist asbestos team can help with all types of asbestos compensation claims and related matters, including:

  • Mesothelioma claims
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer claims
  • Asbestosis or fibrosis claims
  • Diffuse pleural thickening
  • Inquest representation for families of people who have died following asbestos exposure
  • Claiming compensation for fatal asbestos exposure (bringing claims for the families after death)

Wolferstans have access to a wide range of medical and other experts, in addition to barristers, which means we are in the best possible position to recover compensation for the injuries that you have suffered.

Our strong expertise in negotiating out-of-court settlements for asbestos exposure means that it is rare that you will need to attend a court hearing to secure the desired outcome. Most claims can be settled voluntarily.

Types of asbestos claims we can assist with

Mesothelioma claims

Mesothelioma normally affects the outer lining of the lung. Symptoms usually start with breathlessness. This can often be caused due to the build-up of fluid between the lung and the ribs. The condition is progressive, resulting in pain, fatigue and weight loss.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can alleviate symptoms.

Mesothelioma is difficult to treat, but research continues into surgical techniques and drug therapy.

Read more on mesothelioma and claiming compensation on our FAQs page.

Asbestos-related lung cancer claims

Many cases of lung cancer are due to smoking, but asbestos exposure substantially increases the risk of developing lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers. So, there’s a good chance we can still prove the asbestos caused the cancer, even for a heavy smoker. Lung cancer may be amenable to surgical treatment.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often used to treat sufferers.

Asbestosis or fibrosis claims

Asbestosis is relatively rare. In general, it affects workers who have been substantially exposed to asbestos over a period of time. The capacity of the lungs is reduced which leads to breathlessness and coughing. The condition is progressive and the symptoms can worsen over time.

Diffuse pleural thickening

Diffuse pleural thickening or fibrosis is caused by the build-up of scar tissue leading to the thickening of the outer lining of the lungs. This means the lungs are restricted when breathing in. Any physical exertion will become increasingly difficult. Fortunately, the condition is relatively rare.

Pleural plaque claims

Pleural plaques are an indicator of previous exposure to asbestos. They confirm previous asbestos exposure which could lead to the patient developing one of the asbestos illnesses detailed above. Very often pleural plaques are discovered by x-rays or scans showing small scars on the outer lining of the lung. Pleural plaques do not require any treatment as they do not usually cause any symptoms.

Unfortunately, under current rules, it is not possible to claim compensation for pleural plaques in England or Wales. However, they are an indicator that another asbestos-related condition could potentially develop in the future, so should be closely monitored.

How to claim for asbestos exposure

Establishing whether you are eligible for compensation for an asbestos-related disease

Before you can think about pursuing a claim for a disease caused by exposure to asbestos you must be able to prove that you are owed compensation. Our asbestos lawyers can help you with this.

Drawing on our years of experience, we know exactly what is needed to make a strong claim for asbestos exposure compensation. We can make sure all the necessary evidence is collected to support your claim and that no detail is overlooked.

Making sure you get the maximum compensation available

When dealing with the impact of an asbestos-related illness, it is important to get the maximum possible financial assistance to help both you and your family.

Our team will ensure all of your needs are fully considered and the ways your disease has affected your life and the lives of your family are taken into account.

We can assist with claiming compensation for matters including:

  • The financial impact of an asbestos-related disease – e.g. lost income, paying for medical fees, nursing fees, etc.
  • The personal impact – e.g. pain and suffering, no longer being able to carry out activities you were previously able to (known as ‘loss of amenity’) and the time it takes the family to care for you.

The compensation available can cover both the impact to date and the expected future impact of an asbestos-related disease.

Claiming asbestos compensation where an employer has ceased trading

Don’t be put off from claiming for your injuries if your employer has since ceased trading. Wolferstans’ asbestos solicitors can trace the relevant insurer for the time of the exposure. This remains a complicated area of law and it is important that a suitable legal specialist is appointed to help guide you through what can be a complex process.

Securing early payments to cover medical costs, hospice fees and more

At Wolferstans, we work with specialist medical and nursing experts together with hospices to provide our clients with the best possible service. We will seek early payments in order to fund any care, equipment or home adaptations that may be required. We can also advise and assist you in making an application for benefits which are available from the government for asbestos related conditions.

Claiming compensation where exposure to asbestos has caused the death of a loved one

The specialist asbestos team at Wolferstans has years of experience assisting asbestos sufferers and helping their families when the disease has sadly been fatal.

If you have lost a close relative due to an asbestos illness, you may be feeling confused about what your options are. We understand this is a very emotional time. We hope this guide can assist you and, if you require any further advice about making asbestos claims after death, please feel free to contact us.

The Funeral

You may have already begun to make arrangements for the funeral to take place after the body is released by the coroner. The funeral expenses may form part of the compensation claim.

Coroner’s Inquest

The inquest is a procedure in which the cause of the death is considered. If someone has died of an illness that might be related to asbestos, this could be an ‘unnatural death’ so an investigation or ‘inquest’ will be needed.

The death is usually reported to the coroner by the medical staff who were treating the person who has died, although any other person can report the death if they are concerned.

All “unnatural” deaths should be reported to the coroner, and we advise family members to discuss this with the doctors treating their loved one.

Part of the inquest procedure may be to examine the body. This must take place before the funeral can go ahead. This is called a post-mortem examination, and it is performed by a pathologist. Often small samples from the lungs are taken so that asbestos fibres may be examined.

The coroner may ask you what you would like to happen to the tissue samples. It is vitally important that the samples are not destroyed so the samples should be retained as they may be needed for further analysis.

Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

The Executor or Administrator of the Estate is responsible for making the asbestos claim and the compensation awarded should be distributed according to the Will.

You should already have been given an Interim Death Certificate. This will allow you to begin to administer the estate. If a Will was made the person(s) named as Executor(s) can apply for Probate. If no Will was made the next of kin can apply for Letters of Administration.

We can help you with this process and normally recover the cost within the claim.

Claiming state benefits for an asbestos-related disease

In addition to compensation there are numerous state benefits available to you if you suffer an asbestos related illness. As part of our service to asbestos disease sufferers, we can provide free direct advice and assistance with some benefit applications. Decisions on benefit entitlement are then made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Benefits which you may be entitled to include:

  • Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (Government lump sum)
  • 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme (Government lump sum)
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (weekly allowance)
  • Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance (care and mobility)

In some instances, claims for state benefits can be made after someone has died.

For more information, please visit the Department for Work and Pensions website

Taking over an asbestos claim from another firm where you are unhappy with the outcome

Unfortunately, not all asbestos claims are dealt by solicitors who are experienced and specialised in this area of law. Our team has decades of experience dealing with asbestos cases and ensuring our clients recover the correct level of compensation.

Sometimes things do go wrong, and claims are under settled. You may have settled a pleural plaque, asbestosis or pleural thickening claim on a full and final basis, but not been advised as to the suitability of a provisional damages settlement which would allow you to return for further compensation if your disease deteriorated.

Where compensation has been received and subsequently the person’s condition has deteriorated, we can re-open the case and seek further compensation, particularly if damages were previously settled on a provisional basis. This would not involve a claim against your former solicitors, just a re-opening of the claim against those who exposed you to asbestos, or their insurers.

If you are unsure as to whether you may have a claim against your previous solicitors for their handling of your asbestos claim, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you. 

Common questions about asbestos compensation claims

Whether or not you will be entitled to make an asbestos claim will depend on a number of factors. Before our team are able to support you with the process of making an asbestos claim, it will be important for us to establish your circumstances, how your asbestos exposure occurred and whether you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.

Our years of collective experience in handling asbestos compensation claims ensures that we know exactly what is needed to build a strong case.

Typically, to make a successful compensation claim, it will need to be demonstrated that:

  • You have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness
  • Your exposure to asbestos occurred while working for an employer
  • Your employer owed you a duty of care
  • This employer breached their duty of care towards you

The exact process of applying for asbestos compensation will vary from case to case.

However, generally the process will involve the following steps:

  • Our asbestos solicitors review the initial details about your case to advise on taking a case forward.
  • We will collate all of the evidence required to support your case, including medical records and witness reports.
  • Submit Letter of Claim to the defendant’s insurers and negotiate a settlement.
  • Attend court hearings to secure a settlement if negotiation is not possible.

Yes, it is possible to make an asbestos claim on behalf of someone who has passed away. You should be aware that there are strict time limits in place for making a fatal asbestos exposure claim, so it is important to speak to our experienced solicitors without delay.

When you first contact our asbestos solicitors, we will take a few initial details such as:

  • Employment history
  • Examples of exposure to asbestos
  • Medical history and diagnosis
  • Symptoms and treatment

When we have this information, we will be able to consider whether we believe you have reasonable prospects of winning your case. This advice will be part of your free initial consultation.

There are many types of asbestos and you can potentially claim compensation for exposure to any of them, if this has resulted in harm to your health.

The types of asbestos are:

  • Crocidolite (more commonly known as Blue Asbestos) – this was used mainly in the textile industry and was banned from use in the UK in 1985.
  • Amosite (more commonly known as Brown Asbestos) – this was mainly used for insulation and was also banned from being used in the UK in 1985.
  • Chrysotile (more commonly known as White Asbestos) – this was used in both the textile and building industries and was banned from being used in the UK in 1999.

Although these asbestos substances were not banned until much later, employers knew or should have known of their danger and protected workers much earlier and we have succeeded in claims for people who were exposed as early as the 1940s.

We bring claims where there has been exposure to any of the different types of asbestos. Do not worry if you do not know what type of asbestos you came into contact with as, if necessary, we work with specialised engineer experts who can assist.

There are numerous industries and trades where people are likely to have worked with or come into contact with asbestos, these include:

  • Carpenters and Joiners
  • Plumbers: Heating & Ventilation Engineers
  • Electricians: Electrical Fitters
  • Labourers in other Construction Trades
  • Metal Plate Workers: Shipwrights, Riveters
  • Pipe Fitters
  • Gas Fitters
  • Construction Operatives
  • Managers in Construction
  • Construction Trades
  • Builders
  • Energy Plant Operatives
  • Fire Service Officers
  • Painters and Decorators
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Metal Working Production & Maintenance Fitters
  • Managers & Proprietors in other Services
  • Metal Working Machine Operatives
  • Fabricators
  • Stevedores: Dockers & Slingers
  • Draughtpersons
  • Electrical / Electronic Engineers
  • Welding Trades
  • Laggers
  • Thermal Insulation Engineers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Dockyard workers
  • Ministry of Defence workers
  • Asbestos manufacturing workers
  • Power station workers
  • Boilermakers
  • Brake fitters and mechanics
  • Demolition workers
  • Insulation workers
  • Roofing contractors
  • Scaffolders
  • Teachers
  • Foundry workers

There are many other areas of work where people may come into contact with relatively low levels of asbestos. Even this can be sufficient to cause asbestos related problems, particularly mesothelioma which can arise from as little as one day’s exposure.

We have acted for wives and relatives who have come into contact at home with asbestos from the clothes or body of asbestos workers and unfortunately developed mesothelioma. This is called secondary exposure.

On occasions people may not know initially where they came into contact with asbestos but, using our experience, we can often trace back in time a history of exposure.

Asbestos claims are subject to strict limitation periods. The general rule is that there is a three-year time limit, starting from the time you are diagnosed with an asbestos related illness.

If you are making a claim for someone who has died from asbestos exposure, the three-year time limit is started from the date of death, rather than the date of a diagnosis.

Asbestos-related illnesses usually take many years to develop. The claim will not be out of time just because exposure took place a long time ago.

It is difficult to accurately estimate how much compensation you may be entitled to for an asbestos claim.

Our asbestos solicitors will work alongside you to review the circumstances of your case, ensuring that your claim reflects the impact the asbestos exposure has had on you and your loved ones.

The process of working out how much compensation you are entitled to is known as ‘assessing quantum of damages’ or ‘assessing quantum’.

Claims rarely settle for less than £50,000 and are often worth substantially more than this, sometimes several hundred thousand pounds, or more.

Book a free consultation with our asbestos solicitors in Plymouth

If asbestos exposure has affected your health, we are happy to hold a free initial conversation about how we can help. Please get in touch by calling us on 01752663295 or use our contact form.