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FAQs

Frequently asked questions

This page is not intended as a statement of law. It is a very simplified guide. We strongly recommend you telephone us on our freephone number immediately after you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition.


 
 
 

FAQs

We are solicitors who specialise in acting for the sufferers of asbestos related conditions.

Will my former employers compensate me?

Compensation from your employers

Once you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition you must seek legal advice from us as soon as possible.

There are time limits for making a claim for both state benefits and through the court system. The time limit generally for bringing court proceedings is within 3 years from when you were told about your asbestos related condition. If you are outside of this 3 year time limit then the courts have a discretion to still award you damages provided there is good reason for the delay.

Time is running and you must contact us now.

If your former employer has gone out of business then you can still make a claim. They can be restored to the Register of Companies for the purpose of starting a court action. They will probably not have any money but your compensation will come from the insurers of the company at the time you worked for them. There are many checks that a solicitor can do to locate the insurers of your former employers.

During the course of your claim you will have to decide how you would like to settle. In non mesothelioma claims such as asbestosis or pleural thickening you can either accept a once and for all payment where you would not be able to return to court if you went on to develop any other asbestos related condition, or;

You can accept a much lower payment but with a right to return to court should you develop a further asbestos related condition in the future.

Which decision to follow depends on the circumstances of each case. It is a decision you will ultimately have to make and we can explain fully the advantages and disadvantages of each.

It is also important to note that if you are in receipt of certain means tested benefits then receiving any lump sum compensation may put you at risk of losing these benefits. You are able to preserve your benefits if you place your compensation in a special needs trust. Again we can discuss this with you at the appropriate stage of proceedings.

One last thing to note, do not become anxious or worried at instructing a solicitor. A good solicitor will always have your best interests in mind and will guide you through the whole process. It has always been very important to us that our client’s do not suffer any further anxiety than they are already experiencing at this difficult time.

Former employers gone out of business

If your former employer has gone out of business you can still claim.

We will immediately obtain a copy of your Schedule of Employment from the Inland Revenue, which will give us the full trading name of any company you worked for. If necessary we can restore this company to the Register of Companies for the purpose of starting a court action.

However they will probably not have any money to pay as your compensation will come from the insurers of the company at the time you worked for them.

As experts in this field we have a very comprehensive database of former employers who we have brought actions against and details of their insurers. This is crucial as it can save time and result in quicker settlement times.

Even if we do not have the insurance details already, there are many checks that we can do to locate the insurers of your former employers such as contacting the Association of British Insurers, researching previous cases, tracing former directors etc.

It is important that you contact us as soon as you have been diagnosed with an asbestos condition in order that these checks can be carried out sooner rather than later.

Making an Asbestos Claim after leaving the UK

WE Solicitors represent a growing number of mesothelioma sufferers and their families who have left the UK to live abroad.  We have represented sufferers from all over the world including  Hong Kong, Canada, Cyprus, New Zealand, and Greece.

In most cases sufferers worked with asbestos over 20 years ago and never realised they may have a condition until they are diagnosed.  This can be extremely worrying and distressing especially in a country without your friends and family for support.

It does not really matter where you are now living.  If you were exposed to asbestos whilst working in the UK then we can help you.  Despite living outside the UK you are still entitled to compensation through civil courts and may be entitled to compensation under the 1979 Workers Compensation Scheme.  For more information please visit http://asbestosvictimadvice.com/faqs/government-benefits/ .

We can arrange to speak to you via Skype and talk you through the claims process.  We are also able to obtain our medical records and in most cases arrange for medical expert either to review the notes here in the UK or arrange for local chest physician to prepare a report detailing your condition.  If you require further information on the claims process please visit the following page http://asbestosvictimadvice.com/faqs/claims-process/

In some cases we will also come and see you in person depending upon the circumstances and availability of flights.

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one.  If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition then please contact us today via email or chat to us on our website. http://asbestosvictimadvice.com/claim-compensation/

Government Compensation

There are state benefits you may be eligible for from the Government. This is intended as a general guide only. Once you have instructed us we will assist you in making a claim for benefits from the Government.

The two most common forms of benefits for sufferers of asbestos related conditions are:-

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

This is awarded to suffers of asbestos related conditions (except pleural plaques) provided that certain conditions are met. We can assist you in completing the application forms and guide you through the process.

Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

This is a one off payment to sufferers of certain asbestos related conditions whose former employers have gone out of business. In order to qualify for this award you must have been awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

This one off payment has now been extended to all those who suffer from mesothelioma, including those who were not exposed whilst at work.

How long does a claim take

This depends on many factors such as what asbestos related condition you have and whether the company or its insurers can be easily traced.

With the more serious conditions, such as mesothelioma, there are special court procedures to speed up the process. (In such a case we should have your case to court within 6 months of receiving instructions and completed at the most within 12 months.)

Judges are generally quite sympathetic to people who have developed such serious illnesses and will do everything possible to have your case heard quickly.

(Examples in a box underneath)

  • Mr A instructed us in November 2007, we secured a £143,000 payout at the beginning of May 2008.
  • Mr L instructed us in July 2007, we secured more than £60,000 compensation in October 2007.

How much you are likely to receive

The amount of compensation payable varies widely in each case and is calculated by considering factors including:

  • The type of asbestos related condition you have.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • The amount of disability the condition causes.
  • Various financial losses.
  • Care costs.
  • Other expenses incurred as a result of asbestos-related illness.

We will claim compensation for all past and future losses. Our aim is to maximise your compensation.

Time Limits for Making a Claim

You must contact us as quickly as possible. This applies to both obtaining compensation from your former employers and with regards claiming Government Benefits.

The general rule is that you must start court proceedings with 3 years from when you knew or ought to have known about your condition and you knew or ought to have known it was caused by exposure to asbestos in your former workplace.

Generally this 3 year time limit starts to run once you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition.

If you are outside of this 3 year time limit then the courts have a discretion to still award you damages provided there is good reason for the delay.

Time is running and you must contact us sooner rather than later.

What if I develop a further asbestos related condition once I have claimed?

This is something you may need to consider during the course of your claim. You can either accept a once and for all payment where you would not be able to return to court if you went on to develop any other asbestos related condition, or;

You can accept much lower payment but with a right to return to court should you develop a further asbestos related condition in the future. Our chosen medical expert will report on the likelihood of developing a further condition.

Which decision to follow depends on the circumstances of each case. It is a decision you will ultimately have to make, we will explain fully the advantages and disadvantages of each decision.

If you have already made a claim against your former employers you will need to contact us immediately and we will obtain you file from your previous solicitors in order to find out how your original claim was settled.

What was asbestos used for?

The word asbestos comes from the Greek work ‘inextinguishable’ or ‘indestructible’. They used it for tablecloths, oil lamp wicks and funeral shrouds.

In modern times asbestos has been used in many trades and industries including:-

  • Shipbuilding
  • Building and Construction works
  • Plumbers and Gas Fitters
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Metal Plate and Sheet Metal Workers
  • Vehicle Body Builders
  • Railway carriage construction
  • Maintenance trades
  • Electrical Plant Operators
  • Production Fitters
  • Construction Works
  • Electrical Engineers

It uses have been vast and include:-

  • Insulation against fire, heat and sound.
  • Various building products such as corrugated roofing, gutters, water and drain pipes, ceiling tiles, chimneys.
  • Friction materials, such as brake and clutch linings.
  • Textiles, such as ropes, fire protective clothing, fire blankets, wicks for oil lamps etc.

Asbestos usage in the UK was finally completely banned on 24th Augsut 1999. This was one month after the European Union banned chrysotile (white asbestos). The Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations 1999, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Prescott, came into force on November 24, 1999 five years ahead of the European deadline.

Chrysotile had been the only type of asbestos permitted in the UK since amosite (Brown asbestos) and crocidolite (Blue asbestos) were banned in 1985. Statutory Instrument No. 2373 forbids the import of crude fiber, flake, powder or waste chrysotile and the new use of asbestos cement, boards, panels, tiles and other products. Chrysotile-containing products installed prior to November 24, 1999 can remain in place until they reach the end of their service life. The sale of second-hand asbestos cement products and building materials covered with asbestos-containing coatings is forbidden.