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Asbestos Disease

If you or someone you know suffers from an asbestos related disease, we can help advise you about making a claim for compensation and help with the necessary forms to claim additional benefits that may be open to the sufferers of an asbestos related illness.

We can provide support and advice for sufferers of asbestos related disease and their families. We have links to many organisations and professionals that can help you.

It is estimated that approximately 20 tradesmen per week die from the legacy of asbestos related disease. Research work carried out also estimates that currently 4,000 people die per year because of asbestos related disease. This figure is set to rise even further and it is thought that cases of asbestos related disease will peak in 2020.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, which in the past has been used extensively by many trades due to its versatile qualities and heat resistance. Although it is now against the law to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of any building, thousands of tonnes of asbestos was used in the past.

There are many asbestos related products such as sheet roofing, pipe lagging, heat resistant gloves and fire retardant blankets. In the early years, asbestos was sprayed onto the bulkheads of ships that were under construction or refurbishment at dockyards such as Barrow in Furness in the North West of England and Swan Hunter in the North East.

There are many professions where people may have been exposed to asbestos, these include shipyard workers, railway workshop workers, manufacturing workers, asbestos laggers and sprayers, construction workers, engineering workers and dockers and transport workers.

There are a number of asbestos related diseases, namely pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma (which is another form of lung cancer).

If you have, or suspect you have, an asbestos related disease you need to take action quickly and take advice about what to do next.

Can I claim compensation?

If you suffer from one of these conditions, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, you will almost certainly be able to claim compensation. If you have had extensive exposure to asbestos and think you are suffering from an asbestos related condition then you may be entitled to compensation. The compensation is in addition to any social security benefits that you may be able to claim.

Can I claim benefits?

You will be able to claim benefits for your condition if you come within the criteria for disability and have one of the prescribed diseases. The level of benefits will depend on an assessment made of your disability and you should contact your local benefits office and discuss the matter with them in detail.

The main benefits you may be able to claim are as follows; Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Constant Attendance Allowance, Reduced Earnings Allowance, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance. There are many benefits that your local benefits office will be able to advise you about further.

Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Act 1979

This is a Government Scheme designed to compensate victims of asbestos related disease where the employer has gone out of business and insurers cannot be traced. It can provide a lump sum compensation payment in certain circumstances.

Mesothelioma - The 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme

This is a scheme run by the Government. It provides a lump sum fr sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma where a claim cannot be brought against an employer, for example where you are self-employed or lived near premises which contained asbestos.

General Information

My employer went out of business long ago, does this matter?

One of the difficulties in deciding to pursue a claim for comensation is that the employer may be out of business. This can be a problem, however there are now vast databases of insurers who covered the relevant employers and it is the insurers who will deal with the case.

Who should I contact?

If you think you may suffer from a condition or you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Asbestos related disease

There are five known asbestos related diseases and sufferers may have more than one of the conditions.

Pleural Plaques

Currently, Pleural Plaques sufferers are not entitled to compensation, although there are numerous campaigns to change this.

Pleural Thickening

The lung is covered by a membrane which can be inflamed by scarring of the lungs, caused by asbestos fibres. This can cause sharpness of breath.

Asbestosis

This is a fibrosing of the lung tissue and is considered to be progressive in nature. This can cause disablement and death.

Asbestosis

If you smoke and have asbestosis, you are at a very high risk of contracting lung cancer. The cancer can attack the lining of the lung and then spread to other parts of the body. This can cause disablement and death.

Mesothelioma

This is a most frequent type of asbestos related malignancy and may develop 20 to 40 years after exposure. The tumour will eat away at the lining of the lung and can develop into a hard fibrous tumour, which in some instances can completely encase the lung.

 

  • Sarah Leighton
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