What constitutes a work-related asbestos illness?
Work related asbestos diseases include mesothelioma, asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques. They are caused by exposure to asbestos fibres in the workplace, often over an extended period of time.
Many trades and professions have been affected by asbestos exposure. These include those in the asbestos trade itself, plumbers, shipbuilders, carpenters, construction workers and other manual workers and tradespeople. Other professions affected include teachers, prison workers and hospital staff.
What needs to be proven?
In order to receive asbestos compensation you need to be able to prove negligence and/or breach of statutory duty and that this has caused your medical condition. This may require witness evidence from former colleagues or expert evidence from engineers and doctors.
In some cases claims may be made for indirect exposure – for example, if a wife suffered exposure to asbestos dust while washing the contaminated clothes of her husband. In such cases, it will be necessary to prove that the husband did indeed come into contact with a certain amount of asbestos.
Who will pay the compensation?
Employers seldom pay the industrial disease compensation owed to affected workers out of their own finances. Instead, compensation is paid by the relevant employer's "Employers' Liability Insurance". Since 1972 all UK employers have been required by law to have this type of cover in place. If your exposure to asbestos took place prior to 1972, there may not be a paying party.
In the unlikely event that you are still employed by the defender when you are diagnosed (typically asbestos diseases take many years from exposure until symptoms become apparent), it is important to remember that there are numerous legal safeguards to protect against unfair dismissal or discrimination made on the basis of your claim.
Is it possible to claim when the employer has gone out of business?
Yes, this is because the claim is made against the employer's insurers rather than the employer itself. This is particularly important for claimants to know as asbestos-related illnesses frequently take more than two decades to develop, meaning employers have often ceased to trade by the time the claimant receives his or her diagnosis.
Will the case go to court?
Although some asbestos claims do eventually go to court, in reality the large majority of claims are settled as a result of negotiations between asbestos solicitors and liability insurers. Instead, it is likely that it will be in the interests of all parties concerned to settle without courtroom litigation, and both the courts and the government strongly encourage this approach.
Does it cost money to fund an asbestos claim
Thompsons offers its clients various funding options. However, it is worth bearing in mind that our asbestos claims service will be provided on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you pay nothing at all unless you win your case – without exceptions. If your claim is successful then a portion of your compensation is set aside to cover court costs and solicitor fees. We will always discuss the details of this with you from the outset of your claim – this means that you will not receive any unwelcome surprises.
Are there time limits for asbestos claims?
You can make a claim up to three years from the date you were diagnosed with the asbestos illness, or, if you are claiming following the death of a spouse, partner or family member, three years from the date of death or three years from the date at which you became aware of the cause of death.
Is it possible to claim on behalf of a deceased family member?
It is possible to claim compensation on behalf of a deceased family member. However, the claim must be brought within three years of the date of death or within three years of the cause of death being known. Similarly, if the claimant dies during the course of the case, the family can continue with the claim on his or her behalf.
Is it possible for smokers to claim for asbestos lung cancer?
Yes, but these asbestos claims can be complicated. For a smoker to make a successful claim it is necessary to demonstrate a certain number of asbestos particles as being present in a lung tissue sample or, alternatively, a clear history of heavy asbestos exposure.
Can I claim if I live outside of Scotland?
Yes. Many of Thompsons' claimants now live abroad in locations such as France, South Africa and Australia. If you worked in Scotland before you moved overseas, you can bring a claim for compensation in the usual way.
How do I make a claim with Thompsons' asbestos solicitors in Scotland?
Contact Thompsons team of asbestos claim solicitors today to see if we could help you or a loved one seek compensation for an asbestos-related disease.
Call us on 0800 0891 331 or fill in our contact form so we can discuss your options.