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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions
Home > Why BMcF? > Frequently Asked Questions > Asbestos and Mesothelioma
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Asbestos and Mesothelioma

 

We are a leading asbestos and mesothelioma law firm, boasting several asbestos experts throughout Lincolnshire and Hull.

 

Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Am I eligible for government compensation?
If you have more than pleural plaques, you may be entitled to state benefits such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

You may also qualify for a lump sum payment under the Workers’ Compensation Act scheme.

Even if you have not been exposed to asbestos through your own work, you may qualify for certain benefits/payments and you should contact us for more advice.

Can you claim compensation for pleural plaques?
The legal position in England and Wales is that they are not compensatable unless they are sufficiently extensive to cause symptoms. This is not often the case. In Scotland, the legal position is different and you should seek advice from a Scottish law firm if this affects you.
How much will I have to pay?
If you have a condition which is compensatable in the courts, then we will not have to ask you to pay anything. Your legal costs would be paid by the other side if you win your claim. If you lose your claim, you pay nothing.

Sometimes, if it not clear whether or not your condition is a compensatable one, we may ask you to pay the costs of a preliminary medical, so that we can find out more about your condition. 

However, in most cases, you are not asked to pay anything.  In any event, we would not incur any costs without your express prior agreement.

How was asbestos used?
Asbestos has been extensively used because of its insulation properties, industrially and domestically. It was used in a wide variety of products and applications. See 'Where is asbestos found?' for more information.
Is lung cancer caused by asbestos?
Many cases of lung cancer are caused by asbestos exposure but are wrongly attributed to other causes such as smoking. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer, particularly in those who have smoked tobacco.

In common with asbestosis, for the lung cancer to be attributed to asbestos exposure, a fairly high level of asbestos exposure must have taken place. In some situations, surgery is possible to remove the tumour.

Compensation may be payable for asbestos related lung cancer. State benefits are available.

Is there a time limit to make a claim?
Yes. You should seek legal advice promptly upon finding out that you (or a deceased relative) has asbestos related disease.

Generally, if a claim is not settled, court proceedings have to be commenced within 3 years of when you had knowledge of the condition and could relate it to the fault of others.  Beyond this time limit, the claim will be classed as out of time.

However, the court do have discretion to allow late claims to proceed and whatever your position, you should seek legal advice to check the position.

My employer is defunct, can I still make a claim?
We regularly win compensation against defunct companies. We are usually able to trace either a successor organisation who has taken over the liabilities or an insurer.

Over the years, we have built up a reservoir of knowledge and source of contacts which often help us to win the claims.  On the rare occasions when we cannot trace someone to pay, we look to see if there is an alternative organisation to claim from. For example, the occupier of the premises, another contractor or product supplier.

What are pleural plaques?
This is a very common condition found in persons who have been exposed to asbestos. The pleura is a sac which contains fluid. It surrounds and protects the lungs and has two layers.

When asbestos fibres reach the pleura, they can cause scarring and this can be known as pleural plaques. The plaques do not usually interfere with breathing unless they are very extensive.  They are therefore, not usually compensatable in England and Wales.  However, the position is different in Scotland.

What compensation am I entitled to?
Compensation is not payable in England and Wales for pleural plaques. However, compensation can be paid for other asbestos conditions such as pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer.

Compensation is paid for pain, suffering and loss of the ability to do normal activities.  In addition, financial losses and expenses may be claimed. Each claim is very different and it is best to seek advice on your particular circumstances.

What if I do not work with asbestos but a family member did and I have an asbestos related disease?
There is still a very good chance that you will be entitled to compensation. We are experienced in winning such claims.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of fibrous minerals of which there are 3 main types:

- Blue asbestos (Crocidolite)

- Brown asbestos (Amosite)

- White asbestos (Chrysotile)

All are cabable of causing lung disease.

Extensive amounts of asbestos were imported into the United Kingdom, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. Asbestos was an extremely useful commodity because of its resistance to heat and fire and because of its sound absorption qualities and strength. It has been widely used domestically as well as in industry.

The dangers of inhaling asbestos fibres have long been known but employers frequently failed to take adequate care for the safety of their workers and other persons exposed to the fibres. Their negligence has resulted in many men and women developing asbestos related diseases many years after inhaling the fibres. (This is usually between 20 and 50 years after exposure).

Generally, workers are now better informed about (and protected against) the dangers of inhaling asbestos fibres. Further, the importation and use of asbestos is now banned in Europe (except for research purposes). However, its legacy remains.  Asbestos can still be found in the structures of many of our homes, public buildings and workplaces.

What is asbestosis?
This is a distinct condition in its own right and is a form of scarring of the lungs. “True asbestosis” requires a person to have been exposed to a substantial “dose” of asbestos. Low levels of asbestos exposure will not cause it.

Sometimes, the effects of asbestosis are minimal and it causes little or no breathlessness. In other cases, it can cause very severe breathlessness and can sometimes be fatal.  It is very variable in degree.

Compensation can be paid for asbestosis. State benefits may be payable such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

What is Mesothelioma?
This is a form of cancer which, in the UK, is mainly caused as a result of asbestos exposure.

The most common form is Pleural Mesothelioma. The tumour encases the lung, compressing it and causing shortness of breath. Sadly, it is invariably fatal.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma is rarer. It involves the development of a tumour on the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). Again, it causes shortness of breath and is not curable. 

Mesothelioma can occur in persons who have had a relatively low level of exposure to asbestos.

Compensation may be payable for Mesothelioma. State benefits are available and should be fast-tracked.

What is pleural effusion?
This is a build up of fluid in the lining of the lung which can cause symptoms of breathlessness. It may resolve by itself or the lung may need to be drained.

It can be caused by asbestos exposure but may be due to non-industrial causes.  After the pleural effusion has resolved, it may leave some scarring (pleural thickening).

We have obtained compensation for asbestos related pleural effusions.

What is pleural thickening?
This condition can be caused by exposure to asbestos but it can also result from non-industrial causes. When asbestos fibres reach the pleura, they can eventually cause scarring.

When the scarring is widespread rather than localised, it is known as pleural thickening. Depending upon the extent of scarring, it can cause shortness of breath.

Compensation may be available for pleural thickening. State benefits may be payable such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

Where is asbestos found?
Asbestos can still be found in the structures of many of our homes, public buildings and workplaces. The list below is not exhaustive. Examples of where asbestos may be found include:

* Insulation on pipe-work and boilers

* Some plasters, paints and textured coatings

* Asbestos flues

* Asbestos seals on ovens

* Asbestos gaskets or seals

* Ducting

* Cable trays and cables

* Electricity/cable boards

* Partition boards

* Linings of lift shafts

* Boxing in and cladding

* Vinyl floor coverings and floor tiles

* Ceiling tiles

* Bath panels

* Artex

* Window ledges

* Fire doors

* Fire blankets

* Fire retardant clothing

* Stage curtains

* Asbestos mats - e.g. as used to be used in schools

*  Roofing materials including roofing felt and corrugated roofing

* Soffits

* Guttering

* Pipes including downpipes

* Structural supports - e.g. girders clad or sprayed with asbestos

* Pre-fabricated buildings including homes, offices and classrooms

* Fume cupboards

* Garden furniture

* Ironing boards

* Hairdryers

* War time gas masks

* Brake and clutch linings

* Friction products

* Conveyor belts

Which industries/trades are typically affected by asbestos?
Asbestos disease does not discriminate. People from any walk of life can be affected. Our specialist lawyers have helped people to claim for compensation who have worked as:

*  Boilermakers

*  Boilerscalers

*  Burners

* Cable engineers

* Construction workers

* Chemical industry workers

* Cleaners

* Crane drivers

* Demolition workers

* Dock workers

* Electricians

* Factory workers

* Fire fighters

* Fitters

* Furnace workers

* Gas fitters

* Health workers

* Heating and ventilation engineers

* Joiners

* Labourers

* Laggers

* Laundry workers

* Maintenance workers

* Mechanics

* Merchant navy seamen

* Miners

* Office workers

* Painters

* Pipe fitters

* Plasterers

* Plumbers

* Police personnel

* Power station workers

* Process operators

* Rail workers

* Refuse collectors

* Riggers

* Riveters

* Roofers

* Salvage workers

* Shipbuilding and repair

* Shop fitters

* Tannery workers

* Tar industry workers

* Teachers

* Trawlermen

* Waste disposal workers

* Welders

Will I have to attend a medical assessment?
Yes. You would be examined by a chest physician with years of experience of asbestos disease. If you are too ill to travel to see the doctor, we can arrange for the doctor to see you at home or in hospital.
Will I have to go to court?
This is unlikely but it is possible. Most of our claims settle outside of the court room. If you did have to attend court, then we would discuss with you what would be involved.

We would accompany you throughout the hearing and our barristers would also help to reassure you and give you the confidence needed. It is not as bad as you might think!  Judges are sympathetic to victims of asbestos disease and you can expect to be treated with the utmost respect. 

Will you take my case over from my current/previous solicitor?
Asbestos claims are complex and solicitors who do not have extensive experience of asbestos claims may lack the skills to win the claim/maximise your compensation. It is a good idea to check that your solicitor has vast experience of this type of claim. There are pitfalls for those that do not.

Other solicitors do refer claims to us as we are known for our expertise in this field. We sometimes take on claims that have been abandoned by other solicitors, if we feel there is merit in the claim.

Please contact us if you require more information