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December 27th 2021

Accidents at Work

Mesothelioma, how you can claim compensation as soon as you are diagnosed

Terry Wilcox

Terry Wilcox

Associate, Civil Liberties

Mesothelioma, how you can claim compensation as soon as you are diagnosed

Experienced mesothelioma claims lawyer Terry Wilcox explains what compensation is available to you and your loved ones following a diagnosis

Experienced mesothelioma claims lawyer Terry Wilcox explains what compensation is available to you and your loved ones following a diagnosis

There are around 2,700 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the UK each year, mostly in men. The cancer is usually caused by exposure to asbestos which typically occurs in the workplace.

Before the use and supply of asbestos was banned in the UK in the late 1990s, most exposures occurred in asbestos manufacturing and industries where asbestos was heavily used such as shipbuilding and construction.

Today, most exposures are likely to have happen when asbestos was already in place and disturbed, for example during building maintenance. Latest figures show mesothelioma results in 2,400 deaths each year and there are an estimated 2,900 people living with it.

If you or a loved one has suffered from, or is suffering from, mesothelioma you may be entitled to compensation.

In mesothelioma cases there is a special protocol for living claimants whereby an application can be made to a specialist disease court to secure an interim payment of £50,000. This is provided to help the claimant while they are still alive.

You may also be able to get a one-off, lump-sum payment if you were exposed to asbestos dust at work and have mesothelioma. On average this payment is around £24,000.

You can apply through two different schemes:
• The Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979
• Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments 2008 Scheme
You can read more about the different forms of compensation on the government’s website.

Compensation from employers

Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma who has worked somewhere where they were exposed to asbestos in the past may be able to claim compensation from their current or past employer. This type of compensation claim requires specialist legal knowledge and should be made through an experienced, specialist solicitor.

The Compensation Act of 2006 makes is easier to prove a claim. Even if you had up to ten or more previous employers a claimant only has to prove they were exposed to asbestos against one single defendant.

Is there a time limit to claim?

Court proceedings for a claim must be started within three years of the date you were first diagnosed with an injury due to asbestos. This means three years from the date of diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness, not three years since your exposure to the asbestos.

Family members of people who died from mesothelioma within three years of being diagnosed may still be able to make a claim. The three-year period to make the claim begins from the date of death. Sometimes this time limit can be extended. You can ask for advice from a specialist solicitor even if you think it may be too late to make a claim.

Widow awarded £330,000 in damages

Hudgell Solicitors recently represented a widow who received £330,000 damages following her husband’s death from mesothelioma.

Colin Harper had worked as an air conditioning engineer and throughout his career was exposed to asbestos lagged pipes when removing and upgrading systems, he became unwell in 2016 and passed away, aged 63, in 2018. In 2021 Hudgell Solicitors secured settlement for the whole case with insurers, without any defendant admitting liability.

You can read more here: Husband’s death from mesothelioma linked to working as an air conditioning engineer in 70s and 80s

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