Mesothelioma Compensation Claims Solicitors
Our specialist asbestos team have been acting for victims and their families who have been affected by asbestos disease for over 20 years. Phoebe Osborne and Martyn Hayward both trained at a national firm and bring with them proven expertise in order to pursue successful mesothelioma claims in the East Anglia region.
Phoebe and Martyn travel to see all of their clients within their homes and work under a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee).
In terms of pursing successful mesothelioma claims Ashtons Legal are experienced in gathering the required evidence and work hard to bring justice for our clients.
Our team will assess the prospects of a claim by gathering evidence in order to successfully pursue a claim.
- Duty of Care – what should you employer have done to protect you?
- Statutory Duty – what laws were there at the time?
- Have your former employers been in Breach of their Duty of Care or Statutory Duty
- Negligent Exposure to asbestos
- Causation – how were you exposed?
Many people after being diagnosed with an asbestos disease do not immediately recall working with asbestos or how they could have been exposed. Our dedicated specialists are trained in interviewing clients in order to obtain the relevant information.
It is important that you chose a solicitor who is experienced in dealing with complex industrial disease claims. Our team have worked for a number of different trades including carpenters, joiners, plumbers, painters and decorators, construction workers, electricians, shop fitters, computer and data installers, general maintenance staff e.g. caretakers and building surveyors.
We have secured successful claims for families where the victim has sadly passed away from an asbestos disease.
Where was I exposed to asbestos?
On some occasions, our clients are diagnosed with an asbestos disease and they have never knowingly worked with asbestos but upon questioning them it is established that there has been a secondary exposure to asbestos. Secondary exposure is caused by dust being brought in the home on an employee’s clothes being released into the home environment. We are also experienced in environmental exposure claims where people have been diagnosed with asbestos due to living in close proximity to factories and asbestos producing industries.
How long does mesothelioma take to develop?
As mesothelioma develops between 15-40 years from exposure it is often difficult for victims or their families to understand how and when they were exposed to asbestos as there are no immediate symptoms until much later on in life often during retirement.
With other conditions including asbestosis, repeated exposure to asbestos continue to increase the risk of developing an asbestos disease such as asbestosis, which is a dose, related disease.
With mesothelioma claims, it is widely accepted that there is no safe level of exposure and mesothelioma can develop after relatively minimal exposure to asbestos only for a short period of time.
The statistics produced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) are alarming and there are up to 4,000 deaths per year associated with asbestos disease, approximately 2,500 of these are deaths due to mesothelioma and sadly the figures continue to rise despite epidemiological evidence indicating that this asbestos claims legacy would be declining by mid 2000.
Asbestos was banned in the UK after 1999 but we are now seeing many different types of professions being diagnosed, more recently a significant number of former teachers, hospital workers and pupils are being diagnosed with mesothelioma where there is no obvious exposure to asbestos, other than they attended a specific school or worked at a hospital public building known to contain asbestos in a degrading state.
The Court Process
Mesothelioma compensation claims are dealt with in a specialist way by The Royal Courts of Justice. There is an asbestos list that deals with all asbestos claims under the fast track procedure to ensure swift justice for victims with a short life expectancy.
The show cause procedure that solicitors instigate is a useful way of securing an early admission of liability and a standard interim payment of £50,000 which enables patients and their families to access the best quality of care and for them to improve their quality of life.
Most mesothelioma claims do no reach trial but on occasion we do proceed to trial and on rare occasions we obtain evidence on commission. All throughout each court process we support our clients and provide regular assessments of prospects and always seek to fulfil our client’s expectations.
Whilst we understand that compensation does not bring anything other than financial security it does make a difference and brings peace of mind.
In recent months, the courts are awarding sufferers costs for immunotherapy and other non-NHS treatments which are shown to have benefit to the patient where supported by medical evidence. We can assist you in exploring your treatment options and we regularly signpost our patients to Mesothelioma UK for second opinions.
Dissolved Companies & Insurance
Ashtons Legal are experienced in restoring dissolved companies to the Register of Companies where they have since been dissolved.
We are also in communication with a number of insurance archaeologists who are able to assist us in locating historic insurance policies that have not been readily made available from the Employers Liability Tracing Office. Of note, Employers Liability Insurance only became compulsory after 1972.
Sadly for some mesothelioma sufferers their former employers cannot be traced or no policy of insurance can be located. In 2014 however the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme was set up for sufferers diagnosed with mesothelioma after 25 July 2012. The team are experienced in submitting successful DMPS schemes and in appealing to the tribunal where decisions have not been favourable in the first instance and you should contact the team for advice.
How much will I receive?
The levels of compensations awards for mesothelioma vary but the average award for pain suffering loss of amenity (general damages) is in the region of £61,410 to £110,380 (14th Edition Judicial College Guidelines including 10% uplift.)
We always seek the best possible settlement for our clients and regularly instruct leading barristers and QCs in order to achieve settlement on the best possible terms.
When did the exposure(s) take place?
Your solicitor will obtain a copy of your HMRC Employment History Schedule which records details of your former employers from 1960/61 onwards.
Your solicitor will take a detailed occupational history in the comfort of your home at no cost to you or your family.
Does the likely defendant employer/company still exist?
Your solicitor will locate your former employer/company via the Companies House Register of Companies.
Can Employers Liability Insurers be traced for the defendant company for the relevant period of exposure?
Your solicitor will conduct ELTO Employers Liability Tracing Office searches and can contact other accredited asbestos solicitors who may have previously pursued this defendant to locate the relevant insurer.
Can we prove asbestos exposure?
It is important that an early witness statement is taken and any former work colleagues and witnesses are located so that evidence can be secured.
What were the probable dates of the exposure?
The date of knowledge for mesothelioma is key to pursing a successful claim.
Your solicitor is experienced in knowing the key dates and it is widely accepted that the public and most employers should have known the dangers of asbestos from 1965 onwards.
Sadly though we are continuing to see examples of late exposure into the 1980s.
What is the procedure for making a mesothelioma claim?
The Royal Courts of Justice have an expedited asbestos list and a show cause procedure. The purpose of the expedited speedy procedure is to enable sufferers to obtain early admissions of liability and the standard interim payment of £50,000.
Your solicitor will obtain a desktop report from a Respiratory Physician providing a report on your life expectancy and prognosis.
It is unlikely that you would need to travel to a medical appointment.
I am not sure that I have an asbestos disease.
It is important that you provide your Solicitor with copies of your clinic letter from your GP or hospital where your diagnosis was made.
Mesothelioma can be a difficult disease to diagnose but is often accompanied by the presence of pleural plaques (scarring of the lung) or pleural effusion (fluid on the lung).
Many sufferers undergo various procedures including a video assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) or a needle biopsy in order to formally diagnose, either from lung tissue or fluid.
The stage when your mesothelioma is diagnosed can also affect your eligibility for chemotherapy and or radiotherapy.
What can I claim?
Personal Injury claims are dealt with in two parts. An award for general damages pain suffering loss of amenity (PSLA) where the Judicial College Guidelines (14th Edition) provide a tariff which ranges between £61,410 to £110,380 for mesothelioma.
Average awards for general damages are in the region of £80,000 – £90,000.
The second element is an award for Special damages – this includes, loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, funeral costs, bereavement awards, pension loss, care claims, DIY and services provided to the family by the spouse.
Medical evidence and life expectancy
As part of the claim we need to prove the probably life expectancy of the person involved, had they not developed mesothelioma. We can prove by way of statistics what the average life expectancy of a man or woman is. An individual’s medical and smoking history, as recorded within their medical records, will help our independent medical experts to determine whether they would have been likely to have lived beyond the average life expectancy, or less than the average life expectancy, and by approximately how many years, but for mesothelioma.
Similarly that we often claim on behalf of the spouse/partner for future losses until such time as a mesothelioma sufferer would have died were it not for the illness, we must also usually assess the actual life expectancy of the spouse/partner so that the court can assess what it would be reasonable to expect the insurer to pay for future losses.
If for example the mesothelioma sufferer is considerably younger than their spouse/partner, and their spouse/partner is extremely sick so that they only have a life expectancy themselves of a year or two it would be considered unfair to expect the insurers to pay for 20 years of future financial losses, even if the mesothelioma sufferer’s life expectancy would have been a further 20 years were it not for their illness.
The financial aspects of mesothelioma claims especially where there is a spouse is complicated and your solicitor will be able to guide you through this process. The key thing to remember is that where there is a mesothelioma diagnoses there has been an asbestos exposure. It is important therefore that when proving whose fault it is that every potential source is investigated thoroughly. It is always worth contacting a solicitor even if you are not sure about where you were exposed to asbestos given the devastating impact of mesothelioma on individuals and their families.
How do I make a mesothelioma claim?
The claims process is relatively straight forward for our clients. We offer a home visit at no cost to our client or their family. We provide benefits advice and put in place the Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit and obtain lump sum awards under the government scheme routinely even for those who are unable to make a civil legal claim.
Our asbestos team are caring and compassionate and are backed by the Legal 500.
Our client testimonies are testament to the work that we do for victims of asbestos and their families.
Our clients also have access to Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group as to members of the general public who have also been affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.