Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis in the lung caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestosis is a benign condition that causes the affected person a life-long disability. This can be difficult to come to terms with and the person may need to learn how to make adjustments in their daily lives so that can lead as full a life as possible after diagnosis. Asbestosis can also be a progressive disease, which means it can get worse throughout the person’s life.
Other commonly recognisable types of pulmonary fibrosis are pneumoconiosis (caused by coal dust) and silicosis (caused by silica dust). However, there are also many types of pulmonary fibrosis where the causes are currently unknown.
As a result of the number of different types of pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis cases can be one of the more difficult types of asbestos-related cases to prove.
What causes asbestosis?
Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis where it has been caused by asbestos exposure. Other commonly recognisable types of pulmonary fibrosis are pneumoconiosis (caused by coal dust) and silicosis (caused by silica dust). However, there are also many types of pulmonary fibrosis where the causes are currently unknown.
As a result of the number of different types of pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis cases can be one of the more difficult types of asbestos-related illnesses to prove.
In order to prove in law that a person’s pulmonary fibrosis is caused by asbestos exposure (and is, therefore, asbestosis) it is necessary to show that the person suffering had a long history of frequent moderate to heavy exposure.
Receiving a diagnosis of any asbestos-related illness is always extremely difficult, for the person diagnosed and their families. Let us try and guide you through this difficult time and obtain the additional support you and your family need.
- Mei Li
- Director & Head of Catastrophic Injury
- Kirsty Meech
- Director - Catastrophic Injury
- Ian Rees
- Director & Head of Personal Injury
- Keith Thomas
- Director & Head of Injury Services
- Alison Deere
- Legal Assistant - Clinical Negligence
- Sarah Mathias
- Legal Secretary - Injury Services
- Lesley Kerr
- Legal Secretary - Injury Services
- Cheryl Smith
- Legal Secretary - Personal Injury
- Sam Bateman
- Trainee Solicitor - Personal Injury
- Abigail Culpan
- Trainee Administrative Assistant - Injury Services
Who can claim compensation for asbestosis?
It is not uncommon for people with asbestosis to be uncertain about whether they can make a claim. However, a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis where a person has an extensive background of asbestos exposure should always be investigated by a solicitor who specialises in these claims. These are complex claims and you will need someone experienced to help guide you through the various complexities.
Sometimes the person suffering from asbestosis will also have a diagnosis of other asbestos-related illnesses (such as pleural thickening). A person may also receive a differential diagnosis for their pulmonary fibrosis, such as IPF, which may lead them to think they cannot make a claim. This is sometimes correct, however, if there is a background of heavy asbestos exposure this should still be investigated.
How can you prove it is asbestosis?
Where there is a different or uncertain diagnosis by a treating doctor, a medical expert in the claim may still feel in the context of the radiological presentation and history of asbestos exposure that, on balance, the pulmonary fibrosis has been caused by the asbestos exposure and is, therefore, asbestosis. Further, a smoking history does not prevent someone from making a claim for asbestosis.
A lawyer can help you understand the legal process and make an informed decision about making a claim. While nothing can reverse what has happened, instructing a solicitor in asbestos illnesses can make things considerably easier for everyone involved.
Should I make a claim?
Compensation is not a windfall. It enables our clients and their families to live as full a life as possible after their diagnosis. It may also allow you to access alternative treatments that are not available on the NHS.
The legal costs in these cases are recoverable from the responsible party. We will pursue the claim under an agreement with you commonly known as a “no win no fee” agreement.
Our clients and their families are always dealt with warmly, sensitively and compassionately. We treat our clients as we would wish our own family members to be treated in the same circumstances. Our real-life experience means we have first-hand experience of how it feels to be on the other side of the relationship with our clients, and this background shapes the way we will approach our work and seek justice for our clients.
We usually arrange home visits to see our clients and (wherever possible) can help you to access early interim compensation payments and benefit entitlements. We will also carry out our initial investigations in your claim free of charge and offer free advice and guidance without any obligation to continue. Where a legal claim is not possible, but we feel you may be entitled to related government benefits or other alternative payments, we will nevertheless assist you to make these applications free of charge.
Our advice will go far beyond making a claim for compensation. We will also advise you about related government benefits and schemes, we can signpost you to support groups and medical experts.
There is much more at stake in these claims than money; our role is to ensure that clients have access to all of the medical treatments, care, aids and equipment and comforts that they need and deserve.
Our Injury Services teams include five directors, and we are recognised as one of the leading law firms in Wales in the industry bibles; Chambers and the Legal 500. We also hold specialist memberships such as the Law Society Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence panel.
We are pragmatic, solution orientated, down to earth, and we speak plain English.
What are the symptoms of asbestosis?
Common symptoms of asbestosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of the chest and / or chest pain
- A persistent dry cough
- Appetite loss
- Finger clubbing (enlarged fingertips)
- Nail deformities
How can I prove my asbestosis claim? It all happened such a long time ago and I don’t have any documents.
Often at the start of a claim, clients worry that they don’t have any documentary evidence to prove their asbestos exposure. However, they should be reassured that they are far from alone in this.
In the vast majority of cases, clients have no documentary evidence relating to their asbestos exposure. What we will often refer to as “your evidence” throughout your claim, is, in fact, a detailed statement that we will take from you at the outset of the claim. In many cases, the court will accept a client’s statement as proof of their asbestos exposure even though there is no documentary evidence in respect of this.
We will guide you through every step of the claim so that you don’t have to worry.
How long will my asbestosis claim take?
This varies a lot depending on the facts of your case. Asbestos claims are fast-tracked by the courts and some claims can settle in 6 to 9 months. Other cases can take 12 months or longer (depending on the complexity of the case). However, the courts will also frequently make an order for the other side to make interim payments to the person suffering while the claim is ongoing, so you may receive part of your compensation even while the claim is ongoing. Again, this varies greatly depending on the facts of the individual case.
We will provide you with realistic time scales for your individual case, wherever possible and we will keep you up to date as things unfold.
What if the employer that exposed me to asbestos no longer exists?
This is very common in these types of claims. Where the relevant company is dissolved, we will instead try and trace the insurers of this company and the claim is pursued against the insurance company.
How much time do I have to make an asbestosis compensation claim?
The usual position is that you have three years from the date of diagnosis to make an asbestosis claim and it is important to seek advice as early as possible.
Where an asbestos claim is not possible, you may still be able to claim government-related benefits. We can assist and advise you in respect of this free of charge.
How much asbestos compensation could I receive?
The amount of compensation depends on the level of disability caused by the person’s illness and other personal circumstances. The level of disability varies a lot and, therefore, so does the amount of compensation received by different people. Compensation can vary from less than £10,000 up to £100,000 (or in rare cases even more).
How do no win no fee claims work for asbestosis claims?
We know that clients can often worry about how the claim will be funded when contacting us at the outset of the claim. With this in mind, we will also take the time to explain everything to you, so that you are able to move forward with full peace of mind.
A “no win no fee agreement” works by taking the financial risk of making a claim away from our clients entirely. If your claim is unsuccessful we will not get paid for any of the work we have done and we also take insurance out to cover all other costs in the claim, to ensure you will have no other costs to pay if this happens.
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We have offices in the following locations:
Swansea, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Cowbridge, Fishguard, Haverfordwest