What is Mesothelioma?

Diagram of a lung

Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Less commonly it can affect the lining of the abdomen and heart. When the cancer develops in the chest it occurs in the pleura. This is a thin lining that covers the inside of the rib cage and the outside of the lungs.

What causes Mesothelioma?

Nearly all mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. The disease and symptoms present many years after the asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos is a fibrous material that was widely used for its fire resistant and insulating properties until the 1980’s. The use of asbestos is now banned in the UK and there are strict guidelines about its removal.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include

  • feeling breathless
  • chest pain
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • tiredness
  • heavy sweating
  • loss of appetite

What Mesothelioma compensation & financial assistance is available?

Mesothelioma sufferers may be able to take legal action to claim compensation for exposure to asbestos through the courts – this is a civil claim against a former employer`s insurance company. In addition there are important government benefits available to people who have an asbestos illness. If your former employer is no longer in business or the insurer cannot be found, a civil claim may still be pursued, and government benefits available.

This isn’t about blame or a claims culture. It’s about what is right. You have worked hard all of your life and you are owed financial peace of mind so you can meet your own needs now and prepare for your family’s future.

It is very important to work with a specialist solicitor experienced in mesothelioma cases. We strongly recommend you contact us straight away so that we can give you advice in relation to your individual case. Our solicitors will guide you through the whole process and will always work in your best interests.

Mesothelioma case settled for £750k in 2014

How much compensation am I likely to receive?

The final amount of compensation that you could be awarded will depend upon many factors, such as the length of time the illness lasts, your age, loss of earnings and/or pension, medical expenses, the assistance you may require to look after you during the illness, and dependents or loved ones that may rely on you either financially or to look after them and your home.

The Ministry of Justice reports that an average settlement value is £145,000. Our average settlement value in 2014 is around £180k  and our solicitors have achieved settlement values of over £800k.

In addition to this there are important benefits that you may be entitled to.

How long does it take?

There is a special court procedure to speed up the process for people with mesothelioma, and quite often cases are concluded within 12 months –  some as quickly as 4 months. It is not unusual to receive an initial lump sum payment within 6 weeks, and an interim payment of £50k within 4-6 months.

However, the length of time to achieve a settlement varies depending on a number of factors such as whether the company is still trading and if insurers can be found.

Mesothelioma Fast Track court procedure

There is a Fast Track court procedure for mesothelioma claims. Once a claim has begun the court asks the defendant to show them that it has a credible defence. If there is no credible defence, judgment will be given and you will be awarded £50,000 as an interim payment. This usually happens within 2-4 months of commencing court proceedings.

Older couple by the sea

What Government benefits are available?

We can investigate your eligibility and apply for important benefits available to people who have been exposed to asbestos, such as:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, which helps people who are ill or disabled from an accident or disease caused by work.
  • Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 could help some people if their ex employer no longer exists.
  • Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment covers a person who was exposed to asbestos in the UK, where no payment has been made for a civil claim under the 1979 Act.
  • Disability Living Allowance or Person Independence Payments are the to assist those with long term ill health.
  • Attendance Allowance helps pay for personal care for those aged 65 or over.
  • Carer’s Allowance for family or friends looking after you.

War Pensions Scheme is for people exposed to asbestos during military service.

Can I claim if the employer has gone out of business?

Yes. If your former company has gone out of business or the insurer cannot be found you may still be able to make a claim.

Are there time limits for making a claim?

Generally the time limit for bringing court proceedings is within 3 years from when the asbestos related condition was first diagnosed. Claims outside of this time limit may still be allowed to proceed under the discretion of the courts if there is a good reason for the delay.

I have been told I have mesothelioma. What should I do next?

We suggest you contact us straight away. We can answer all your questions, give you advice and arrange for immediate legal representation. It is very important to work with a solicitor experienced in mesothelioma cases. A specialist solicitor will shoulder the burden and let you and your family focus on your time together.