The dangers of exposure to asbestos are well known
Unfortunately, asbestos remains the biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with symptoms often taking years to develop. This can make seeking compensation difficult and distressing for the sufferer and their family.
You can claim compensation if you were exposed to asbestos fibres or dust while in the workplace and have gone on to develop one or more of the asbestos-related diseases.
Browell Smith & Co personal injury solicitors have extensive experience in handling complex asbestos cases after working for many years on behalf of those injured by asbestos-related diseases. With our breadth of experience and specialist medical experts, we deliver exceptional service levels to our clients.
Browell Smith & Co has recovered compensation for many victims of asbestos-related injury, including clients now no longer living in the UK. Our personal injury experts have also assisted UK residents who have been exposed to asbestos abroad, particularly in the USA and Europe.
The effects of an asbestos-related injury are far reaching. We not only seek to secure compensation for our client, but to ensure that our clients are provided with all necessary aids and adaptations for their lifetime.
Contact our expert team today to arrange a free initial consultation at any of our offices, in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively at your home, to discuss your particular requirements.
Asbestos Exposure Claims
Asbestos exposure occurs when small asbestos fibres are breathed in by the sufferer. The asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs causing scarring and inflammation which can lead to a number of asbestos-related conditions, including mesothelioma.
For many years, asbestos products were used throughout many industries and in building materials. Asbestos products were most commonly used in shipbuilding, construction, mining and the air, gas and power generation industries.
Conditions commonly associated with asbestos exposure are mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural effusions, pleural thickening and pleural plaques.
Although-asbestos related products are now banned, millions of people were exposed at work, particularly from the 1930s to the 1970s, as a result of use in heavy industry. Many employers knew about the danger of asbestos but did not adequately protect their employees, or family members, from being the risks caused by being exposed to asbestos dust or fibres.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure
Compensation can also be claimed for an asbestos related disease if a person was exposed to asbestos fibre dust whilst not at work or in a workplace. For example: exposure to fibres in the work clothes of a family member, or if you lived near a factory where asbestos was regularly used.
From Whom Can I Claim Compensation?
Primarily the employer. But if the employer has gone out of business, or is no longer trading, then you can still claim compensation through the insurance company who was providing insurance at the time of the exposure.
How can you tell if you have an asbestos-related condition?
The symptoms of asbestos-related conditions can often take many years to develop – in some cases many decades before symptoms start to present. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, difficulty breathing and breathlessness, persistent cough and tiredness.
You are strongly urged to seek medical attention as quickly as possible if you believe you are suffering from an asbestos related condition as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Time limits for asbestos claims
As with all claims for personal injury compensation, there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the court.
In accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident.
For asbestos-related conditions, court proceedings must be commenced within three years of the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you might be suffering from an asbestos-related condition caused by a third party, for example your employer or the owner of the premises where you were working if you were a contractor.
If court proceedings have not begun within three years from the relevant date, then the negligent party may escape paying compensation on the basis that your asbestos claim is out of time. So we would urge you to seek professional advice as soon as possible.
Time limits for asbestos-related conditions are complex and differ from case to case, particularly when bereaved relatives seek compensation on behalf of a former family member.
A firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence is not always necessary: in such circumstances you should seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.
A list of useful external charitable contacts can be made available on request. You may also wish to consult:
The National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre.
Freephone: 0800 169 2409
DWP – Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979
Freephone: 0800 279 2322
Benefit Enquiry Line
A confidential telephone service for people with disabilities, their Representatives and Carers.
Freephone: 0800 88 22 00
The Department of Work and Pensions
www.dwp.gov.uk, for information on benefits
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