Here at Asbestos Justice we pride ourselves on being able to pursue compensation claims to help as many people affected by asbestos-related conditions as we can. Unfortunately, there are times when civil claims for asbestos compensation cannot be pursued:
The person has not been diagnosed with a compensatable condition
We often find that someone will be told by their doctor that they have ‘asbestos on the lung’. This could mean that they are suffering with an asbestos-related condition, or it could mean they simply have evidence that they were exposed to asbestos but do not suffer with a compensatable condition.
Currently, the conditions you are able to claim asbestos compensation for in England and Wales are:
- Diffuse or widespread pleural thickening
- Asbestos-related lung cancer
- Asbestos-related pleural effusions (fluid build up in the lungs)
- Pleural plaques with a restrictive defect on lung function (In Scotland, pleural plaques can be claimed for regardless of whether they cause any symptoms but in England and Wales they must be shown to cause a restriction on lung function.)
On numerous occasions we have been contacted by someone who has been told by their doctor they have been diagnosed with asbestosis but upon further investigations, they just have evidence of asbestos exposure and do not suffer with any symptoms.
Some doctors seem to use “asbestosis” as a catch all term for anything to do with asbestos. This is not only unhelpful for the purposes of assessing a potential asbestos claim but can cause undue worry for patients.
If you have been told that you may have an asbestos-related condition or if you are unsure of your diagnosis, contact us and speak to one of our specialist asbestos solicitors today on 0800 038 6767. Whilst they are not medically trained, they can obtain and review your medical records and advise whether you can claim compensation for an asbestos-related condition on a no win, no fee basis.
The claim is out of time
A claimant has three years from the date they develop significant symptoms, which they should have attributed to their asbestos exposure, in which to issue Court proceedings. If Court proceedings are not issued within the three years, an asbestos claim is deemed to be statute barred and in most circumstances this means, it cannot be pursued. The Court can exercise its discretion in extending this time period but this is not guaranteed. For example, if someone contacts us and advises that they were diagnosed with pleural thickening four years ago, we would not be able to take their asbestos claim on.
In fatal asbestos claims, the deceased’s family have 3 years from the date of death to pursue a claim and the same points on extending this time period with the court apply. We are finding that the Courts are extending the time period less and less in asbestos claims.
If you think you may have an asbestos-related condition and are worried you might be out of time for bringing a claim, call and speak to our specialist team today on 0800 038 6767. They will be able to advise you on when the clock started to run on your claim and whether you are still in time to bring a claim.
Not enough exposure to asbestos / no known exposure to asbestos
Once it has been established that someone has been diagnosed with a compensatable asbestos condition and their asbestos claim is considered to be within the time limits, we have to establish where and how the person was exposed to asbestos. In some cases, people are not initially sure where they have been exposed but going through questions with our specialist asbestos solicitors can help to jog their memory to identify past asbestos exposure in support of an asbestos claim.
Unfortunately, this does not work for everyone and some people simply cannot say where they were exposed to asbestos. Without this information it is impossible to pursue a civil compensation claim.
Some conditions, such as asbestosis, are caused by heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos. Therefore, if someone has been told that they suffer from asbestosis, we would be looking for them to have been working with asbestos on a regular basis, suffering extensive exposure to airborne asbestos dust. For example, if someone with asbestosis is only able to identify, say a two week period where they were cutting up asbestos sheets for an hour a day, we would not be able to pursue an asbestosis claim due to lack of evidence of substantial exposure.
The date of asbestos exposure is also important. Regulations and Acts of Parliament were brought in which changed an employer’s responsibility to its workers over time and 1965 is a crucial date. Prior to this date, in most circumstances, to successfully pursue any asbestos claim there must be a significant history of asbestos exposure.
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition but can’t pinpoint where you were exposed to asbestos, call our expert solicitors today on 0800 038 6767. They will talk you through potential ways you could have been exposed to asbestos and will try to help you identify any employers who put you at risk. All our advice is free of charge and you are under no obligation to make a claim.
No insurance can be traced
After identifying where someone has been exposed to asbestos, we have to find the company or their insurers to be able to pursue the asbestos claim. Asbestos conditions have a latency period of between 10 and 50 years on average, after the exposure to asbestos. This can cause problems when trying to trace employers as many are now out of business. In these cases, we have to try and locate insurance coverage to be able to pursue a no win no fee asbestos claim.
If a person was working directly with asbestos, we have to trace employers’ liability insurance covering the time that they worked for the company. There are a number of searches we can carry out and the majority of the time we are able to find insurance which allows us to pursue successful asbestos claims.
If a person has suffered so called secondary exposure to asbestos, for example, a wife who washed her husband’s contaminated work clothes, we often have to find public liability insurance for the time that the tumour is thought to have first developed. This is usually around 10 years prior to diagnosis. Tracing insurance in such asbestos claims can be much more difficult, because if a company went out of business shortly after the husband worked for them, they will not have any insurance 10 to 50 years later when the wife’s symptoms appear. Whilst this is grossly unfair, unfortunately there is nothing we can do to change this situation apart from argue that it is the insurers who were on risk at the time of exposure that should meet any asbestos claim.
We have an extensive database of employers and insurers and regularly conduct a number of searches to locate insurers. We have taken on asbestos claims in the past where someone has had their claim rejected by another solicitor as they were unable to trace insurance, only for us to carry out our searches and witness investigations, revealing insurance cover, which allowed the claim to proceed.
If you would like us to look into your potential claim, get in touch, we will carry out these searches at no cost to you. Call our team today on 0800 038 6767 and see if they can help you in your asbestos claim.
They have previously made a claim for compensation
Sometimes we are contacted by someone who made an asbestos claim years ago but feels they were not fully compensated or their condition has worsened. This does not automatically mean that they would not be able to make a further claim for additional asbestos compensation.
If their initial asbestos claim was settled on a ‘full and final’ basis, they would usually be able to claim further compensation as this shuts the door on any future, potential claim. However, if their claim was settled on a ‘provisional’ basis and they were suffering with a further asbestos condition or their condition had deteriorated significantly, we would be able to look into a further claim for additional compensation.
Our specialist asbestos solicitors can review the file from your previous claim and advise you on whether any further compensation can be paid to you.
In cases where a claim was settled on a full and final basis and no return claim can be made, there may be a claim against the solicitor who represented the claimant. If they did not properly advise the client fully on their available settlement options at the time, there may be a negligence claim to answer. Our expert solicitors can review your previous claim and advise you on this.
If you cannot claim we can still help
Even in cases where no civil compensation claim can be pursued, we can still help. There are a number of government schemes for benefits and lump sum payments. We regularly help people with applications for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), payments under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (PWCA), 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme and the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). Such fall backs are to be welcomed and hopefully ensure that sufferers and families receive at least some compensation following the devastating affects asbestos-related conditions can cause.
Even if you don’t think you can claim compensation, get in touch with us. It’s best to check and be sure than always be wondering, ‘what if’.
Asbestos claims are not just about money, although this can help with additional expenses such as travel to hospital appointments, private treatment costs, increased heating bills and any aids and equipment that need to be bought, for example.
Bringing a claim against a former employer, even one that is no longer trading, holds them to account for their negligence. The companies knew or should have known that asbestos was dangerous and failed to protect their employees from the deadly material and this is why claims can be brought.
If you would like to discuss a potential compensation claim with our expert team, you can call on our freephone telephone number 0800 038 6767. You can also use the claims calculator on the top right of this page, complete the form to find out how much your claim could be worth and one of our specialists will call you to discuss your potential claim. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.