What to do when you can't claim asbestos compensation


Here at Asbestos Justice we pride ourselves on being able to pursue asbestos 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:-

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 have 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 to people.

If you think you may have an asbestos condition, contact us to speak to our specialist asbestos solicitors. They will make enquiries with your doctor to investigate whether you are suffering with a compensatable asbestos condition and look to advise you on making an asbestos claim on a “non win no fee” basis.

The claim is out of time

A claimant has three years from the date they develop significant symptoms and which they should have attributed to their asbestos exposure in which to issue Court proceedings. If Court proceedings are not issued within 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. If someone contacts us and advises that they were diagnosed with pleural thickening four years ago, we would not be able to take their claim on for example.

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 apply, although we are finding that the courts are extending the time period less and less in asbestos claims.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos condition do not delay in contacting our specialist asbestos solicitors, they will be able to advise you whether you are in time for bringing an asbestos compensation 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 the memory and 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 asbestos 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.

Our specialist asbestos solicitors can talk you through your employment history and help you identify employers who put you at risk.

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 located 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 for 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 to find as 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. Contact us today to see if we can find your former employers and/or their insurers to assist 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 not be able to claim further asbestos 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 asbestos compensation.

Our specialist asbestos solicitors can review the file from your previous asbestos claim and advise you on whether any further asbestos compensation can be paid to you.

Even in cases where no civil asbestos compensation claim can be pursued, we can help further. 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 received at least some asbestos compensation following the devastating affects asbestos related conditions can cause.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim, then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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