At Asbestos Justice, we have represented many people who have had the misfortune of developing asbestos related conditions which were diagnosed whilst they resided in Spain, other EU countries and further afield.
Due to asbestos related diseases long latency periods, sufferers find that they do not develop symptoms until some 10 to 50 years following cessation of their exposure to asbestos in the workplace. This often means that sufferers develop problems during the early part of their well earned retirement if they were exposed in the 1960’s through to the 1980’s.
British clients diagnosed abroad
Many of our clients have emigrated to Spain to enjoy the warmer climate during their retirement, only to be diagnosed with asbestos related conditions such as pleural thickening, asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer and mesothelioma whilst living in Spain.
Claims for asbestos disease compensation in the UK can still be brought by sufferers who reside in Spain providing they suffered exposure to harmful amounts of asbestos dust during the course of their employment either on British land or when working for UK based companies abroad.
We have also assisted many clients abroad in successfully claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit following their diagnosis of asbestos related disease.
Medical support after diagnosis in Spain
Asbestos Justice has found that our clients who reside in Spain are given their own medical records to keep to take along to their regular follow up appointments. They are often able to arrange for updated x-rays, scans and lung function tests in a very short time-frame and certainly much sooner than is the case in the UK. This retention of records and radiological images assists us greatly when pursuing the legal claim as it is often the case that the completed bundle of information can be forwarded to us for a medical expert to review.
In many cases it will not be necessary for clients based abroad to attend medical examinations in the UK for the purposes of pursuing their asbestos claim due to their medical information being comprehensive and complete.
Even though the notes will be written in Spanish, we find that the medical experts we choose to instruct are able to understand them clearly without the need for them to be translated, saving on further time.
Report finds “gross under-recognition” of Asbestos Dangers
Whilst campaigners have gained significant progress in publicising the dangers of asbestos exposure in the UK, a team of health researchers at the Ministry of Health in Madrid and the Department of History of Science at the University of Granada, Spain have identified evidence of “gross under-recognition” of the problems posed by asbestos related mesothelioma in the EU member state.
According to the study, even though asbestos related mesothelioma was added to the Spanish list of occupational diseases in 1978, alarmingly no full accounts of compensated cases have been retained since its inclusion.
The purpose of the report was to assess the number of incurable asbestos related cancers that were thought to have been caused by the sufferers’ occupations. The study concentrated on the number of mesothelioma cases diagnosed with reference to economic activity and specific occupations with a view to comparing the mortality rates of mesothelioma to rates published in other EU member states.
The researchers uncovered that between 1978 and 2011, only 165 asbestos related occupational cancers were identified in Spain. This equated to an average of 0.08 cases per 100,000 employees in the country.
In view of the fact that the case rate of mesothelioma was higher in every other EU country reviewed, and even as high as 7.32 per 100,000 employees in Norway, the report clearly showed that the incidences of mesothelioma have been grossly underestimated in Spain.
Worryingly, the under recognition rates were estimated at 93.6% for men and 99.7% for women for pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. One of the researchers by the name of Dr Montserrat Garcia Gomez reached this conclusion and has amplified the need for more investigative work to be undertaken in order to assess the true impact of asbestos exposure on the Spanish people’s health.
Whilst incidences of diagnosed cases of mesothelioma continue to fall in North America, occurrences of the deadly condition continue to increase in various EU states. Shockingly, the UK and Australia currently have the world’s highest percentage of mesothelioma rates in the world.