Exposure to asbestos fibres and asbestos dust was first recognised as an occupational health hazard sometime in the early 1900s. Since then numerous asbestos claims have been filed against employers and asbestos manufacturing companies for failing to put appropriate precautionary measures in place despite knowing about the link between asbestos exposure and fatal diseases such as mesothelioma. More information on mesothelioma claims here.
Besides mesothelioma there are also several other serious diseases that are caused due to exposure to asbestos. These include lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural plaques. Each of these conditions varies considerably in terms of symptoms and severity as well as prognosis. Regardless of which asbestos-related condition a person may have been diagnosed with, it may be possible to file a claim for compensation if it can be proven that the condition was caused by exposure to asbestos fibres or dust.
Unique Features Of Asbestos Claims
Because the risk arises not just from working in an asbestos-related industry but also from exposure to asbestos fibres and asbestos dust, anybody exposed to these components may be eligible to file an asbestos compensation claim. This includes:
- All workers exposed to asbestos at work.
- Family members and others living with any person working in an asbestos contaminated workplace. The risk for other inhabitants of the home arises from exposure to asbestos dust that may have settled on the worker’s clothing, skin or hair.
- Anyone who lives in close proximity to a factory or any workplace where Asbestos is used regularly.
- You can claim even if the company has gone out of business. If the employer or manufacturing company is no longer operating, an asbestos compensation claim may still be filed against the insurance company that covered the employer at the time of the exposure.
- You can and should file a claim for compensation even if your related injuries are minor as this could help you obtain higher compensation at a later date if more serious injuries develop as is common in most asbestos related diseases. The latency period between exposure and onset of symptoms is an average of about 35 – 50 years or even more, which means there are unfortunately high chances of the symptoms becoming more severe with time.
- For employees who worked in multiple asbestos-related workplaces at the same time, there are certain provisions in place that enable them to seek compensation for their diseases.
Legal Aspects Governing Asbestos Claims
According the law, a compensation claim for asbestos related illnesses must be filed within 3 years from the date that you first became aware of the diagnosis.
If you are claiming compensation on behalf of a deceased family member, the claim must be filed within 3 years of the date of death or within 3 years from the date of awareness if the asbestos link was only discovered after the death. For example, the asbestos link may have only been discovered as a result of a coroner’s inquest or a post mortem examination.
There are 4 main obstacles you will need to overcome in order to file a successful asbestos claim:
- You will need to obtain a medical report stating that you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease. This report cannot be obtained from any medical professional. For it to stand in court, it has to be furnished by a reputed respiratory disease expert.
- You have to establish that the exposure to asbestos occurred at a specific workplace or due to proximity to a particular asbestos-related industry.
- You will need to show that your employer or the company was aware of the risks and could have foreseen that there was a high probability that you could develop symptoms of asbestos-related disease. Since all workplaces in the UK were made aware of the risks of asbestos exposure from the time of discovery in the early 1990s, this should not be too difficult to prove.
- You will have to prove that your company was negligent with regards to informing you about the dangers, putting proper precautionary measures in place or providing you with proper protective gear. It is a known fact that many employers did nothing to inform or protect their employees or local residents, actively putting them at risk for asbestos-related diseases.
Filing a compensation case for asbestos related diseases is one of the more complex and challenging areas of personal injury law. The best way to ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you and your family are entitled to is to seek legal advice from a personal injury firm that has the necessary specialist expertise in dealing with asbestos claims.