Asbestos is a group of six natural minerals made of heat-resistant fibres. For many years, asbestos was used in the production of a vast array of consumer products and for structural purposes within commercial and residential properties — before the health risks of asbestos exposure were discovered. While the right steps were taken to remove asbestos from properties, it didn’t help those who had already worked and lived in close proximity to it. For some people, their health has suffered due to this exposure.
Naturally, this raises the issue of lawsuits and compensation, as many people still suffer from health conditions due to their exposure to asbestos in the workplace. But, people often wonder whether claiming for compensation is worth doing, as there is general uncertainty around what the average payout for asbestos claims is in the UK.
In this post, our team of expert asbestos solicitors will provide all the clarity you need on asbestos industry regulations, diving deep into asbestos claims, offering advice and insights, and helping you understand the process of obtaining a compensation payout. Gain a general idea of how much these types of claims are worth and learn how to get started, with our support.
What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?
Asbestos fibres were originally an appealing resource for use in many consumer products and in the construction of industrial, commercial and residential properties – but in the early 1990s, a closer look at asbestos revealed that it posed serious health risks to those exposed. Since asbestos was being used in everything from insulation to flooring and roofing (still being discovered today in properties built before the 2000s) there’s no doubt that there has been plenty of opportunity for people to come into contact with it and suffer the consequences. But, what are these consequences?
Asbestos dust exposure has been found to be the primary cause of mesothelioma, but also has been known to cause lung cancer and other forms of cancer. Of course, this raises the issue of compensation. People continue to suffer from conditions to this day, and many people have lost loved ones as a direct result of asbestos exposure — for which they are entitled to claim financial recompense under laws relating to asbestos compensation claims payouts.
Diseases and illnesses caused by asbestos exposure
There are several diseases and conditions caused by negligent exposure to asbestos fibres which could make you eligible to make an asbestos compensation claim.
Asbestos exposure is responsible for nearly all mesothelioma cases, an aggressive form of cancer that grows in the lining surrounding our organs. The NHS has revealed that almost 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma on a yearly basis. Mesothelioma can significantly shorten a claimant’s estimated life expectancy.
Lung scarring is one of the asbestos related conditions for which financial support may be awarded. It can cause many issues and affect long-term breathing ability and quality of life. Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, short breath, weakness, fatigue and swelling are also common.
Another potential result of asbestos exposure is asbestos related lung cancer, one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer. Around 47,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in various stages every year. Of course, not all of these cases result from asbestos exposure, but many are, and those suffering may well be entitled to compensation. Symptoms of lung cancer include coughing up blood, prolonged and painful coughing, weight loss, breathlessness and fatigue.
The pleural membrane covers your lungs and the inside of your rib cage. For a healthy person, the pleural membrane should be a similar thickness to that of a balloon. However, scarring to the pleural membrane — due to asbestos exposure — can cause it to thicken and lead to respiratory issues such as shortness of breath.
Am I eligible for an asbestos claim?
If you have been diagnosed with a disease or illness as a result of asbestos exposure, you may well be entitled to claim compensation. Much like any other personal injury claim, it’s essential for you to have been diagnosed within the last three years to successfully make a claim. However, it can often be difficult for people to know precisely when they were first exposed to asbestos. If this is the case for you, don’t worry – our experts here at OH Parsons will review your case and try to establish a timeline for you.
To claim, you will have to prove that you are a victim of the following circumstances and that your health has suffered as a result:
- You have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos in the workplace, at home or in another environment where you have spent prolonged periods.
- The property owner/your employer was negligent in their approach to safety. An example of negligence could be the owner/employer knowing about the asbestos and failing to implement the correct safety precautions (removing it) or not performing necessary safety checks to ensure there is no asbestos on site.
- Your illness and ongoing health issues were initially caused or intensified by exposure to asbestos.
Compensation for asbestos-related disease
Like any other personal injury claim, every case is unique and therefore will have a different outcome. This means it’s difficult to establish an exact amount for compensation or a ‘standard’ amount without thoroughly reviewing a case, as every claimant has varied illnesses, work environments and a unique view of how asbestos exposure has impacted their life.
However, compensation payouts are generally determined by the basis and extent of a claimant’s injuries and how they impact their life now and in the future. In most cases, asbestos claims are divided into two distinct categories of damages, which are:
- General damages: General damages pertains to the pain and suffering asbestos-related diseases cause now and will lead to in the future.
- Special damages: This area of damages looks at the costs and financial losses caused by your condition. Examples could include loss of earnings, costs for medical care, treatments, travel, and modifications to your home due to the nature of your condition.
As we said, putting an exact figure on your expected compensation will prove difficult until your representative has all the information required to investigate and build a case. However, in the next section, we’ll take a look at the asbestos claims average payout in the UK.
Asbestos claims average payout UK
Below, we’ve listed a few ballpark compensation figures based on data from judicial guidelines that personal injury solicitors use to establish settlement amounts.
While these figures do offer some insight into how much compensation people have received for specific asbestos-related diseases, it’s important to understand that they are ballpark figures and are calculated on a case-by-case basis.
- Mesothelioma: £16,000 – £115,000
- Lung cancer: £70,000 – £100,000
- Severe asbestos exposure and pleural thickening: £30,000 – £100,000
- Less severe asbestos exposure and pleural thickening: £15,000 – £35,000
Again, it’s important for us to reiterate that these figures are very loose and do not apply to the specific nature of your case or anyone else’s. These figures should simply be used as a guideline to better understand the amount of money a person can receive for the medical conditions mentioned above. A compensation payment can go a long way to help cover the expense of treatment and other costs associated with asbestos-related medical issues.
How to start an asbestos claim
An asbestos claim requires lots of investigation, diligence and understanding of the various processes required to make a successful claim. No person, regardless of the severity of their condition, should have to deal with making a claim on their own. Plus, it’s always a good idea to put such responsibilities in the hands of experts who possess valuable experience, skills and resources to get you the compensation you deserve.
At OH Parsons, we have a fantastic team of personal injury solicitors who have experience in many areas of personal injury claims, including asbestos-related injury or disease. We operate with a ‘No Win No Fee’ principle, relieving you of the financial responsibilities usually required for claim proceedings. Regardless of the case’s outcome, you will not have to pay us any upfront fees.
Contact our team today for a free consultation at 020 7379 7277.