Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that most commonly affects the lining around the lungs, although it can also develop in the lining around the abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos but in most cases will take decades to develop.

More than 2,600 people are diagnosed every year in the UK. Most of these are men between the ages of 60 – 80; many have worked in construction and similar industries. 

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed at a late stage, because symptoms do not develop for many years. Those recently diagnosed often find their health deteriorates quickly – this can make it feel like an overwhelming condition to deal with. It can have an impact on both your physical and psychological health, causing problems with fatigue and anxiety as well as pain and breathlessness.

Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments and therapies available to help you manage the symptoms, and to make life as comfortable as possible for you and your family.

As well as palliative care, compensation from a former employer can also provide financial help, giving both you and your loved ones peace of mind. Our solicitors are very experienced in guiding people through mesothelioma claims and can also find you support from qualified health professionals.

What constitutes negligence by an employer or business owner?

Every employer has a responsibility to ensure that the environment their employees are working in is a safe one. Building owners too have a duty to make sure premises are not harmful to those in and around them. If an employer has not upheld their duty of care to you, even if it was several decades ago, this can constitute negligence.

Working out when you were exposed to asbestos can seem daunting, as it may mean looking back through your employment history to jobs you had twenty years ago or more. Our specialist team are very experienced in handling asbestos cases and can help you determine when and where the exposure took place, and who was responsible.

Although the risks of asbestos have been known since the early 1900s, it was still widely used until the late 1970s, and wasn’t completely banned until 1999. This means many people have been exposed to asbestos despite the dangers being well documented for many years.

If an employer has cut corners with safety measures, or failed to make you aware of the presence of asbestos and the risk to you, they have acted negligently.

What are your legal rights?

You have a legal right to work within a safe environment. If you have not been protected from harmful chemicals such as asbestos in the course of your employment, this basic right has not been upheld.

Where negligence in the workplace can be proved, in most cases compensation can be secured from those responsible for the asbestos exposure – usually your former employers.

There are also state benefits available such as The Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). You may be eligible for a lump sum payment if you are receiving IIDB. 

We can help you claim these benefits as well as assisting with your compensation claim. We can also secure early interim payments for you where an employer accepts responsibility for your illness. These can make a great difference to your life and ensure it is the best that it can be.

What are the different types of mesothelioma?

The condition most commonly affects the lining of the lung – this is called pleural mesothelioma and accounts for about 75% of cases. However, mesothelioma can also develop in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), and the heart (pericardium): in this case the cancer does not usually spread to other parts of the body.

What industries are more likely to be affected?

Some industries are known to carry more risk than others, where there is more asbestos used and/or where employees are working in closer proximity to it on a day-to-day basis. High risk industries include:  

  • Construction
  • Shipping
  • Railway

Tradesmen are also frequently susceptible, working in environments where asbestos is commonly found: laggers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and power station workers.

Mesothelioma is not restricted to manual workers, however. Anyone working in the vicinity of exposed asbestos is at risk of inhaling harmful fibres and subsequently developing an illness. Less obvious occupations that may nevertheless carry a risk of asbestos exposure through a poorly managed working environment include: doctors and nurses, teachers, and office workers. 

Mesothelioma can also develop from secondary exposure. If you have come into contact with asbestos outside of the working environment, such as through washing a partner’s clothes, or living near an asbestos-heavy site, this can also result in conditions such as mesothelioma. If you have come into contact with asbestos in this way, we may still be able to help you make a claim. Regardless of how your exposure happened, we encourage you to contact us for more advice. 

Where can I get support?

We have helped thousands afflicted by mesothelioma and understand the worry and uncertainty it will cause to you and your loved ones. We can help you find support from qualified health professionals to manage your pain and allow you to cope with the symptoms. We’ll work hard to secure your family’s financial future and give you peace of mind.

We’re proud to work with a number of charities and foundations at the forefront of the fight against mesothelioma. Some of these groups include:

These organisations promote research into the disease and provide information and support for those affected. They can help you understand the condition more and manage its effect on your life. Visit our Mesothelioma Compensation Claims page to find out more about our work with these and other charities to help those affected by asbestos.

Mesothelioma can feel like an overwhelming diagnosis to deal with, especially at a time when most people would rightly expect to be enjoying their retirement. We can’t change that diagnosis, but we can guide you through the legal process to make sure you have the answers you deserve, that your life is the best quality it can be, and that your loved ones are provided for.


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