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Asbestos Related Illness and Covid-19

What do I do if I receive a diagnosis of an asbestos related illness...

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Asbestos Related Illness and Covid-19

16th April 2020

News : Personal Injury

What do I do if I receive a diagnosis of an asbestos related illness during Covid 19 lockdown?

Receiving a diagnosis of an asbestos related condition is a concerning time for anyone, however during the current Covid 19 lockdown there is no doubt whatsoever that receiving a respiratory based diagnosis will bring more issues with it.

Whilst the first few weeks of lockdown were a steep adjustment curve for everyone learning to adapt to the lockdown restrictions, news headlines are now reporting how non Covid 19 related illnesses may go undiagnosed because individuals are doing their best to reduce the pressure upon the NHS and perhaps not visiting their GP with non Covid 19 related symptoms.

Asbestos related conditions obviously impact upon an individual’s respiratory system and as such is it imperative that individuals receive medical attention if they have any concerns.

Whilst the current advice from Government is to stay at home and minimise the pressure upon the NHS, most GP Surgeries are still open and GP’s are available for appointments.  These appointments may still be face to face within the Surgery, however they may now take place via telephone or by virtual means.  This will very much depend upon your own GP Surgery.

Your GP will be able to assess your symptoms and provide you with the best advice on what to do next during the current Covid 19 lockdown.

If you do receive a diagnosis of an asbestos related condition during lockdown, you will probably receive advice on making a claim for benefits via the DWP and also advice on making a potential civil claim against the insurers for your previous employer who exposed you to asbestos.

Feeling isolated during Covid-19 lockdown

There is no doubt that during the current Covid 19 lockdown you may feel more isolated than usual and as a result may not think that you are able to investigate these avenues for claims as you would normally do so.

At Poole Alcock LLP, we are operating as usual despite the lockdown situation and we would be more than happy to chat through your options with you on the phone.   We have close links to Charities who can offer free assistance in relation to your potential benefits claim.

If you receive a diagnosis of an asbestos related condition, there are two types of benefit that you may become eligible for, namely Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit which is a weekly payment and a separate lump sum payment under the Workers Compensation Act 1979.

If you are being cared for by a relative in your household, you may also be eligible for Constant Attendance Allowance.

There are application forms to fill in for each type of benefit, however we can guide you through the process and if successful, payment is usually made within a number of weeks.

With regards a separate civil claim, Poole Alcock LLP can assist you further.  This claim would be directed against the insurers for your employer(s) who exposed you to asbestos.  The claim is normally lengthier in light of the fact that we have to research and identify the applicable insurance company on cover for your previous employer and obtain an admission that they breached their duty of care towards you, in exposing you to asbestos during the course of your employment.

Once an admission of breach of duty has been received, we will look to negotiate an overall settlement of compensation for you and will require a medical report from an independent Consultant. This report will confirm your diagnosis and the impact it is having upon you. It will enable us to place a value on your claim.

It is not unusual to obtain a report from a Consultant Chest Physician after he or she has reviewed your medical records only and therefore you will not be asked to visit anybody in order to obtain this report.

Your health is priority and as such we have adapted our procedures to ensure that the legal claims process will not affect your safety during the current Covid 19 lockdown.

Modern technology provides support

At Poole Alcock LLP we have a fantastic IT system which has enabled the whole Firm to move to home working easily and work with a paperless system.

Therefore, whilst the procedures have changed slightly, in that we are now corresponding with our clients via telephone and email only, there is no disruption to the progression of claims.

We also have facilities for video conferencing should you require a virtual face to face meeting.

We have the ability to sign all documentation by electronic signature and have used this facility with our clients successfully.   A number of our clients admit to not being very “tech savvy” however when emailing clients with a document for their e-signature, the feedback we have received is that this is very straight forward to use and simply requires you as the client to click a link within the email and follow a step by step process.

This is certainly something that most people can do themselves, however we are of course on hand to help by telephone should assistance be required.

At Poole Alcock LLP, we embark on this journey together and whilst the process has changed slightly during lockdown, in that we are relying more heavily upon technology, this is not something to be put off by and we are more than happy to help you wherever required.

‘No win no fee’

We act for our clients on a “No Win No Fee” basis and can discuss this further with you if you are interested in making a claim.

The purpose of this article is to hopefully reassure individuals that whilst there is a worldwide state of uncertainty during the Covid 19 lockdown, receiving an asbestos related diagnosis will be extremely worrying, there are options available for you which can still be investigated during lockdown.

Should you require any further assistance or simply wish to discuss this further with somebody please feel free to contact Mrs Anna Burns, Partner and Solicitor specialising in asbestos related claims on 0800 389 7093 or alternatively email Anna at anna.burns@poolealcock.co.uk

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