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The Claims Process Explained

The claims process can seem daunting for anyone recently diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. Poole Alcock Solicitors can help you through every step.

The Claims Process Explained

Once you have confirmed that you want us to act for you on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, we can start your claim. The claims process will usually be as follows:

1. We normally request a lot of information from various different organisations first, to collect all the evidence required. This can include:-

  • Medical records
  • HMRC employment schedule which lists all of your previous employers dating back to 1961, which means that you don’t have to remember every single employment
  • DWP records e.g. State pension, Attendance Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, PWCA lump sum benefit
  • Occupational Health and Personnel file from your employer (if available)
  • Records relating to your income/pension

2. At the same time, we will prepare a witness statement for you, detailing everything you can remember about your exposure to asbestos along with details about your symptoms and diagnosis. This statement will be your opportunity to evidence how you believe you were exposed to asbestos. At Poole Alcock, we understand that this can be quite a daunting task. We will therefore we will meet with you to help. In light of our experience with working on claims of this nature, our specialist Solicitors will be able to ask relevant questions to help jog your memory. You may not think that you can remember much, however we can often capture a lot of useful information once we get chatting.

3. We will research the potential Defendants and identify their Employer Liability Insurers. Even if the company has ceased trading, it isn’t a problem. We have many different research tools available to us to locate historic company EL insurers.

4. We will send out a Letter of Claim to the Defendant. This letter will launch the claim and prompt the Defendant to investigate whether they negligently exposed you to asbestos. Usually the Defendant has 21 days to acknowledge receipt of this letter. They will have 3 months from that date to provide their view on whether or not they believe they have acted negligently. With Mesothelioma claims, in light of the prognosis, we do not have to keep to these timescales.

5. We will also instruct an independent Consultant Chest Physician to prepare a medical report. The expert will review all of your records and confirm your diagnosis within the report. He or she will also deal with some very sensitive issues such as prognosis, life expectancy, treatment options and the risk of developing any other asbestos related condition.

6. Once we have medical evidence and an identified Defendant to claim against, if they have not admitted negligently exposing you to asbestos, we can consider issuing your claim at Court to let a Judge decide. Before we do this, we normally obtain a Barrister’s opinion on the merits of your claim. We will also ask the Barrister to prepare the formal documentation needed for issuing at Court.

7. With mesothelioma claims, the fast track procedure mentioned above allows us to issue a claim at Court much sooner. We do not necessarily need to wait for the Defendant to provide us with their view on whether or not they have negligently exposed you to asbestos. As soon as we have your witness statement and medical evidence we can issue your claim at Court if appropriate. The Court will then set a ‘Show Cause’ Hearing where the Defendant is required to show with evidence that they are able to potentially defend the claim. If not, the Court will enter Judgment in your favour. This means that your claim will be successful subject to confirming with medical evidence that your diagnosis has been caused by the Defendant’s exposure (if not already). The Court will Order the Defendant to pay you £50,000.00 by way of interim payment. This will normally be within 14 days of the Show Cause Hearing. The Court will then set Directions for the remainder of the claim. These Directions are a timetable for certain administrative tasks to be completed by; so that the Court can assess the total value of your Claim at a final Hearing if needs be. Normally speaking, most cases settle before this final Hearing because the Parties can negotiate a final settlement outside of Court.

8. For any case other than mesothelioma, once the claim is issued at Court, the Court will normally set the Directions (Timetable) to Trial in the same way. The only real difference is that there is no Show Cause Hearing.

Whilst this gives you an overview of the average claim, some claims are more complex.  Further evidence may be needed from Radiologists, Engineers, and Nurses to discuss care options and fibre count analysis amongst other things.

Equally however, some claims can be settled without the need for issuing Court proceedings.

In light of the complicated nature of this type of claim and the amount of evidence needed, most claims can take anywhere between 18 months – 2 years to settle. Some can even take 3 years before settlement is reached.

However it should be noted that most claims for asbestos related claims are high value. Typically they range anywhere from £15,000.00 to £250,000.00.

We are always happy to discuss your case either in person or over the telephone. Our expert asbestos claims solicitors are specialists in these type of claims. We will ensure that you get penny of compensation that you deserve. Call us today on  0800 389 7093 to arrange a FREE initial consultation. Alternatively fill out our enquiry form and we will arrange to call you back.


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