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Asbestos Claims

We are expert Solicitors in the field of asbestos compensation, helping individuals affected by asbestos, and their families, to obtain the compensation they are entitled to.

Asbestos Disease Experts

Poole Alcock is a leading law firm whose dedicated asbestos-related disease team has over 25 years of experience in helping victims and their families throughout England and Wales, and we work closely with charities that support victims of asbestos.

An asbestos condition can lie dormant for many years after inhalation of asbestos fibres therefore a diagnosis can come as a complete shock and leave you confused about your options.

At Poole Alcock, we have successfully helped many people affected by asbestos, and their families, to obtain the compensation they are entitled to. Our team understands the devastating impact a diagnosis of asbestos disease can have, not only on you, but also your family, and we will do everything we can to make the claim process as simple and stress-free as possible.

Contact us to start your asbestos claim.

Asbestos Claims Process

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

  1. Information Gathering
    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. Witness Statement
    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. At Poole Alcock, we understand that this can be quite a daunting task. 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. Defendant Research
    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. Letter of Claim
    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. Medical Report
    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. Issuing your claim
    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. Mesothelioma fast-track claims
    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 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. The Court will Order the defendant to pay you £50,000.00 by way of interim payment. This will normally be within 14 days.The Court will then set Directions for the remainder of the claim. Normally speaking, most cases settle before this final hearing because the parties can negotiate a final settlement outside of court.
  8. Court directions
    For any case other than mesothelioma, once the claim is issued, the court will normally set the directions 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 specialists 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.

Get in touch with our team for a free, stress-free consultation for your claim.

How do we work for you?

You provide instructions for Poole Alcock to act on your behalf

We will launch the claim at the Defendant and use our experience when legal arguments arise to overcome them

We will fight for the best possible outcome for you

Asbestos Disease and Conditions

Conditions caused and associated with asbestos exposure can include:

Asbestosis 

Asbestosis is fibrosis within the lung caused by exposure to asbestos. Pulmonary (meaning relating to the lungs) fibrosis and interstitial fibrosis are the same conditions but may have other causes than exposure to asbestos.

Symptoms and diagnosis for Asbestosis usually occur more than 20 years after exposure. The condition is directly related to the length and extent of exposure to asbestos. Mild exposure over a short period is unlikely to cause fibrosis of the lungs.

Symptoms of Asbestosis

In the very early stages there may be little or no symptoms. However, as the condition progresses there will be increasing breathlessness and coughing. Mobility becomes reduced and quality of life may be affected. Sufferers may also develop a rounded deformity to the fingertips, known as clubbing.

Lung Cancer

The risk of contracting lung cancer is increased if a person also smoked or smokes. A study in the USA showed that a person’s chances of developing lung cancer were increased 10 times by smoking, only five times by exposure to asbestos, but by 50 times by smoking and being exposed to asbestos.

The risk of contracting asbestos-related lung cancer is related to the level of exposure to asbestos. Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Weight loss

Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma or mesothelioma cancer is a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. In the UK about 2,500 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and although it is considered rare it is becoming more common with the number of new cases in the UK predicted not to peak for several years. 

Mesothelioma is a tumour in the pleura (lining of the lungs) or the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity). Whether the tumour is associated with the lungs or the abdomen is usually related to inhalation or ingestion of asbestos. The average period between first exposure and diagnosis of this condition is 40 years.

Mesothelioma is usually found in people who suffered large exposures to asbestos, however, it has been known to occur in people who have suffered relatively light exposure. At present there is no evidence of a threshold dose (minimum level of exposure) below which there is no risk. Poole Alcock has helped people with apparently relatively light exposure, successfully secure compensation.

Poole Alcock has successfully represented victims of asbestos who have developed mesothelioma whilst working in a range of different jobs, trades and professions including:

  • lorry drivers loading and unloading asbestos products
  • joiners
  • plumbers
  • electricians
  • boilermakers

Those exposed to asbestos second hand, for example from the clothes of someone working with the material, can also develop mesothelioma. There are also rare cases where the cancer has developed as a result of living near large deposits of the material, such as mining areas.

Symptoms of mesothelioma 

Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma are notoriously difficult to detect or may be confused with other common ailments. Often patients do not experience symptoms until the tumours have spread. This makes diagnosing and treating the disease early, very difficult.

Typical mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • dry cough
  • pain in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • tiredness
  • weight loss
  • night sweats
  • respiratory complications

If you or anyone you know has even been exposed to asbestos and have these symptoms, it is worth getting checked by your doctor.

Pleural Plaques

Pleural plaques are scarring to the lining of the lungs and are an indicator that asbestos fibres have been inhaled in the past. 

Unfortunately since 2011, individuals can no longer claim compensation for a diagnosis of pleural plaques. The House of Lords took this decision based upon the fact that the majority of pleural plaque cases do not actually result in the individual suffering any noticeable symptoms.

However, as mentioned above, pleural plaques are an indicator of an individual’s exposure to asbestos and therefore, in some circumstances, other asbestos-related conditions may well develop in the future.

Pleural Thickening

Pleural Thickening is fibrous damage to the pleura (outer lining of the lungs), which causes the pleura to become thickened. This disease is often caused as a result of exposure to asbestos.

This condition can be caused by things other than exposure to asbestos, for instance old infections, tuberculosis or rib damage, which have healed but left their mark on the pleura.

If this condition is diagnosed, AND it is known that the person was also exposed to asbestos, it is reasonable to assume the cause was exposure to asbestos. The symptoms for pleural thickening typically include mild to severe shortness of breath, and are usually dormant for 20 years or more after the original exposures. In some cases though it can be less.

Free Consultation about your Asbestos Claim

If you would like a free consultation to discuss your asbestos claim, please complete the contact form below.

We’re happy to meet with you at home or in our offices – whatever is convenient for you.

If you prefer to speak on the phone, please do not hesitate to call us for free on 01270 625478.

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