Asbestos compensation claims

Our specialist asbestos solicitors represent victims and their families from all over the UK and are highly experienced in investigating asbestos claims to track down the responsible parties.

We offer free advice and guidance while we initially investigate your claim without obligation to proceed. We can arrange home visits and can help you access, where appropriate, early interim compensation payments and benefit entitlements. All ongoing work is carried out on a no win, no fee basis.

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We understand what you’re currently going through and are here to help. If you have any questions, big or small, get in touch..

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was first mined in South Africa in 1805. There are three different types of asbestos which have varying levels of toxicity; these being blue asbestos (crocidolite) which is believed to be the most potent, brown asbestos (amosite) and white asbestos (chrysotile).

Asbestos was mainly used for its insulation properties and was often mixed with other materials. It was commonly used in steel production, ship building and the construction industry. Over the years, the UK has banned the import of asbestos, with the ban on blue and brown coming into force in 1985 and white asbestos being banned in 1999. Read more in our FAQ’s.

 

What diseases are  caused by Asbestos?

Asbestos exposure can cause a range of illnesses, including:

  • Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The condition most commonly affects the lining of the lung (pleura), but mesothelioma can develop in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), the testes and the heart (pericardium). Around 2000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year. There is currently no known cure, although there have been recent breakthroughs in treatment options and we can look to recover the cost of such treatment through a legal claim.
  • Asbestosis is a fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs themselves. There are various causes of lung fibrosis, but if you have been exposed to heavy levels of asbestos dust, then it’s possible that asbestos exposure has caused this condition. Symptoms include breathlessness and pain.
  • There are different forms of lung cancer, which result in the formation of malignant tumours within the lungs. Causes of lung cancer include heavy asbestos exposure. Even if you have smoked, we may still be able to show that asbestos exposure increased the risk of you developing lung cancer.
  • Pleural thickening is a term which refers to a thickening of the lining of the lung (pleura) caused by scar tissue. It can arise from a number of causes, which include asbestos exposure. Symptoms include breathlessness and pain.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos condition it is important that you find out as much as you can about your illness from your doctor.

 

Who is at risk from Asbestos exposure?

Exposure to asbestos may result in serious illness and even premature death, for up to 70 years after the initial exposure. Exposure to asbestos can arise from a variety of different circumstances such as:

  • Employment – many of those that suffer with asbestos related illnesses have previously been employed in a trade that used asbestos products. Most commonly these include builders, carpenters and plumbers who used products such as asbestos boards, rope, insulation and more in the course of their working lives.
  • Environment – some sufferers of an asbestos related disease are exposed to asbestos by working in a particular environment such as in factories, steelworks, on buildings site and ships where asbestos is used in and around the work environment. Less common environments which contained asbestos materials also include hospitals, schools and farms.
  • Secondary Exposure – this is when dust and fibres released from asbestos related products are transferred from one person to another. Anexample of this is when a wife washes the overalls of her husband which had been contaminated with dust through his work with or near asbestos related products.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or pleural thickening then you may have the right to make a compensation claim. Even those who have been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with lung cancer may be eligible to claim.

 

Can I claim compensation for Asbestos exposure?

If you have been diagnosed with an illness such as mesotheliomalung cancerasbestosis or pleural thickening then you should contact our specialist solicitors to find out whether you’re eligible for compensation. We will ask you some key questions about your working history and your illness so that we can make further investigations and advise you on the likelihood of your claim succeeding.

We may even be able to help you if your lung cancer has been attributed to smoking, if you have a history of working in an asbestos based environment.

Our investigation process is free of charge and we will advise you in detail about the next steps before you agree to instruct us.

If you decide to instruct us we will act on a no win, no fee basis which will be fully explained to you beforehand.

 

How much will an Asbestos compensation claim cost me?

Your claim will be dealt with under a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. If your claim is not successful it will not cost you anything. Please speak with one of our solicitors for more detail on how these agreements work.

 

Are there time limits for making an Asbestos claim?

Technically, you have three years from the date you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition in which to make a claim. There are however exceptions to this and it is worth contacting us in any event, even if you are outside this time frame. If a loved one has passed away from an asbestos-related condition, you have three years from the date of their death in which to make a claim.

 

Why choose Hugh James?

We are experts in dealing with mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease claims. The specialist Hugh James team will ensure that you and your family get the help you need.

We regularly help people who have been diagnosed with the following conditions:

Our lawyers have been successfully handling industrial disease and asbestos cases for individuals and families for over 50 years. We understand that the time following diagnosis with an asbestos-related condition is distressing, so we provide on-going support for our clients and their families and make sure the process is as straightforward as possible.

We are relentless in the pursuit of justice. Our specialist team will provide expert legal advice to ensure you receive the best care, treatment and the highest level of compensation.

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Organisations we support

Hugh James are passionate about ensuring that our clients receive the best possible care and support. We have therefore developed links with a number of asbestos charities and support groups which strive to help and assist patients affected by asbestos disease. These include:

 

Mavis Nye Foundation

The Mavis Nye Foundation was created to inspire victims of mesothelioma an asbestos related cancer. Through its board and members it gives hope to fellow victims and shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Mesothelioma UK

Mesothelioma UK is the leading charity supporting those with mesothelioma in the UK and provides specialist information, support and education.  The charity is also focused upon improving care and treatment for all UK mesothelioma patients and their carers. Hugh James are one of eight firms selected to provide UK wide support to mesothelioma sufferers. 

 

Local Support Groups

 

Quotes

Hugh James have been exceptional at a very difficult time. From the onset the procedure was clearly explained and if I had a query it was answered straight away. My case has been handled with great sensitivity. I can’t thank Hugh James enough and would recommend them to all my friends and family.

Eileen Inman

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I am really pleased with the way Hugh James is dealing with my claim. They are most helpful and take the time to explain in detail anything I ask; nothing is too much trouble. I am treated with respect. I would like to thank the team; I would not hesitate in recommending Hugh James.

Peter Ruggles

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The service I have received from Hugh James has been fantastic. I cannot fault anything. The team at Hugh James have always been there for me. I cannot emphasise enough the help they have given me; always on hand to give me advice. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Raymond Parr

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Attentive and tactful at a time that is distressing given the palliative nature of their asbestos-related malignancy.

The Legal 500

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Richard Green is a gentleman when in contact with patients/clients and attentive to their individual circumstance.

The Legal 500

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I would advise anybody to do business with Hugh James. Their service, their speed in dealing, their communication. From start to finish they have been outstanding in everything. They have dealt with my claim brilliantly.”

Mr H.

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From the first contact and throughout the processing of my asbestos claim, I found the staff very helpful, lucid, clear and considerate. The communication was prompt and precise. Hugh James presented my case in a legible way. I would highly recommend them.

Eric Michael Greenham

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Having very little to do with solicitors in the past, I was very grateful for Lauren's relaxed and helpful way of guiding myself and family through the whole process of claiming compensation. Lauren was very respectful and sensitive when my husband passed away and kept us up to date with things as they progressed. Very good service from start to end. I would recommend Hugh James services.

Mrs L

Featured case studies

Watch the stories of Eileen Inman and Wayne Churches. Eileen, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2016 – 48 years after starting work at the high street retailer’s store in Staines, Surrey. She was employed in 1968, at the age of 15, and worked there until 1973. Her condition is terminal and she only has months to live. Wayne, 73, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of lung cancer which is exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Mr Churches was exposed to asbestos whilst working as an engineer at Pen-y-Fai Hospital, Bridgend and Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny.

Compass Sheet Metal employee receives settlement for mesothelioma
 

Mr W contacted Hugh James specialist asbestos team following his diagnosis with mesothelioma, after a recommendation to get in touch with us from a lung cancer nurse specialist.


Mr W has been employed by Compass Sheet Metal between 1964 and 1975, and during this time was required to mix up asbestos lagging and apply it to pipework.


Hugh James’ specialist asbestos lawyers were already aware of the details of the defendant and their employers’ liability insurers, and were accordingly able to expedite the claim. Liability was quickly admitted, and an interim payment of £50,000 was provided.


The losses and expenses arising from Mr W’s illness, save for future treatment, were agreed in the sum of £235,000. In addition to this monetary compensation, an unlimited financial indemnity agreement was agreed to enable Mr W to undergo private immunotherapy treatment.
The matter was fully resolved within 10 months of instruction.

 

Claim settled from witness evidence for mesothelioma sufferer
 

Mr N was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018 and unfortunately passed away before having the opportunity to instruct solicitors.

Upon instruction by Mr N’s family, a copy of his HMRC schedule was obtained and it was considered likely that Mr N had been exposed to asbestos during the course of his employment with a regional electric company. It was imperative to the claim that witness evidence detailing such exposure was obtained and so extensive investigations were made to track down Mr N’s former colleagues.

After speaking with Mr N’s colleagues, it was established that during Mr N’s apprenticeship in the early 1960s, he had been exposed to asbestos both directly (from dismantling storage heaters that contained asbestos), and indirectly (from working close to carpenters on new residential builds).

After obtaining medical evidence in support of the claim, and preparing a detailed schedule detailing the losses and expenses arising from Mr N’s illness, the matter was resolved swiftly.

 

Lung cancer settlement for Urastone worker
 

Ms W was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2015, following historic asbestos exposure with Urastone who were part of British Eurolite, where she worked between 1963 and 1965. Sadly, she passed away in April 2017, aged 74. It was estimated that her life expectancy had been reduced by 11 years as a result of her diagnosis of asbestos related cancer.


Urastone manufactured asbestos products, and Ms W was required to cut asbestos sheets to the shape of a gas terminal. Once cut to size, she placed the sheets in a mould which was put into a large industrial oven. After they had been removed, Ms W filed and sanded down the mould which exposed her to asbestos dust.


Following her death, a claim was brought on behalf of Ms W’s estate, Ms W was also a lifelong heavy smoker, and the key issue was whether she had suffered sufficient asbestos exposure in her short period of employment to satisfy Helsinki criteria. This was a particularly challenging issue in light of Ms W;s extensive smoking history however he matter was successfully resolved following negotiations with Urastone’s representatives

 

Claim settled for widow of mesothelioma sufferer
 

Ms H’s husband had developed mesothelioma and initially instructed another firm pursue a claim, however this firm were unable to identify the source of his asbestos exposure, and he sadly passed away within 4 months of diagnosis.


Hugh James were then contacted directly by family members, following a personal recommendation, having settled a similar case for a Spanish based claimant.


Hugh James gathered evidence through a variety of sources, and established that Mr H had previously worked for a large company for a number of years within a niche team. It was during this time that he had been exposed to asbestos. The the source of exposure was quickly identified due to our previous experience against this defendant.


Prior to diagnosis, Ms H and her husband had both worked full time. Mr H was an experienced carpenter, helping his children to develop properties in his free time, and Mrs H was left widowed with 3 children and unable to work as a result of his death. The damages received as a result of the claim will there provide invaluable financial support for the family into the future.

 

Product liability claim for the estate of mesothelioma sufferer
 

Mr R sadly passed away having suffered with mesothelioma. A claim was pursued on behalf of his estate. Mr R had been exposed to asbestos whilst working on the construction of a housing estate during his employment with Scudamore and Thomas. Unfortunately, it was not possible to identify employers’ liability insurance for the company.


In light of the lack of insurance, a decision was taken to pursue Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd in respect of a product liability claim against Cape who were the manufacturers of asbestolux, which is what Mr R had used on site.


A product liability claim was pursued; something which is unusual in the UK, and was therefore a novel point of law. The claim settled shortly after it had been issued at court, and before the court proceedings had been formally served upon Cape.

 

Mesothelioma settlement secured within five months
 

Mr P contacted us following his diagnosis with mesothelioma.  Mr P had worked at Triang Toys in Merthyr Tydfil in his early 20s where he was exposed to asbestos whilst working in the warehouse. The girders in the warehouse were lined with asbestos insulation to protect against fire. Unfortunately, the asbestos insulation was damaged by forklift trucks which frequently collided with the girders, damaging the asbestos insulation triggering the release of asbestos dust. into the atmosphere and onto the workmen below.


Mr P was keen to settle his case within his lifetime, and we were able to secure an early admission for him, and then settle his case shortly thereafter, in accordance with his wishes.

 

Hugh James secures settlement for mesothelioma sufferer
 

We were instructed by Mrs B following her diagnosis with mesothelioma. At the time of her diagnosis Mrs B did not know where she had been exposed to asbestos.


Mrs B had worked as secretary to a factory manager at Harker Stagg Ltd (a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ineglheim) for two years after leaving school.


Following extensive investigations it was established that the factory Mrs B had worked in was lined with asbestos sheets. Mrs B was able to recall typing up reports in the laboratory attached to the factory on a daily basis. On occasions the maintenance team repaired and replaced the asbestos sheets located in the ceiling of the laboratory whilst Mrs B was going about her work. The disturbance of the sheets caused asbestos dust to be released into the atmosphere around Mrs B.


Upon confirmation that the building contained asbestos medical evidence was obtained in support of Mrs B’s claim. Following swift negotiations with the defendant our specialist asbestos lawyers settled Mrs B’s claim for £113,000.

 

Compensation for former Metal Box Co Ltd. Neath mesothelioma sufferer
 

Mr S was diagnosed with mesothelioma arising from his exposure to asbestos dust during his school holiday at the age of 17, Mr S spent two weeks working for Metal Box Co Ltd in Neath, South Wales. Mr S’s job was to climb inside large industrial ovens which were lined with asbestos and scrape away the old asbestos insulation. Mr S went home covered in asbestos dust each day. Many other schoolboys were employed by the company in similar roles stripping out old asbestos insulation.


Many years later Mr S was diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by his previous asbestos exposure. and following his diagnosis Mr S instructed Hugh James specialist asbestos lawyers. An interim payment of £50,000 was quickly obtained from Metal Box Co Ltd and judgment entered against the company whilst the full value of Mr S’s claim was investigated. The claim was swiftly resolved thereafter for a sum in excess of £300,000.

 

Merchant Navy claim settled for family of mesothelioma sufferer
 

Hugh James represented Mr L following his diagnosis with Mesothelioma in May 2019. Mr L had worked for various companies whilst serving in the Merchant Navy. He was exposed to asbestos as an engine room rating, whilst removing and replacing sections of asbestos lagging on the pipework of ship engine rooms.

 

Extensive company research was undertaken to establish the strongest defendants to pursue. Mr L had kept his Merchant Navy Discharge book which greatly assisted the case. Claims were intimated against the Ministry of Defence, Esso Petroleum and P&O.

 

Unfortunately, Mr L passed away before the claim was settled and the claim continued in the widow’s name.

 

In June 2020, Hugh James were successful in settling Mr L’s claim for £220,000 gross against all three defendants. The defendants went on to seek contribution from two further defendants.

 

Successful simultaneous claims for two former colleagues diagnosed with mesothelioma
 

Hugh James were instructed on a posthumous basis by Mr J’s family after the deceased sadly passed away from mesothelioma, only a few weeks after diagnosis.

 

It was presumed that the deceased was exposed to asbestos whilst working at the BT factory in Cwmcarn, Wales. The son and wife of the deceased had both worked at the factory, and were aware of incidences where the deceased had potentially come into contact with asbestos as a forklift truck driver. The family were able to provide details of a former colleague, Mr E, who worked alongside the deceased. Hugh James approached Mr E who was prepared to provide a witness statement in support of the claim.

 

Mr E confirmed that the deceased had suffered low-level asbestos exposure on a number of occasions whilst working at the factory. The main incident arose when they were asked to manoeuvre their forklifts through an area where old pipework had just been cleared of asbestos lagged pipework by specialist asbestos removal contractors. The contractors had failed to dispose properly of the asbestos lagging which meant that asbestos debris and dust was left on the floor which they then drove through. The incident was raised with their union at the time.

 

Interestingly, Mr E had been diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening and had previously been investigated for mesothelioma, however the results were inconclusive. Hugh James took on a claim for Mr E on a pleural thickening basis and presented the same allegations to the defendant.

 

Mr E sadly passed away during the claim and no post-mortem was undertaken. Hugh James instructed a radiologist and a respiratory expert to provide reports. The experts confirmed that his scans and medical history were highly suspicious of mesothelioma. We were able to obtain the pleural fluid samples which Mr E had undertaken during his lifetime and these were sent for testing. The testing confirmed a loss of BAP1 was indicative of mesothelioma. Medical experts confirmed on the balance of probabilities, Mr E was also suffering from mesothelioma.

 

The defendant failed to admit liability in either matter. Proceedings were issued on Mr J’s claim first in order to progress the claim and put pressure on the defendant. In the run-up to the Case Management Conference, the representatives for BT agreed to settle both cases and Hugh James were able to secure valuable settlements for both widows.

 

Asbestosis case settled despite blue water shipping argument 
 

Mr G contacted Hugh James following his diagnosis with asbestosis in November 2018. He had worked at the HM Dockyard in Plymouth in the 1950s, directly for the dockyard. Most of Mr G’s exposure came from him working full time in the engine rooms of ships where he would operate the machinery. Mr G worked closely to asbestos lagged pipework and machinery in these engine rooms. He also worked for Union Castle Mail Steamship Company in a similar role.

 

From 1960 until 1990, Mr G worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Mr G’s role involved maintenance of laboratories with radioactive materials, where he would occasionally cut up Sindanyo boards containing asbestos. Collectively, this exposure satisfied Hugh James that Mr G met the Helsinki Criteria and had been put at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition.

 

The representative for Union Castle Mail Steamship Company raised a blue water shipping argument and said that the first official warning to ship owners concerning asbestos risks was 1977 in the Notice to Mariners, and that the company would not have had any awareness of the risks of asbestos prior to then, and therefore had no duty to protect Mr G. 

 

Hugh James raised counter arguments in respect of this and ultimately the defendant agreed to contribute towards final settlement. Hugh James successfully obtained a settlement from all three defendants.

 

Key contact

Richard Green specialises in asbestos related disease claims. Primarily mesothelioma, asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening and lung cancer.

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Your questions answered

What is asbestos?

 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was first mined in South Africa in 1805. There are three different types of asbestos which have varying levels of toxicity; these being blue asbestos (crocidolite) which is believed to be the most potent, brown asbestos (amosite) and white asbestos (chrysotile).

Asbestos was mainly used for its insulation properties and was often mixed with other materials. It was commonly used in steel production, ship building and construction. Over the years the UK has banned the import of asbestos, with the ban on blue and brown coming into force in 1985 and white asbestos being banned in 1999.

Whilst asbestos is no longer legally imported or used by industry in the UK many individuals continue to be exposed to its harmful fibres. Many buildings, including, schools and hospitals may contain asbestos.

Asbestos related illnesses can take decades to appear and with its heavy industrial use and presence in public and private buildings, we are still seeing large numbers of people being diagnosed with asbestos related diseases each year.

As the effects of asbestos exposure can take many decades to present themselves it is estimated that a further 60,000 people shall die from the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma in the next 30 years in the UK alone.

How do I make an asbestos exposure compensation claim?

 

Making the initial enquiry to see if you are able to pursue a mesothelioma compensation claim is easy, simply contact our specialist asbestos solicitors either via telephone or our online enquiry form.

We understand that dealing with a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease is difficult for both you and your family. To make pursing a compensation claim as easy as possible you will not have to visit any of our offices. We can arrange home visits across the country and shall verbally discuss everything with you via telephone.

In our initial consultation we shall discuss your potential claim free of charge, without obligation. If your claim has a reasonable chance of being successful we will then run you through your options and give you the opportunity to instruct us to act on your behalf on a no win, no fee, basis.

Our team of lawyers are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

How much compensation will I receive?

 

This is personal to you and will depend upon the asbestos condition you suffer from. Many mesothelioma claims settle for sums between £100,000 and £400,000.

Our specialist team is experienced in ensuring that you and your family receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

Compensation will include an award for the pain and suffering caused by your illness. In addition compensation can also be claimed in respect of care needs, financial losses, medical care and treatment.

What other financial support are there for Asbestos Related Disease patients?

 

The most common benefits you may be entitled to include:

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

You may be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease arising from exposure to asbestos at work, and your disease is causing you symptoms.

You can make an application for IIDB if you have developed one of the following:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos related lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural thickening

If your application is successful you will receive IIDB weekly for life. If you have mesothelioma, you will receive £182 per week. If you have one of the other asbestos related diseases then the amount you receive will depend upon how serious your condition is. IIDB can also be backdated for up to 13 weeks.

Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

If you have developed mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis or pleural thickening arising from occupational asbestos exposure, and have been awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, you will also be entitled to a lump sum payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act. You may also be able to claim if a loved one has died from an asbestos related disease.

The lump sum is assessed based on both your age, and the severity of your condition. If you have mesothelioma for instance, the lump sum awarded ranges from £14,578 upwards.

2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme

You may be able to claim a lump sum through the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme if you have developed mesothelioma arising from exposure to asbestos outside of work, for instance if you were self-employed, if you were exposed to asbestos at school or even if you are unsure where you might have come into contact with asbestos dust.

As with the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act, the lump sum paid depends on the age you were diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme (DMPS)

The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme (DMPS) is a scheme set up for those who have developed mesothelioma arising from asbestos exposure at work, but who are unable to make a civil compensation claim because their employer has since been dissolved, and no insurance can be traced for them.

Care related benefits

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA) provide a weekly payment to assist with personal care. In addition PIP also offers a mobility component, which provides additional funds to help if you need assistance travelling. If you are in receipt of PIP or AA, you might also be entitled to apply to your local council for a Blue Badge to assist with car parking.

PIP is available to those aged under 65 and AA is available to those aged 65 or over. How much you will receive depends upon an assessment as to your care needs.

Finally, if a friend or family spends a large amount of time caring for you, they may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

Next steps

We understand that the benefits application process can seem daunting. In addition, applying for the benefits listed above might impact on your current benefits entitlement. Accordingly, we suggest that you have a chat with an asbestos specialist lawyer before making any application. Our specialist team here at Hugh James have are experienced in completing benefits application papers and would be happy to assist you with your application(s) for welfare benefits. We do not charge for this service.

Am I able to claim for pleural plaques?

 

It is no longer possible to claim compensation for pleural plaques in England and Wales. You may be able to claim compensation for pleural plaques if you were exposed to asbestos in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What if my former employer is no longer trading?

 

We will trace the employers’ liability insurers of your former employers who will be responsible for paying the compensation you are entitled to.

If your former employer did not have insurance, it may be possible to pursue a claim under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme if you suffer with mesothelioma.

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