How long do I have to bring my claim?
In an industrial disease case, there is a 3 year “limitation period” in which you can bring a legal claim. The 3 years typically start to run from the date of diagnosis, but it may be earlier than this if you have already identified a connection between your symptoms and what caused them. Where somebody has died as a result of an industrial disease, the 3 years typically runs from the date of death. In all circumstances it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. In certain circumstances it is possible to ask the court to let your claim proceed despite the fact that it is over 3 years since you were diagnosed. Leigh Day has particular experience of bringing cases “out of time”.
Will I have to attend a medical appointment?
In most circumstances it is helpful to be examined by an independent doctor for your legal claim, but where the victim is particularly ill, or it is difficult to travel, we often ask experts to prepare a report based on your medical records.
How long will it take to bring a claim?
It is very difficult to give a clear estimate, because every case depends on the circumstances. However, in serious cases such as mesothelioma, Leigh Day is able to “fast track” cases through the High Court which has a special system for dealing with urgent cases. Leigh Day proceeds with all mesothelioma cases through the High Court’s fast track system and these cases typically take 6 months or less from start to finish.
Can I still bring a case if the victim has died?
Yes, cases are commonly brought by the widow/widower of the victim, or by the executors who are named in the victim’s will.
My employer went out of business 20 years ago. How can I make a claim against them?
Even if company which caused your disease has gone out of business a claim can still be brought against their insurers if they can be identified. Alternatively, the company may be continuing to trade under a different name or have transferred its liabilities to another company which can be sued instead. Leigh Day has extensive experience in investigating the corporate history of companies and successfully locating insurers.
How can you prove that I was exposed to a harmful substance when it happened 30 years ago?
Solicitors rely heavily on witness statements to prove what happened in the past, because there are rarely any documents evidencing events several decades ago. The courts are usually quite accepting of the evidence given in witness statements and most of the cases that we bring rest on the statements given by the victim themselves, their friends, family and former work mates.
Can I bring a case if I no longer live in the UK? Yes.
Leigh Day has acted for a number of foreign claimants from countries such as Australia, America and South Africa. We work in conjunction with foreign lawyers to ensure that you have personal contact with a solicitor in your own country and to ensure that the case proceeds as quickly as it does for UK claimants.
Am I also entitled to state benefits?
Some industrial diseases mean that you are entitled to claim state benefits as well as bringing a legal claim. Commonly Leigh Day clients successfully apply for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and asbestos victims receive payments under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Scheme. Other clients may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support. We often assist clients with applying for specific benefits.