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Asbestos – claims and compensation

Thousands of people are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases annually. There are currently more than 5,000 deaths from asbestos-related diseases in the UK per year, including from mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. 

Being diagnosed with one of these illnesses may come as a shock, as these diseases can take many years to develop after the initial exposure to asbestos. 

The team of expert asbestos solicitors at Leigh Day specialise in bringing claims on behalf of people who have been exposed to asbestos in many walks of life. They are experts at identifying where any exposure took place and getting the right level of compensation for those affected.

Our team has been rated as the best in the UK for many years. They’ve successfully obtained millions of pounds in compensation for people who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Many of these cases have not only provided compensation, but they have also changed the law.

Leigh Day only represent claimants and do not act for defendants or insurance companies in any circumstances. Find out more about the team

Ready to talk? Speak to one of our expert lawyers at Leigh Day about any asbestos claims. Call 0800 6895854  or  

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that was used in many products for its fire and heat resistant properties. Unfortunately, asbestos fibres can also cause a range of diseases in those exposed to them.

Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. However, it’s estimated that at least 50% of all asbestos ever used, in the construction of buildings in this country, is still present.  

Who is affected by asbestos-related diseases?

While not everyone exposed to asbestos develops related diseases, claims are high among people who have worked in certain roles or industries.

These include heavy industry workers and tradesmen – such as plumbers, heating engineers and those in construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding.

But there’s no restriction on who can be affected and the types of workers who have brought claims also include sound engineers, nurses, caretakers and teachers.

We’ve also handled asbestos, mesothelioma and asbestosis claims for wives and other family members who were exposed to asbestos from the clothes their husband, father, or even sons, brought home from work. 

Leigh Day has also successfully secured compensation for people who lived close to factories and were exposed to asbestos dust, which escaped into the atmosphere.

Which asbestos-related diseases can you claim for?

Exposure to asbestos has been linked to a range of diseases including:
Asbestos diseases can take a long time to develop. The time between exposure to asbestos and development of a disease is at least 10 years (typically between 30 and 40 years), but there is no upper limit.

Making a claim for an asbestos-related disease

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, suffered from a related disease and believe you have a strong claim, contact the team of asbestos lawyers at Leigh Day. 

They’ll listen to your case with a free consultation and assess the strength of your claim, advising you on the best next steps to take. 
You can also make asbestos claims after death for someone else when you are appointed as a ‘litigation friend’. 
To strengthen any asbestos, asbestosis or mesothelioma claims, you may need to gather supporting evidence for your case. This can include medical records, documents, witness statements, work and financial records. 

To start your claim around asbestos-related diseases:
  • Call freephone 0800 6895854 and speak to one of our expert asbestos solicitors or

How long do I have to bring asbestos claims?

In an industrial disease case, you can bring a legal claim within a three-year ‘limitation period’. This typically starts from the date of diagnosis, but it may be earlier if you have already identified a connection between your symptoms and the cause.  

For asbestos claims after death, the three year period typically runs from the date of death. 

In all circumstances, it’s advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s possible to ask the court to let your claim proceed despite the fact that it is over three years since you were diagnosed. Leigh Day has experience bringing cases ‘out of time’.

Asbestos-related disease compensation

The amount of compensation you could receive will depend on your circumstances, including how any related diseases have affected your quality of life, emotional distress, pain and suffering and any financial expenses it has incurred. 
Asbestos compensation after death can be used to cover the financial losses a dependent experiences. 
Our successful team of asbestos solicitors have settled many cases for individuals who have developed asbestos related-diseases due to exposure in the workplace. These include:
  • Helen Ashton being the first lawyer to bring a claim in the high profile test case known as the 'Employers’ Liability Trigger Litigation.'
  • Harminder Bains obtaining the highest asbestos compensation awarded for pain and suffering for mesothelioma claims in the UK.
  • Steven Dickens is an experienced asbestos and mesothelioma claims lawyer who is accredited by APIL as a Senior Litigator, Occupational Disease Specialist and Asbestos Disease Specialist. He is a member of the Turner & Newall Asbestos Trust advisory committee.
  • Daniel Easton who advises on the Asbestos Sub-Committee of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. 
  • Vijay Ganapathy achieved success in the Chandler v Cape plc case, which set a new precedent for suing parent companies. 
  • Kevin Johnson successfully representing mesothelioma victims to recover damages despite the mesothelioma claims being 13 years 'out of time'.
  • Patrick Walsh acted for the claimants in 3 of the most important asbestos cases heard by the courts to date; Fox v Spousal Midlands ("Fairchild exception"), M Aguire v Harland & Woolf and Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks, as well as representing the Forum of Asbestos Victim Support Groups in the Supreme Court in IEG Ltd v Zurich UK.

Why choose Leigh Day?

As a leading asbestos law firm, our expert team at Leigh Day have more than 30 years’ experience dealing with such claims. From general asbestos to more specific plural plaque claims, we have experts across the entire field. 
“Highly respected industrial disease practice offering first-rate representation to claimants suffering from asbestos related diseases.  Features prominently in headline disease cases and retains strong links to support groups and non-profits catering for those with mesothelioma”.  - Chambers and partners 2020

Contact Leigh Day for asbestos advice and to discuss your asbestos exposure claims. Call 0800 6895854 or

Asbestos claims: FAQs

Will I have to attend a medical appointment?

In most circumstances, it’s helpful to be examined by an independent doctor for your legal claim. Where the victim is particularly ill or it’s difficult to travel, we often ask experts to prepare a report based on medical records.

How long will it take to bring an asbestos claim?

It’s very difficult to give a clear estimate, because every case depends on the circumstances. In serious cases, 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. Some can take as little as three to six months, from start to finish.

My employer went out of business 20 years ago. How can I make a claim against them?

Even if company that caused your disease has gone out of business, asbestos claims can still be brought against their insurers, if they can be identified. Alternatively, the company may continue 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.

There is a government-run compensation fund called the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS), which will pay compensation to mesothelioma victims where insurance companies cannot be traced. We can help with applications under the DMPS and applying for other government benefits.

How can you prove I was exposed to asbestos when it happened 30 years ago?

We use witness statements to help prove asbestos exposure claims. Most of the cases we bring are proved by statements given by the victim themselves, their friends, family and former work mates. We can search historical records to find out about employers and trace old documents, if they still exist. 

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, Malta, Spain, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. We work in conjunction with foreign lawyers to ensure that you have personal contact with a solicitor in your own country. This ensures 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 can get you advice and assistance with applying for benefits. Find out more on our benefits page.

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