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Asbestosis claims and compensation

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolonged asbestos exposure. It is a form of pneumoconiosis – a long-term disease of the lungs caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres in dust. This can progress and lead to shortness of breath, serious health complications and even death. 

In 2017, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported 517 deaths mentioning asbestosis on the death certificate. This is an increase from 2015 when 430 people died from asbestosis.

Sometimes you may see asbestosis described as pneumoconiosis or interstitial pulmonary fibrosis on benefit forms or death certificates. 

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with the disease, then you may be able to bring an asbestosis claim. Exposure to asbestos often occurs in a workplace environment, where your current or former employer may be liable for allowing you to work in such conditions. 

The disease usually become symptomatic many years after the exposure has taken place. We can help you with any claims, including those for asbestosis compensation after the death of a loved one. 

Ready to talk? Contact our team of asbestosis solicitors to discuss your claim. Call freephone 0800 6895854 or

Making an asbestosis claim

When you receive an asbestosis diagnosis, you should seek legal advice about your entitlement to compensation. It is essential to instruct a specialist asbestosis solicitor experienced in acting for people living with the disease. They can advise you on whether you have a possible claim. 

If a loved one has sadly passed away from the disease, they can also advise on whether you can claim for asbestosis compensation after their death. 

If you have not received an official asbestosis diagnosis, it is unlikely you will be able to start a claim. However, if a doctor or medical professional has told you that you have a respiratory illness caused by asbestos exposure, you could claim for another asbestos-related disease

Who will my asbestosis claim be against?

Asbestosis claims are brought against former employers – as the disease can take anywhere from around ten to 60 years to develop after the initial exposure. In most cases, exposure to asbestos that causes the disease can be traced back to working conditions, whether this was in a factory or any other working environment. 

Employers have a duty of care to make sure their employees work in a safe environment and are provided with adequate protection where necessary. They hold a level of responsibility should any current, or former, employees develop an asbestos-related disease.

If your former employer is no longer around, we can work to find out where the responsibility now lies and bring claims against their historical insurer. In some cases, it could be the building owner who is responsible. Our expert team will advise you on who any asbestosis legal claims will be brought against.

Time limits of claims for asbestosis

You have three years from the date you become aware that your illness was caused by asbestos to start your compensation claim. This is not the date you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos – as that will be decades ago. The three-year limit applies from the date of death when claiming for a loved one who passed away due to asbestosis.

How to claim for asbestosis

To start your claim, contact our team for a free initial consultation. One of our expert solicitors will listen to your case, ask any relevant questions and assess whether you have a strong claim or not.

They will act confidentially and advise you on the best next steps to pursue your claim.

If they think you have a good claim, they will gather supporting evidence to strengthen your asbestosis claim. This can include:
  • Medical records and documents
  • Contracts of employment
  • Expert witness reports from medical professionals
  • Photographs and documents related to the working environment
  • Financial records

Making provisional claims

After receiving an asbestosis diagnosis, there is a risk you could develop another asbestos disease. We can help you decide whether you should settle your claim on a provisional basis – enabling you to return and apply for additional compensation should you develop another asbestos-related disease or should your condition worsen in the future. 
Contact our team about your claim today:

Asbestosis compensation

If your claim is successful, you will recover compensation for the impact the illness has on your lifestyle and its physical effects. This is known as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.  

You may also be able to claim compensation for:
  • Out of pocket expenses – including reasonably incurred medical fees.
  • Any loss of earnings – including loss of future salary and pensions. 
  • Care received – if you are unwell and need help and home adaptations.
  • Travel expenses – to and from medical appointments. 
  • Loss of your services – if you are no longer able to do DIY, gardening and other types of domestic tasks.

Compensation levels for asbestosis claims vary considerably depending on the facts of each particular case. Each one is assessed individually and takes into account the level of pain and suffering caused, disabilities, the lifelong impact of the disease and its financial implications. The expert solicitors assigned to your case will be able to offer an estimate of how much you could receive.  

Am I entitled to benefits?

When you are diagnosed with asbestosis, you may be entitled to state benefits. You could be entitled to apply for a weekly payment called Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. If this is awarded, you might also be entitled to receive a lump-sum payment from the government under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 . Seek advice regarding your potential entitlements from our asbestosis team.

Claiming asbestosis compensation after death

Sadly, asbestosis can be a cause of death in some cases. Whether you are claiming on behalf of a loved one who died from the disease or they pass away before the conclusion of their claim, you may still be entitled to compensation. 
We will work with you and the coroner to assist in their investigation, as well as helping any next of kin continuing the claim – when you are ready. Any compensation awarded after death can include cover for funeral costs and loss of income when there are dependents. 

What causes asbestosis?

Prolonged asbestos exposure, usually over many years, causes asbestosis. When breathed in, asbestos fibres can cause scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs, preventing them from working correctly. Unlike other asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, doctors believe a lot of asbestos exposure over time is normally needed to cause asbestosis. 

Asbestos exposure was particularly common in the 1950s through to the 1980s. During this period, asbestos was used in many construction products such as flooring, roofing, insulation, coatings and more. People who worked in construction, engineering, factories and those in the merchant navy were most at risk of exposure and developing the disease today.
Common types of work that could lead to asbestosis include:
  • Construction workers
  • Boiler maintenance 
  • Heating engineers
  • Factory workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Steel and textile mill workers
  • Electricians

If you cannot recall being exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period, it is unlikely you have asbestosis. It is caused by asbestos exposure many years ago, and it usually takes more than 20 years for symptoms to come to light.

How can you tell if you have asbestosis?

Asbestosis is usually diagnosed by a respiratory physician upon referral from your GP. The level of disability can vary, from mild symptoms to severe and debilitating. It can progress slowly or sometimes not at all. 

People with asbestosis are also at risk of developing further asbestos-related diseases. These have slightly different symptoms and include:

Why choose Leigh Day?

Our solicitors work within the wider personal injury team at Leigh Day. We have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Chesterfield and Birmingham to deal with asbestosis claims across the country – including the ability to visit you at home or in hospital if required. With more than 30 years' experience working across a variety of claims and dedicated, expert solicitors, our team are here to listen and help you retrieve your entitled compensation.
“Kevin Johnson is ‘really brilliant’ and ‘always ahead of the curve.’” – Chambers and partners 2019.
Kevin Johnson is a Leigh Day partner who has specialised in working for asbestos sufferers since he qualified as a lawyer in 1999. He has acted for asbestos sufferers from traditional heavy industries like shipbuilding, construction and engineering, as well as teachers, publicans, solicitors and shop workers – obtaining compensation over £500,000 in some cases.

Contact Leigh Day to discuss your claim. Call freephone 0800 6895854  or 

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