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Asbestos and mesothelioma claims FAQs

Before starting your claim, you may still have a few unanswered questions and need some extra asbestos advice. These could be around how much compensation you may be awarded, how long the process could take or any limitation dates for your asbestos claim. Find all our answers to common asbestos FAQs below.

Can I make a No Win, No Fee claim for asbestos compensation?

Leigh Day acts for clients making claims for many types of asbestos diseases, on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you win your claim, you keep 100% of all compensation awarded. If you lose the case, we do not charge you for our work. We arrange insurance that will protect you from any costs.

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How long does an asbestos claim take?

It is difficult to give a precise estimate because every claim depends on the individual circumstances. However, in severe cases such as mesothelioma, Leigh Day can “fast track” claims through the High Court, which has a special system for dealing with urgent cases.

Leigh Day proceeds with all mesothelioma and urgent asbestos cases through the High Court’s fast track system. These cases can take six months or less from start to finish.

How can I claim for asbestos exposure, as it was many years ago?

Solicitors put a lot of trust into witness statements to prove what happened in the past because there are rarely any documents evidencing events from several decades ago. The courts are usually quite accepting of the evidence given in witness statements. Most of our cases rest on the statements from the victim themselves, their friends, family and former workmates.

Are there time limits for making an asbestos compensation claim?

In an industrial disease case, there is a three-year limitation period to bring a legal claim. The three years typically start from the date of diagnosis for an asbestos-related disease. It may be earlier if you have already identified a connection between your symptoms and the cause.

Where somebody died as a result of an industrial disease, the three years typically runs from the date of death.

In all circumstances, it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible on how to claim for asbestos exposure – particularly about any limitation dates for your claim. In certain circumstances, it is possible to ask the court to let your claim proceed even though it is over three years since you were diagnosed. Leigh Day has particular experience of bringing cases “out of time”.

Can I bring an asbestos claim if the victim has died?

Yes, claims are commonly brought by the spouse of the victim or the executors of the victim’s will.

Will there be a coroner’s inquest?

Where doctors believe that a person has died from an industrial disease, a coroner’s inquest is a legal requirement. A pathologist will perform a post-mortem to determine the cause(s) of death. Once the post-mortem is completed, the inquest is opened and adjourned to allow for the release of the body.

We understand this news may come as a shock to family members, but this process should not delay the release of the body to the family for more than a few days. The inquest will then be re-opened at a later time to hear the evidence – such as statements from family and former work colleagues.

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What happens after an inquest for industrial disease?

Having considered the evidence, the court may make a finding of "death by industrial disease". If the family intends to pursue a claim for compensation – or is in the process of a claim – it can help their case if the finding of death by industrial disease is made out at the inquest.

Can I claim if my employer has gone out of business?

Even if an employer that caused your exposure to asbestos has gone out of business, you can still bring a claim against their insurers where they can be identified. Alternatively, the company may continue to trade under a different name or have transferred its liabilities to another business, which you can act against instead.

Leigh Day has extensive experience investigating the corporate history of companies and successfully locating insurers. If you have mesothelioma and cannot trace your insurers, you may be able to claim under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme.

Can I claim asbestos compensation if I no longer live in the UK?

Yes. Leigh Day has acted for many foreign claimants from other countries – amongst other locations – such as:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Malta
  • America
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • South Africa

We work with foreign lawyers to ensure that you have personal contact with a solicitor in your own country. This also helps us ensure that the case proceeds as quickly as it does for UK claimants.

Will I have to attend a medical appointment?

In most circumstances, it is helpful to be examined by an independent doctor for your asbestos claim. 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.

Can I get state benefits if I have an asbestos disease?

Some industrial diseases mean that you are entitled to claim state benefits while also bringing a legal claim.

You may also be entitled to:

We can assist clients with applying for specific benefits related to asbestos.

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Can I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?

Many Leigh Day clients successfully apply for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). If you are diagnosed with an industrial disease, we recommend you make a claim immediately. IIDB can be backdated, but only for three months from the date of your application.

How do I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?

You can get a claim form from your local benefits office, or ask us to obtain one and help you complete it. This type of help is free of charge.

You may have to attend a medical examination once you’ve submitted the forms. This is so an independent doctor can confirm a diagnosis. Some more serious diseases such as mesothelioma do not require this examination.

The amount of benefits paid depends on the degree of disability you experience. If you have a condition that is gradually getting worse, you can apply to be re-assessed and have the amount of benefits increased to accurately reflect your situation.

What is the Pneumoconiosis Fund?

The Pneumoconiosis Fund is a fund set up to compensate people whose employers have gone out of business, which would otherwise make it harder to bring a legal claim for damages. This scheme is limited to a number of prescribed diseases such as asbestos-related diseases and silicosis.

Generally, these are conditions where a long time has elapsed between initial exposure to the triggering substance and the onset of illness. Asbestos victims can also receive payments under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Scheme.

Will I receive mesothelioma payments?

Under Part 4 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, anyone who diagnosed with mesothelioma is entitled to apply for a lump sum payment – not just those who were exposed in the workplace.

This means dependents of someone exposed to asbestos at work can also claim under this scheme – such as wives who washed asbestos-impregnated clothing.

Not found the asbestos advice you need?

If you still have a question about making an asbestos claim, visit our asbestos claims and compensation page for more information. You can also contact our expert personal injury team. Speak to someone in person or arrange a call back: Call 020 7650 1200 or email postbox@leighday.co.uk.