If you or a member of your family has suffered mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out if you’re eligible to make a claim, call our expert personal injury solicitors on freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online and we’ll call you back.
Each year, more than 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with this devastating disease. We can provide sympathetic support and immediate legal representation to anyone who has developed this form of cancer, or to their family members.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that’s linked to exposure to asbestos. It usually affects the lining of the lungs, but can also develop in the lining of the heart and the abdomen. Because the disease doesn’t tend to show any obvious symptoms until it’s at an advanced stage, it has a high mortality rate.
Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by breathing in asbestos dust, normally, although not always, in the workplace. Inhalation of asbestos dust causes damage to the cells of the pleura, the outer lining of the lungs and the internal chest wall. It’s thought over time this damage results in changes which can eventually turn them into cancerous cells.
The average time for mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos dust is around 40 year, but it can develop (or cause symptoms) after 10 years from the initial exposure.
People who worked in the construction industry when asbestos was in widespread use are at the greatest risk of developing this particular type of cancer. However, many other people can also be affected by this disease. Although its use is now banned, asbestos can still be found in many older buildings.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
The symptoms of this disease generally only become noticeable when it is at an advanced stage. The signs of mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs can include:
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent cough
- Chest pain
- Extreme tiredness
- A high temperature and sweating (especially at night)
- Swollen fingertips
- A loss of appetite and sudden weight loss
Symptoms of mesothelioma in the lining of the stomach can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Stomach pain or swelling
- A loss of appetite and sudden weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to book an appointment to see your GP. During your consultation, make sure that you tell your doctor if you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past. If your GP suspects that you might have mesothelioma, they will arrange for specialist tests to be carried out in hospital. These tests can include X-rays, CT scans and a thoracoscopy or laparoscopy. They can also include biopsies and the analysis of fluid drained from around the lungs or in the stomach. The tests should reveal if you have mesothelioma and, if you do, how far it’s spread.
What are the treatments for mesothelioma?
Because it’s often diagnosed at a late stage, treatment for this cancer usually focuses on controlling the symptoms and prolonging life, rather than on curing the disease. This type of care is referred to as supportive or palliative care. Treatments can include chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as well as surgery to remove cancerous tissue.
Clinical trials are carried out to research new treatments all the time. Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many patients but sufferers should discuss the option with their doctor first.
Can I make a mesothelioma compensation claim?
If you were negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace, you may be entitled to make a mesothelioma compensation claim. This includes anyone working in the armed forces who was exposed to this dangerous material after 1987. In order to be successful in this type of claim, you have to be able to show that it’s likely that your disease was caused by asbestos exposure that occurred while you were at work.
You must also show that your employer was negligent in failing to meet the safety standards required in law or that they were breaching specific safety rules. For example, that they failed to stop you from being exposed to asbestos when they knew, or should have known, that this was dangerous.
It’s also possible to claim compensation if you were exposed to asbestos while not at work. For example, you may be entitled to take legal action if you lived close to a factory that regularly used this material, or if you washed the work clothes of a family member who came into contact with asbestos as a result of their job.
It’s important to be aware that you are usually required to begin your legal claim within three years of the date you were first diagnosed with the disease.
What if my employer has gone out of business?
Don’t be deterred from bringing a claim if you think your former employer has gone out of business. The specialist personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon can trace companies to check if they are still trading under different names. Even if they’ve stopped trading, because compensation is generally paid by employers’ insurers, there is often still a way to obtain compensation.
If your former employer is insolvent or their insurer can’t be traced, you may be able to claim compensation through the Government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. Our experts can guide you through this process.
Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?
It’s also possible to make a claim on behalf of a loved one who has passed away as a result of mesothelioma. For example, you may be entitled to claim if you were the spouse or child of someone who lost their life to this disease, or if you were financially dependent on them.
To be eligible to receive compensation in cases like this, you must bring your claim within three years of the date of death or the point at which a post-mortem revealed that the death was caused by exposure to asbestos.
What can I claim?
Our specialist personal injury solicitors can help you to claim much-needed compensation that can help you to cover any treatment costs and make your family more financially secure. Mesothelioma compensation can help to pay for a range of things, including:
- Private medical bills incurred as a result of your treatment
- Expenses such as travel costs and care costs
- Loss of earnings
We know that dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis can be extremely difficult. Our experts will help to ensure you receive a settlement that funds any care requirements you have and enables you to have the best possible quality of life.
We’ll also act to secure compensation as quickly as possible. If your employer admits responsibility for your exposure to asbestos, we may be able to secure interim payments, which are early compensation payments paid to you before the case has been fully settled. These interim payments can play an important role in covering any ongoing care costs and other expenses.
What will happen if I make a claim?
Contact a member of our mesothelioma experts and we’ll arrange a consultation to discuss the details of your case. Based on the information you provide, we’ll be able to advise you as to whether you may be entitled to claim compensation and how successful you are likely to be. One of our experts will visit you and if you decide to proceed, will begin investigating the details of your case as soon as possible. Our team are experts in finding out the facts in these cases, even if the asbestos exposure happened many decades ago.
If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure, or their insurers, accepts responsibility, we’ll negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. If they don’t accept responsibility, we’ll guide you through the court process, minimising any stress and anxiety you may feel.
What is a No Win, No Fee mesothelioma compensation claim?
Many of our personal injury clients (98%) make claims funded through a Conditional Fee Agreement. More commonly called a No Win, No Fee agreement, this way of funding a claim means you don’t have to accept any risk to your personal finances in order to seek compensation. If your claim is unsuccessful, your solicitor won’t be paid for the work they have done on your case.
You can find out more about how No Win, No Fee agreements work here. Alternatively, you can call us at no cost on 0800 884 0275 for further information.
How can Slater and Gordon Lawyers help you?
Because mesothelioma cases can be hard to prove and often involve tracing companies and evidence back many years, it’s essential that you choose a solicitor with significant expertise in this complex area of law. This is where we can help. If you choose Slater and Gordon, you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands. Our team have considerable experience in dealing with a wide range of asbestos-related disease cases, including mesothelioma compensation claims.
Many of our clients have developed this disease after being exposed to asbestos decades ago. Our personal injury lawyers perform thorough investigations of our clients’ employment histories in order to track down those who are responsible for their suffering and hold them to account. We bring all of our combined skills and knowledge together to ensure we succeed in achieving the right outcomes for our clients.
A professional, sensitive service
We also pride ourselves on offering a highly professional yet sensitive service. Our team are extremely familiar with the symptoms associated with this disease and the issues that families have to deal with following a diagnosis. As well as working to defend your legal rights and secure the most favourable outcome in terms of your compensation payment, we’ll do our utmost to keep your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum throughout the claims process.
Slater and Gordon know that your quality of life and the financial future of your family can be at stake when you are diagnosed with this disease. With one of the largest and most highly skilled teams of personal injury solicitors in the country, we are ideally placed to help you pursue justice.
We have offices across the country in town and cities including Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
For a free consultation about claiming compensation for mesothelioma, call our solicitors on freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you at a time that’s convenient for you.
Many the solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are members of respected bodies including the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL), the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
According to independent legal guide, the Legal 500, we’re “simply the best” and have a “collection of very professional lawyers with excellent experience who take on very complex cases and cater for clients very well”.