Can I Claim Compensation for Asbestos Exposure?
As expert asbestos solicitors, we advise that you can get compensation for asbestos exposure if you develop an asbestos-related illness, usually resulting in chest pain and breathlessness. The symptoms can be mild to severe and sadly fatal in some cases, especially if a mesothelioma diagnosis is made.Contact Us Now To Claim
The diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness can be devastating to the claimant and the claimant’s family. This is where our asbestos solicitors can help, with expert intervention. In many cases, we can arrange for independent medical examinations and compensation payments as the case progresses to assist the claimant and the family if money is tight so that there is no financial suffering whilst waiting for the asbestos claim to be completed.
You can speak to us now about how you can obtain financial support before the case is concluded.
There are several scenarios where someone may be able to claim asbestos compensation, including:
- Employees who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease following workplace exposure
- Self-employed workers, such as contractors, placed in an environment containing asbestos and have developed an asbestos-related disease
- Close relatives claiming on behalf of a family member who cannot make a claim themselves because of their condition
- Close relatives claiming on behalf of a family member who has died following their asbestos-related disease
- Close relatives who were dependent on the deceased for financial support, care or other crucial services before their death
This is not an exhaustive list of who may be entitled to compensation after asbestos exposure. We highly recommend you speak to our team to learn more about the full criteria. We will now go into more detail about the factors influencing who can make a claim.
The claimant exposed to the asbestos must have been employed working in an environment known to have exposed workers to asbestos dust. If the claimant is self-employed, it is often down to the main contractor who placed the claimant at the premises where the exposure occurred.
It is not the case that if you are self-employed, there is no bar to claim for asbestos compensation. You will need to speak to our solicitors, who can advise.
In addition to the claimant, members of the family may also claim. This is often in more severe cases where a person, such as a partner, helps and cares for the victim.
The time and expense of the partner’s care for the claimant can be rewarded in compensation. In general terms, the partner is looking for at least the minimum wage for the number of hours they spent looking after the claimant.
This compensation for asbestos for the partner alone can be worth lots of money and will be recovered from the defendant’s employer’s insurance company if supported by reasonable evidence.
If the claimant has sadly died from asbestos exposure, there can be a claim for the family under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. This can lead to the following claim for asbestos compensation for family members:
- Bereavement awarded – for the claimant’s partner, awarded a total of £15,210.
- Dependency claims – for family members financially dependent on the deceased or received care and assistance from them before their death. The compensation can be significant according to the facts of the case.
Where the claimant is living, it is usually the claimant’s partner who can claim compensation for care and services rendered to the claimant to look after him or her due to their suffering. These services will help with cooking, cleaning, washing, hygiene duties and similar. As explained, the number of hours per day can be calculated in compensation.
Compensation for the asbestosis condition for the diagnosis’s pain, suffering and worry. This calculation of the asbestos payout will be concerning the medical report the solicitor will obtain to record the medical opinion and diagnosis.
The asbestos solicitor will note the severity of the condition, if and when it may deteriorate over time and the impact upon the claimant. The asbestos solicitors will then compare the xlaimant’s case with other case law and advise the claimant on how much compensation they will obtain for the asbestosis condition.
For the asbestos injury itself, generally, the younger the claimant when a diagnosis is made, the greater the compensation payout.
The average compensation for asbestos claims is difficult to quantify as each case will be decided on its facts. But typically, a guide can be set out below:
- A young claimant with serious pain and impairment – £120,000
- Lung cancer diagnosis with severe impairment for an older claimant – £90,000
- Breathing difficulties, frequent coughing and lack of sleep – £65,000
- Breathing problems that require the use of an inhaler – £50,000
- Constant wheezing but no serious impairment – £30,000
In addition, the family can get asbestos compensation when they have to care for the claimant. The wife of the claimant, for example, may have to attend to his needs such as washing, cooking, gardening and hiring tradesmen to work on the house. This means they will have to pay for these tradesmen costs which would have been free before.
In this scenario, say that the value of the wife’s time to look after her husband is calculated at £12 per hour, and she spends 3 hours a day looking after her husband. The solicitor would simply advise that her claim will be £36 per day, £252 per week or £13,104 a year. The solicitor will then calculate the compensation according to how long the claimant has to live. If this is ten years, the asbestos payout may be calculated at ten years x £13,104 = £131,040.
In addition, there are the maintenance and DIY costs that they will have to pay out where, before diagnosis, the claimant would have carried out himself. This will be calculated on the actual costs of the work undertaken by time and invoices by tradesmen and/or the solicitors can charge an average of about £1,000 per year. Again if we multiply this by the life expectancy of the claimant, here we have said ten years, this will mean a claim for £10,000.
This is just a guide, there are other background calculations that asbestos solicitors would use to calculate accurately the compensation level for the services. There may, of course, be other compensation claims, but the above is just a very basic guide to help you understand how asbestos claims for compensation can be significant.
The law is different where the claimant has died. The levels of compensation for the pain and suffering will be calculated similarly to the figures set out above.
But the claim for family members will be different. They will be based on the statutory provision of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for dependency.
If the deceased claimant provided financial support before death to family members and or cared for or provided services for family members before death, those members may have a claim for dependency.
Further, if, at the time of death, a family member anticipated that financial support or services would have been provided but for the death, then a claim may still be made providing it was a reasonable expectation.Contact Us Now To Claim
If you live in the United Kingdom, you usually have a deadline of 3 years to submit a personal injury claim, including claims for asbestos-related conditions. The timeframe to make a claim commences from the date of diagnosis or when a person dies from asbestos exposure. The deadline to claim can vary depending on various factors, so we highly recommend you speak to a solicitor to understand your accurate timeframes. People seeking compensation for an asbestos-related disease should start the claims process as soon as possible. You will have a greater chance of winning your case if your solicitors can take their time to gather evidence supporting your asbestos claim.
There is often a debate about whether a person has exceeded their asbestos claim deadline. Asbestos-related diseases can take years to form, and their cause and symptoms aren’t always apparently clear. In Scotland, the Prescription & Limitation Act 1973 stops people from claiming after three years if they develop a disease from the same asbestos exposure. A recent court ruling in Scotland has shed some light on when someone would be reasonably expected to make a claim. Mr Kelman was diagnosed with pleural plaques in 1999 and mesothelioma in 2019. Despite being aware of his 1999 diagnosis, the court agreed that he wasn’t aware the disease was significant enough to justify making a claim. Therefore, Mr Kelman wasn’t reasonably expected to claim for his asbestos-related condition in that period. The ruling offers the view that the period to make a claim has not started if the person did not reasonably know they could justify a claim despite receiving a diagnosis.
We know that claiming asbestos compensation can appear complex and overbearing, but rest assured, solicitors like ourselves are on hand to make it as straightforward and stress-free as possible. The first step in the process is to receive an initial consultation from a solicitor, whether for yourself if you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition or on behalf of a family member who has died due to asbestos exposure. This initial consultation should be entirely free and not provoke you into a commitment at this stage. The solicitors will want to hear the details of your situation, including exposure history and diagnosed diseases. Following this no-obligation consultation, the asbestos solicitors should advise you on whether a claim is possible and how much you are estimated to receive.
If you want to proceed with an asbestos claim, we recommend you appoint a solicitor at your earliest convenience. A firm will handle much of the complicated work on your behalf and will use their experience to ensure you receive the maximum compensation. You should seek a solicitor that works on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning you will only pay their solicitor fees if the asbestos claim is successful. After recruiting a solicitor firm, they will immediately begin collecting evidence and building a strong compensation claim. Evidence can include everything from medical records to exposure history, including tracing down employers for which the claimant previously worked. The solicitors will update you at every step and provide the support you need to cope with your physical or psychological duress.
The asbestos solicitors will notify the other party of the claim while presenting substantial evidence. The accused can choose to admit or deny liability. If they admit liability, the claim will proceed to the negotiation stage. If they deny liability, the claim will head to the courts, where a judge will decide. The solicitors will use a valuation to start settlement negotiations. Again, if an agreement cannot be reached, a judge will decide. It’s crucial to make clear that most asbestos claims are settled outside of court. After a settlement has been reached, you will receive your asbestos compensation damages, which often takes two to three weeks.
Below is a list of possible dependents who may have been financially dependent upon the deceased and/or received some form of care or ‘services’ from the deceased before death and that financial or service was likely to continue but for the death.
- The wife or husband or former wife or husband of the deceased.
- The civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased.
- A person living in the same household as the deceased immediately before the death and who had been living with the deceased in the same home for at least two years before the death and was living as the husband or wife or civil partner of the deceased.
- Any parent or other ascendant of the deceased.
- Any person treated by the deceased as his parent.
- Any child or other descendant of the deceased.
- Any person treated as a child of the deceased as a child of the family in any marriage or civil partnership that the deceased was in.
- Any brother, sister, uncle or aunt, or their children of the deceased.
In addition, a bereavement award is payable if the asbestos was the leading cause of death of the claimant. Post 1st May 2020, a bereavement award has been increased from £12,980 to £15,120. The person who can claim is usually the surviving spouse or partner, see a list of who can claim for a bereavement award. The family may also recover reasonable funeral expenses.
There are only a limited class of people who can claim for bereavement compensation award in a civil claim set out under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 as follows:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving civil partner
- Parents (if the child was under 18)
- Unmarried couples? (living together as husband and wife/same sex couple for at least two years before death.
To recover the compensation for the asbestos condition itself that caused the death and pain and suffering of the claimant, the family must claim the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1935, for the family will need to obtain probate, that is by a will if the claimant made one for a grant of probate where a solicitor can undertake the paperwork to deal with the claim, which will usually be on behalf of the ‘next of kin’ or the children of the deceased claimant.Contact Us Now To Claim
The average compensation of you can get for asbestos can be summarised as follows:
- Compensation for pain and suffering (the asbestos condition).
- Any loss of earnings
- Care services for family members looking after the claimant
- Medical expenses and prescription costs
- DIY and maintenance costs
- There could be many more compensation items that will depend upon individual facts of the case.
- Compensation for pain and suffering before death
- Bereavement award (if the right conditions are met)
- Funeral expenses
- Dependency award to family members
- There could be many more compensation items that will depend upon individual facts of the case.
The following is a summary of the claimant and family members claiming compensation for asbestos-related injury. There is a wide range, and the following is quite specific regarding certain case law, but there are also average compensation payments as guidance as well to consider.
- Mesothelioma – Serious disability leading to premature death: up to £105,000 (please note that some asbestos-related lung cancers and asbestosis may also be awarded compensation at this level)
- Lung Cancer – Usually older person and fatal, symptoms not generally as painful as mesothelioma: up to £86,000
- Asbestosis (pleural thickening of the lungs) – Disability, shortness of breath, prolonged coughing, sleep disturbance, restriction of mobility. The top-level award will be for victims where the disease is progressive, showing a significant impact on quality of life: up to £95,000
- Asbestosis and Pleural Thickening – Where breathlessness, frequent use of an inhaler, unable to tolerate smoky environment: up to £35,000
- Government Support for Victims of Mesothelioma – £123,000 (any claimant diagnosed with mesothelioma who cannot sue their former employers because they have gone bust and their employer’s insurance company cannot be traced may be able to obtain compensation from the Government).
The above figures are for general guidance. In addition to the above asbestos compensation claims payouts, there are other heads of damages that expert asbestos solicitors can claim on behalf of the victim and their family.Contact Us Now To Claim
There are common occupations that give rise to exposure to asbestos. They are typical, but the list below is by no means exhaustive. Due to the wide array of asbestos uses, it is thought that anyone could be exposed to the harmful fibres in buildings in which it was used. However, primarily, the people who have the highest risk of developing an asbestos-related disease are as follows:
- Construction Workers
This list is not exhaustive, for instance, teachers and pupils may be exposed due to working in old schools where asbestos remains even today. Also, there is case law where a family member, usually the deceased’s wife.
Given the serious and dangerous nature of asbestos, any products containing asbestos must be disposed of safely. There are special regulations in place to ensure that asbestos is disposed of correctly, preventing harm to people and the environment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) classes any waste containing more than 0.1% asbestos as ‘hazardous waste’. Therefore, the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 will apply.
Waste containing asbestos must be stored in double-wrapping in UN-approved packaging with correct labels identifying the hazard. For example, it’s recommended to attach a red label stating that the waste includes asbestos. Bags should not be overfilled or contain objects that may puncture the packaging. A Waste Consignment Note should be completed and kept with the package. A registered carrier can then collect and dispose of the waste at a licensed disposal site.
We recognise that if you are a victim of asbestos or a relative of someone who has died from an asbestos-related disease, you will be keen to know how much payout you can expect to receive. Unfortunately, so many variables affect an asbestos compensation payout, and we cannot provide an estimate without first hearing about your case. Factors that affect the final amount include the type of disease, your age, your length of suffering etc. For relatives, your payout will vary depending on how the death has affected your life, including the loss of financial support and services like childcare.
We hope this in-depth guide has provided an accurate representation of the average UK payouts for asbestos claims. The information above offers many great examples of asbestos payouts, and the case studies below show more real-life scenarios. Contact our solicitors to get a tailored estimate of how much you could get for your asbestos claim payout.
Below is a selection of real compensation payouts for asbestos claims after death as decided by UK Courts, so not construed as average compensation.
McCarn v Secretary of State 2014 [Scottish Case]
Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 s 4(3)(b), close family members of the deceased can claim compensation. In this case, the father of the five adult children who were making a claim received £35,000 each for the death of their father, who died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos whilst working for a Ship Building Company.
The damages awarded reflected that their mother had died of cancer earlier and, as a result, were all particularly close to their father, who was a very fit man before the disease took over. There is no similar law to compensate victims in England and Wales for bereavement compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Knauer v Ministry of Justice  £642.972.51 (46 years old)
The deceased was only 46 years old when she died of mesothelioma. She was employed as an administrator at a Dorset. The prison included many old buildings she was required to go in during her job. Many of these buildings contained asbestos which resulted in her untimely death.
The general guidance for asbestos-related compensation (see above) when the court decided the amount to be awarded was between £51,500 and £92,500.
In determining the amount, the court reflected on the pain and suffering she had to endure before death. Mesothelioma causes both severe pain and impairment of both function and quality of life. This may be of the pleura (the lung lining) or the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the latter is typically more painful.
There are a large number of factors which will affect the level of award within the bracket. These include but are not limited to the duration of pain and suffering, extent and effects of invasive investigations, extent and impact of radical surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Whether the mesothelioma is peritoneal or pleural, the extent to which the tumour has spread to encase the lungs and where other organs become involved causing additional pain and/or breathlessness, the level of the symptoms, domestic circumstances, age, level of activity and previous state of health.
Asbestos compensation after death awarded was £80,000 (for the injury, pain and suffering only). The total award after death for the asbestos claim was £642,972.51, this award was mainly for the deceased’s family under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Zambarda v Shipbreaking (Queenborough) Ltd. Total Award: £98,723 (75 years)
In this case, a very experienced judge decided in 2013 that the pain and suffering of a male worker due to mesothelioma was valued at £75,500 for the suffering he went through before death. He suffered slightly longer in duration than Kauer above (seven months from first symptoms, six months from diagnosis), but he was a lot older, 70, when he died.
The compensation payment was broken down as follows:
- Past care and assistance: £4,406
- Past case management: £3,674
- Inability to provide services to others: £3,656
- Miscellaneous expenses: £750
- Bereavement damages: £11,907
- Funeral expenses: £3,801
- Loss of dependency on Income (past and future): £70,529
- Overall total compensation payment: £98,723
Wolff v John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Ltd 2012 – £104,500
In this case, it is reported that the deceased died from mesothelioma aged 67 in 2007. The awards made by the Judge in 2011 under section 1(4) of the 1976 Act were as follows:
- £50,000 to the widow
- £15,000 to each of two adult daughters who lived away from home but had regular contact with the deceased
- £18,000 to the youngest daughter, aged 32, who lived at home and had relied on the deceased to a much greater extent than her siblings
- £6,500 to the granddaughter, on the basis that the bond between a grandchild and grandparent was less strong than the bond between child and parent
McGregor v Genco (FC) Ltd  £135,000
A case was decided in the Manchester County Court. The asbestos victim was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. A claim was brought against her former employer for damages for personal injury, alleging that she had contracted the illness due to asbestos exposure during her employment.
The claimant was aged 58 and developed malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. She began suffering from symptoms of mesothelioma in May 2012 with shortness of breath and lethargy and was diagnosed in August. The prognosis was poor.
The total award for the asbestos compensation after death was £135,000.
International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance plc UK Branch £250,000
In a case involving death due to exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma, the employee inhaled asbestos fibres in course of employment over many years.
The employee retired in April 2008 but did not enjoy a long retirement. In the same year, July 2008, he was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma, and he died within about a year from diagnosis.
Before he died, his solicitor took legal action for compensation for his asbestos-related condition. He claimed his illness was caused by its negligence and breach of statutory duty in exposing him to asbestos dust and fibres.
The claim was settled for £250,000 plus the solicitor’s legal costs.
Passmore v Evan Cook Ltd 2012 – (£192,437)
The employee contracted mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos at work. He was diagnosed in February 2011 with the presence of a large right pleural effusion and pleural plaques from exposure to asbestos during his employment. He had a life expectancy of six months with a likely range of three to nine months from September 2012.
The employee claimed damages for mesothelioma, which he alleged was caused by negligent exposure to asbestos in the course of his employment by the defendant. Between 1961/1962 and 1981, the claimant was employed and responsible for supervising the packing, removal and installation of industrial plant and equipment. In 2011, the claimant was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The claimant’s evidence was that while employed by the defendant, he had been exposed to asbestos dust from dismantling pipework from factory equipment.
At court, his health had deteriorated, and towards the end of the one-hour questioning, he required morphine as pain control. From time to time, he lost concentration. Under cross-examination, some of the claimant’s answers to questions suggested that exposure to asbestos during the relevant period could not be demonstrated.
Whilst the defendant submitted to the court that his evidence was unreliable, the judge dismissed the claims and found he was a reliable witness and established to the satisfaction of the court relevant exposure levels and working environment to prove a case. He was truthful and a careful witness, and therefore liability was proven against his employers.
Asbestos compensation after death was agreed between the solicitors at £168,000.
Eric Ward, the Widower and Executor of the Estate of Valerie Ward v RWE Npower PLC and Associated Electrical Industries Ltd  £113,000 (80 years old)
The deceased first experienced symptoms in July 2007 he sadly died in April 2011, shortly after being diagnosed in March 2011. The deceased contracted mesothelioma as a result of ‘secondary’ exposure. The deceased washed her husband and son’s overalls, which were covered in asbestos dust and fibres because of their work at the Aberthaw Power Station. Proceedings were issued, and the matter was settled.
The case was fast-tracked due to her condition under the mesothelioma scheme. Her family were awarded compensation of £113,000.
Baker v Tate & Lyle PLC  – £205,000
The Employee’s symptoms began in January 2011. At the time of the Trial, he was dying of mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos with a life expectancy of 2 to 6 months. He was 65 years old at the time when at court. He was only in his teenage working years when he was exposed to the deadly dust fibres.
The judge found that under Regulation 1 of the Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 and section 29 (1) of the Factories Act 1961 imposed a duty upon the defendant as an occupier. The defendant company did not come up with evidence to suggest they supplied their employee with effective breathing apparatus and adequate mechanical ventilation to not expose the claimant to asbestos.
As the defendant failed to provide this evidence, judgment was entered. The case settled for £205,000, with £80,000 allowed for general damages (that is, for the asbestos-related condition alone, pain and suffering). The additional about £125,000 was paid per the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for the dependents of the deceased.
Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change  £73,980/ £58,920.38 (pain and suffering)
Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura was diagnosed.
The employee was alive when the case came to court. Often quite unusual for a mesothelioma case, as often the victim of asbestos exposure has sadly died.
Between 1967 and 1985, the claimant was exposed to asbestos dust during his employment with the National Coal Board. He started to experience chest symptoms in January 2011. His condition deteriorated, and he was diagnosed as suffering from malignant mesothelioma in March 2011.
In September 2011, the claimant’s estimated life expectancy due to the malignant mesothelioma was between one to five months.
In April 2011, a left thoracoscopy was performed to remove the pleural effusion and relieve the claimant’s breathlessness.
The prognosis was inevitable deterioration, probably with worsening pain, increasing breathlessness, loss of appetite and weight and progressive debility.
It was likely the claimant would become wholly incapacitated and need constant nursing care towards the end of his life.
Had it not been for the mesothelioma, his life expectancy would have been 2.9 years.
Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity were awarded at £50,000.
Here the court awarded damages for lost years agreed at £19,376, and care and miscellaneous expenses were agreed at £4,179.16.Contact Us Now To Claim