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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 diagnosis of mesothelioma is made.


Get Financial Help for Asbestos Compensation

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, and 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 case to be completed.

You can speak to us now about how you can obtain financial support before the case is concluded.


Who Can Get Compensation for Asbestos Exposure?

The claimant who has been 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 took place.

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 will be able to advise.

In addition to the claimant, members of the family may also claim. This is often in more severe cases where the claimant requires help and care to look after them, usually their partner.

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 a least the minimum wage for the number of hours per they spend looking after the claimant.

This compensation for asbestos for the partner alone can be worth a lot 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 due to asbestos exposure, there can be a claim for the family under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. This can lead to the following claim for mesothelioma compensation for family members:

  • Bereavement awarded for the partner of the claimant - £15,210
  • Dependency claims for family members - this can be financial dependency and or for care and assistance that thecClaimant provided for another before death. The compensation can be significant according to the facts of the case.

Get in touch today to find out more.


Which Family Member Can Claim Compensation?

Living Claimants

Where the claimant is living it is usually the partner of the Claimant 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 be helping in cooking, cleaning, washing, hygiene duties and similar.  As explained the amount of hours per day spent can be calculated in compensation.

Compensation for the asbestosis condition for the pain, suffering and worry of the diagnosis.  This calculation of the asbestos payout will be with reference to 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 Claimant’s case with other case law and advise the Claimant on how much compensation he/she 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 their own particular facts. But typically a guide can be set out below:

  • Young Claimant serious pain and impairment £120,000
  • Lung cancer diagnosis with severe impairment (older claimant) £90,000
  • Breathing difficulties frequent coughing and lack of sleep £65,000
  • Breathing problems, requires use of inhaler £50,000
  • Constant wheezing but no serious impairment £30,000

In addition, the family can get compensation for asbestos where they have to care for the claimant who suffers, say from asbestosis, the partner, say the wife of the claimant has to attend to his needs and care for him, she helps him wash, bathe, cooks and cleans for him, she also now has to attend to the garden, mow the lawn and get tradesmen in to work around the house where before diagnosis her husband would undertake.  This means that they will have to pay for these tradesmen costs which would have been free before.

Thus 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 say 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 10 years the compensation may be calculated at 10 years x £13,104 = £131,040.

This is just a guide, there are other background calculations that asbestos solicitors would use to calculate accurately the compensation level for the services.

In addition, as regards to maintenance and DIY costs that they will have to pay out where before diagnosis the claimant would have done this 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 costing of about say £1,000 per year. Again if we multiply this by the life expectancy of the claimant, here we have said 10 years, this will mean a claim for £10,000.

There may of course be other claims for compensation, but the above is just a very basic guide to help understand how asbestos claims for compensation can be significant.


Claimants Who Have Sadly Died Due to Asbestosis

The law is different where the claimant has died.  The levels of compensation for the pain and suffering will be calculated similar 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 then 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.


What Are the Common Occupations?

There are common occupations that give rise to exposure to asbestos.  The 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 which it was used. However primarily, the people who have the highest risk of developing an asbestos related disease are as follows:

  • Shipbuilders
  • Construction Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Boilermakers
  • Joiners
  • Electricians
  • Plasterers
  • Roofers
  • Plumbers

This list in not exhaustive, for instance teachers and pupils may be exposed due to working in old Schools where asbestos still remains even today. Also there is case law where a family member, usually the wife of the deceased.


List of Family Members Who Can Claim

Below is a list of possible dependents who may have been financially dependent upon the deceaed and/or received some form of care or ‘services’ from the deceased before death and that financial or service was likley to contiune 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.
  • An person living in the same household as the deceased immediately before the death and who had been living with the deceased in the same household 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 case the main 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 prior to death.

To recover the compensation for the asbestos condition itself that caused the death and pain and suffering of the Claimant the family must make a claim under 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.


Summary of Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

The average compensation of you can get for asbestos can be summarised as follows:

Living Claimants

  • Compensation for pain and suffering (the asbestos condition).
  • Any loss of earnings
  • Care services for family members looking after the Claimant
  • Medical expenses, prescription costs
  • DIY and maintenance costs
  • There could be many more items of compensation that will be dependent upon individual facts of the case.

Deceased Claimants

  • Compensation for pain and suffering before death
  • Bereavement award (if right conditions are met)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Dependency award to family members
  • There could be many more items of compensation that will be dependent upon individual facts of the case.


Average Compensation Payouts for Asbestos

As explained above each compensation claim for asbestos will be decided on its own particular facts of the case so the Claimant and family members must seek advice from an expert asbestos claim solicitor

Below more examples of average compensation payouts in real cases where a person has died due to mesothelioma and asbestos related conditions.

Zambarda v Shipbreaking (Queenborough) Ltd. Total Award: £98,723 (75 years)
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

McGregor v Genco (FC) Ltd [2014] £135,000
The claimant’s was aged 58, developed she malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. She began suffering with symptoms of mesothelioma in May 2012 with shortness of breath and lethargy and was diagnosed in August. The prognosis was poor. Total award for the asbestos compensation after death: £135,000.


Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

The following is a summary for the claimant and family members claiming compensation for asbestos related injury.  There is a wide range and the following may is quite specific regarding certain case law but there are also average compensation payments as guidance as well to consider.  The

  • 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 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 other heads of damages that expert asbestos solicitor can claim on behalf of the victim and their family.


Average Compensation for Asbestos

Below are 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 the fact that their mother had died of cancer earlier and as a result were all particularly close to their father, who as a very fit man before the disease too 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 [2014] £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 to she was required to go in the course of her job. Many of these buildings contained asbestos which resulted in her untimely death.

The general guidance for asbestos related compensation (see above) at the time the Court was deciding on 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 causing both severe pain and impairment of both function and quality of life. This may be of the pleura (the lung lining) or of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity); the latter being 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 duration of pain and suffering, extent and effects of invasive investigations, extent and effects 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 full award after death for the asbestos claim was £642,972.51, this award was mainly for the family of the deceased 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 compared to 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; and
  • £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 [2014] £135,000

A case 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 the course of employment.

The claimant’s was aged 58, developed she malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. She began suffering with symptoms of mesothelioma in May 2012 with shortness of breath and lethargy and was diagnosed in August. The prognosis was poor.

Total award for the asbestos compensation after death: £135,000

International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance plc UK Branch £250,000

A case that involved death due to exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma where the employee inhaled asbestos fibers in course of employment over many years.

The employee retired in April 2008, but he 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 solicitors 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 by 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 the supervision of 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 the dismantling of 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 of time could not be demonstrated.

Whilst the defendant submitted to the court that his evidence was unreliable, the Judge dismissed the claims and found in, fact, 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 [2012] £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 settled.

The case was ‘Fast Tracked’ due to her condition under the mesothelioma scheme.  Her family were awarded compensation in the sum of £113,000.

Baker v Tate & Lyle PLC [2012] –  £205,000

The Employee’s symptoms began in January 2011. At the time of the Trial, he was dying of mesothelioma as a result of 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 fibers.

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 occupier.  The Defendant company did not come up with any evidence to suggest they supplied their employee with effective breathing apparatus and effective mechanical ventilation, so as not to expose the Claimant to asbestos.

As the Defendant failed to provide this evidence, Judgment was entered and the case settled in the sum of £205,000, with £80,000 allowed for general damages (that is for the asbestos related condition alone, pain and suffering).  The additional about of £125,000 was paid in accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, for the dependents of the deceased.

Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2012] £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 in the course of 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 a malignant mesothelioma in March 2011.

In September 2011 the claimant’s estimated life expectancy as a result of the malignant mesothelioma was between one to five months.

In April 2011 a left thoracoscopy was performed to remove the pleural effusion and to relieve the claimant’s breathlessness.

The prognosis was for inevitable deterioration probably with worsening pain, increasing breathlessness, loss of appetite and weight and progressive debility.

It was likely the claimant would become completely incapacitated and in need of 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 were agreed at £19,376 and care and miscellaneous expenses were agreed at a further £4,179.16.

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