mesothelioma claim

Mesothelioma Claim Guide: Compensation For Exposure To Asbestos Fibres

Malignant cancer in the lining of organs can develop many years after exposure to asbestos fibres – in this article we set out all the considerations you should take into before making a mesothelioma claim.

What is a mesothelioma claim for compensation?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer affecting the lining (mesothelium) of certain organs in your upper body.

The most common know cause of mesothelioma is from exposure to asbestos fibres, which might be inhaled into your body or ingested in some other way.

Once in your body – the tiny asbestos fibres can get caught in the lining of certain organs and over many years can lead to a type of cancer.

Mesothelioma can be caused by as little as one single asbestos fibre embedding itself in the mesothelium and becoming malignant (growing in an uncontrollable way and spreading to other tissues and other parts of the body).

Look out – mesothelioma caused from asbestos will normally exhibit symptoms when it is malignant and at present there is no known cure for malignant mesothelioma. Whereas benign mesothelioma is a growth of the mesothelium that can be removed by surgery and is not usually life threatening.

If you experience malignant mesothelioma from a current or past work exposure or even if you had the exposure indirectly as a person washing the clothes of someone exposed to mesothelioma or even exposed in the air from local industry – you may be entitled to a mesothelioma claim.

Be aware – if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma you should speak to a solicitor immediately even if you are uncertain of where your exposure came from or you were self-employed as you may be able to claim compensation.

What types of asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma?

It is generally believed that mesothelioma is more likely to be caused from the straight fibres of either blue or brown asbestos. See our asbestos exposure at work article to read about the different types of asbestos fibres you may be exposed to.

What are the types of mesothelioma?

In the same way that mesothelioma derives its name from the mesothelium – the types of mesotheliomas are derived from the name of the specific organ membrane, sac or lining that the mesothelioma cancer affects.

Pleural mesothelioma

The pleura is a folded membrane in your chest making the two layered pleural sac.

The visceral pleura forms the inner layer of the pleural sac and primarily surrounds your lungs and bronchi (main airways to your lungs from the windpipe).

The parietal pleura is the outer membranous layer of the pleural sac that attaches to your chest wall.

The cancer that affects the pleura is known as pleural mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma claims are the most common type of mesothelioma claims as most asbestos fibres are airborne inhaled into the body.

mesothelioma lung disease
Mesothelioma Lung Disease

Pericardium mesothelioma

The pericardium is the double walled sac that encloses your heart.

Malignant cancer in this lining of the heart is known as pericardium mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

The peritoneum is a membrane in your abdominal cavity and surrounds the organs of your abdomen – including the stomach, liver, spleen, gallbladder and pancreas.

The mesentery is a membrane attaching your intestines to your abdominal wall.

If malignant cancer develops in either the peritoneum or mesentery – you will be suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma

The tunica vaginalis is the membrane that lines the testes. Malignant cancer in this membrane is known as testicular mesothelioma.

Testicular mesothelioma claim is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma compensation claims.

How long does it take for the symptoms of mesothelioma to develop?

Mesothelioma can take decades to develop and show symptoms from the initial exposure to asbestos fibres.

Regretfully, malignant mesothelioma is fatal – once symptoms start death typically follows a relatively short time afterwards although there are treatments that can reduce pain and prolong life.

Who can make a mesothelioma claim?

A mesothelioma disease claim can be made by the victim or by the estate of the deceased mesothelioma victim.

Family members are also entitled to claim in their own right for compensation for the premature death of the mesothelioma victim.

Who can you make your compensation claim against?

Mesothelioma disease claims are generally made against the person or business who is legally at fault for the exposure to asbestos dust. This will generally be an employer or former employer, but there are other examples of local industries that could be found at fault.

What happens if a former employer is no longer in business?

A mesothelioma claim can still be made even if a former employer is no longer in business. Your solicitor will attempt to trace your former employer’s liability insurer that was in place at the time of your exposure. That insurance company (or any successor business insurers) can be held accountable for paying compensation for your injury.

Be aware – if an insurance company cannot be found, you may still be able to make a claim via a government scheme, such as the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme.

Which employer do you make a mesothelioma claim against?

If you had several employers who exposed you to asbestos it is virtually impossible to establish which employer exposed you to the one fatal strand of asbestos which led to your mesothelioma.

Do not despair – your solicitor may be able to mesothelioma claim against all of the employers who exposed you to asbestos dust for all of your mesothelioma compensation.

Can you claim mesothelioma compensation if you are no longer living in the UK?

Mesothelioma is a condition, which can develop decades after exposure to asbestos fibres.

It is therefore all too common that you may have been exposed whilst working in the UK before having emigrated to a new country of residence

When you are diagnosed with mesothelioma – you may still be in time to claim compensation and the fact that you are now overseas should not stop you from being able to make mesothelioma claim in the UK.

Which country should you start your mesothelioma claim for compensation?

This question is best answered using an example

Example – Imagine you were born in England where you lived and worked until the age of 30 when you emigrated with your family to Australia where you currently reside with your wife and children. At the age of 55 you are diagnosed with mesothelioma having been caused by exposure to asbestos in your job in England as a surveyor.

In this example – your exposure happened in England and although mesothelioma developed while your were in Australia your claim is against your former employer in England and is subject to English law, so you should commence your claim in England.

How long do you have to make a mesothelioma compensation claim?

Mesothelioma can develop many years after exposure to asbestos and it is impossible to predict whether it will occur until symptoms develop and you are medically diagnosed.

You will therefore typically have three years from the date your doctor diagnosed your injury to commence a claim.

However – when claiming via a government scheme this time-period may vary depending on the scheme rules.

Watch out – calculating how long you have to claim can be tricky. As a rule of thumb as soon as you find out you have mesothelioma, contact a solicitor without delay.

Can a claim still be made if you pass away from mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is regretfully likely to be fatal and should you die within three years of the date of diagnosis (or be diagnosed on death) your estate or family members should have another three years from the date of your death to commence a compensation claim.

If you are in the process of making a claim when you die – you can rest assured that your estate can continue your mesothelioma claim after you have gone.

Who can claim compensation if mesothelioma proves fatal?

There are a number of individuals who may be able to claim compensation if your mesothelioma proves fatal, which may include your estate (whether or not you have made a will); close family members (including spouse and partner) and dependants.

See our detailed articles concerning fatal injury claims for more details.

What should you do if you are suffering from mesothelioma and wish to consider making a claim?

As soon as you are diagnosed with mesothelioma you must act quickly and contact a specialist solicitor to commence your mesothelioma claim.

Be aware – once your claim is commenced, even should you die before the claim is over – your estate can continue the claim until a resolution is achieved.

Diagnosis of mesothelioma will be an extremely emotional time and you might want to speak with a specialist solicitor about your potential mesothelioma claim or have your claim assessed online free of charge.

We offer a number of free online and telephone help options – including asking an online question or speaking direct to our specialist solicitors about your potential claim.