Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, which grows in the pleura (the internal lining of the lungs) or the peritoneum (on the external lining of the lungs). Its sole known cause is exposure to asbestos and usually, but not exclusively, exposure to asbestos over long periods. Blue and brown asbestos, both cause mesothelioma, when their fibres are inhaled, usually on multiple occasions.
Most people who get asbestos disease do so because they worked in industries where they were repeatedly exposed to asbestos dust and fibres. Men who worked in construction trades were at high risk of developing mesothelioma or one of the other types of asbestos disease. As well as mesothelioma, other common asbestos-related conditions are:
- Asbestos-related lung cancer
- Pleural thickening
Mesothelioma is sometimes classified as a personal injury but is more accurately described as an industrial disease.
Why is mesothelioma still a problem?
The use of asbestos was banned in the UK in stages. Blue and brown asbestos are the most dangerous types of asbestos and they were banned in 1985. White asbestos, less dangerous, but not completely so, was banned in 1999.
The reason that mesothelioma and indeed the other asbestos diseases are still causing so many deaths is twofold:
- Whilst it was in use, in factories, shipyards, railways engineering works, the docks and numerous other places of work and types of occupation, workers were rarely if ever warned of the danger to health that breathing in asbestos fibres caused. To compound this, they were provided with no adequate personal protection equipment (PPE), in the form of masks or other protection. In most cases, they have received no kind of protection at all.
- The second reason it is still such a problem is that the disease of mesothelioma takes a long time to develop, after exposure – a very long time in many cases. There are few if any illnesses that take as many as 10 to 50 years to get a positive diagnosis for. However, that’s the case with mesothelioma. The point at where someone is diagnosed with an asbestos disease comes long after they received the exposure to asbestos that has resulted in getting the disease.
Sadly, there is no known cure yet, for mesothelioma. Drug trials are ongoing in an attempt to find something that will cure this form of cancer. There is optimism that a cure will be found and already certain drugs are helping to increase life expectancy for some mesothelioma sufferers.
Nevertheless, it remains the case that at this moment in time the average life expectancy for someone with malignant pleural mesothelioma is between 6 months and one year, from when the person is first diagnosed.
The last Health and Safety Executive asbestos disease statistics that were released are those from October 2019. The figures are based on deaths recorded in 2017. In that year, there were 2526 deaths from mesothelioma. This figure has been relatively constant over the last few years. Mesothelioma is still a major problem. It is anticipated that figures will start to go into decline in this next decade, but that has already been wrongly predicted to happen years ago. It remains to be seen whether the forecasts are correct this time
Making a mesothelioma compensation claim
To make any form of asbestos disease claim, a claimant needs to be able to prove that he or she was owed a duty of care by their employer and that that duty, if owed, has been breached. The employer must have had knowledge or be deemed to have had knowledge of the dangers caused by exposure to asbestos.
This is quite a complicated area of law. Suffice it to say here that expert asbestos disease compensation solicitors will usually be able to prove the legal requirements for bringing a claim for mesothelioma against the relevant employer(s), provided that the employer can be identified.
Asking an expert asbestos disease solicitor to help you is vitally important
If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, then we understand that your world will have been turned upside down in a heartbeat. So many things will be going through your mind. Making a mesothelioma claim might seem to be low down on your list of priorities at the moment. With respect, it shouldn’t be.
We have already noted that unfortunately, once mesothelioma has been diagnosed, life expectancy on average is little more than 12 months. Some people live longer (and indeed there are some rare exceptions who, with the assistance of immunotherapy and other types of drug, live considerably longer). They are the exceptions.
Finding an expert asbestos disease solicitor that you can put your trust in to start a mesothelioma claim for you, is one of the most important things that you can do, as soon as possible after a diagnosis of your condition.
At Mooneerams Solicitors, we work in conjunction with some of the best asbestos disease solicitors in the country. Our partnership with them was only entered into after we were totally satisfied that our clients would receive the exemplary standards of care to clients that we ourselves pride ourselves on providing for clients in other areas of personal injury law.
Our asbestos solicitor partners are not only experts at getting asbestos disease compensation for clients like you, but they will also help you to obtain the various special welfare benefits and lump sum payments that are available to mesothelioma suffers. They will find a local mesothelioma support group for you to join if you would like them to. Most importantly you will come to regard your mesothelioma solicitor as a friend that will be there for you for the rest of your life – someone for whom nothing is too much trouble. They’ll be someone to lean on.
Getting the mesothelioma claim underway
- Contact Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 or fill in your contact details online and we’ll get our asbestos disease solicitor partner to get in touch with you straight away. During your initial telephone conversation with the solicitor, you’ll be able to fire off all the questions that you will undoubtedly have and that you want answers too – they’ll be only too pleased to answer them for you.
- Within 5 working days, the specialist asbestos solicitor will come out to see you wherever in Wales or England you are. During this visit, the solicitor will take a fairly detailed statement from you. Mesothelioma claims rely heavily on you, with the aid of family and perhaps former work colleagues, to build as complete a picture of your work history as possible, including where you worked and when.
The solicitors will advise you about the benefits that you are, or maybe entitled to, such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance (AA) and a number of other benefits that may be relevant, depending on your particular circumstances.
In addition, anyone who gets mesothelioma is entitled to a lump-sum payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as long as civil proceedings in the form of a mesothelioma compensation claim have not yet been made. This doesn’t mean that court proceedings can’t be started at a later date, if necessary. However, it is advisable to put in the claim for the DWP lump sum as soon as possible.
- Back at the office our asbestos disease solicitors will then start the task of building the claim. This will include:
- Getting a detailed record of your work history from HMRC. This will show who you worked for and during what periods, going back to 1961.
- If any of the employers that you worked for no longer exist, our expert asbestos disease solicitors have access to their own carefully compiled database of dissolved companies and the insurance companies that insured them. Often the details of the insurance policy that was held at the time that you worked for them, is available too. If a company that was responsible for exposing you to asbestos has long since closed, then as long as the solicitors are able to trace which insurance company covered them, then your claim has a good chance of succeeding.
- The solicitor will obtain witness statements from former colleagues where possible. The aim is to build up a picture of the conditions that you worked under and the exposure to asbestos that you were subjected to.
- They will obtain your medical records. A medical report will be obtained to confirm the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
- Any other experts reports that the solicitor thinks will assist your particularly case e.g. reports from a care expert or a specialist engineering expert
- The solicitor will start corresponding with the relevant company (s)that you worked for and their insurance companies where known. Details of the claim will be sent to them and added to as reports arrive that will assist your claim.
All of this will be done in the knowledge that, sadly, time is of the essence. It is by no means the case that the defendants’ insurers or solicitors will simply settle the case without some resistance if they deny liability or even if they accept responsibility on behalf of your former employer, for causing you to get mesothelioma.
However, there is a universal understanding of the need for mesothelioma claims to be conducted with the utmost urgency.
If court proceedings become necessary because your solicitor and the defendant (your former employers) solicitors/insurance company can’t agree on a settlement, then there is a fast track procedure for mesothelioma claims.
This requires, in the case of ‘living mesothelioma claims’ i.e. where the claimant is still living at the time the claim is being made, that from serving the claim form (court papers) which starts the claim, to a court trial or hearing taking place, will be a period of no more than 16 weeks.
The aim of our asbestos solicitors is to try and ensure that your compensation claim is settled in time for you to receive some benefit from it during your lifetime. Of course, your concern will probably be just as much if not more, to ensure that your loved ones are provided for with the maximum amount of compensation for when you are no longer around
Getting the right asbestos disease solicitor on your side is crucial to try and ensure that settlement of the asbestos disease claim for mesothelioma compensation is made and settled within your lifetime. There are times when this simply isn’t possible. At least you can be assured that your family will remain in good hands and that the claim for compensation will continue to a successful conclusion, for their benefit.
Mooneerams solicitors in conjunction with their asbestos disease partners deal with mesothelioma claims and other types of asbestos disease compensation claims on behalf of clients from not just Cardiff and South Wales, but also the rest of the country and England. Our asbestos disease solicitors will travel nationwide to see new clients.
Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 for a FREE confidential chat with one of our asbestos claim solicitors or you can leave your details online and they will call you. Our asbestos disease partners guarantee you 100% compensation for mesothelioma claims.