Compensation for Asbestos-Related Illness

Compensation for Asbestos-Related Illness: An Introduction

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with any disease associated with asbestos you would be highly recommended to speak with an experienced personal injury solicitor for advice about claiming compensation for an asbestos related illness. That such illnesses are chronic and progressive, their highly serious nature and the fact that there is no cure, obtaining compensation for an illness caused by asbestos is of utmost importance to the sufferer.

Substantial medical treatment is frequently required and long term use of medication and bottled oxygen would generally be needed. Extensive costs are required to make life comfortable for the victim and their families leading to the necessity for asbestos-related disease victims and their loved ones to make asbestos-related disease claims for compensation. Symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses can begin as mild but can deteriorate over time and have, in many cases, proven to be fatal.

Asbestos exposure is more likely to have happened in a work environment, and employers have a duty of care to ensure that their staff members are not in a position where the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases is high. Therefore, exposure to asbestos in the workplace can often result in successful asbestos-related illness compensation claims being made against former employers.

Anyone considering making asbestos-related disease claims for compensation would be well advised to obtain legal advice from a specialist asbestos-related illness compensation claims solicitor to establish eligibility to claim compensation, and also to discover the various procedures that must be taken in order to initiate asbestos-related illness compensation claims.

Eligibility to Make Asbestos-Related Disease Claims for Compensation

In order to be entitled to make a claim for compensation for asbestos-related illnesses, the actions – or lack of action – of a third party must have been responsible for your exposure to asbestos. Compared with other compounds which are acknowledged as begin a danger to health, there is no safe level to asbestos exposure. However, it must be established that the victim was exposed to asbestos and that the exposure has been the direct cause of the disease which the victim suffers with, to be eligible to make asbestos-related illness compensation claims.

Your employers will be considered to have failed in their duty of care to you, if you were required to work with – or in the vicinity of – asbestos and were not provided with safety equipment. Employers were aware of the harm asbestos could cause the respiratory system from exposure even before asbestos was found to cause lung cancers and along with having a moral responsibilty to provide their employees with a safe working environment, had a duty of care to do so.

Asbestos-related disease claims for compensation can be made when exposure to asbestos could have been avoided. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a disease attributed to asbestos, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of how you have contracted the disease to determine your entitlement to make asbestos-related illness compensation claims.

Diseases Associated with Asbestos

Those making compensation for asbestos-related illness claims are usually affected by the following diseases:

  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer
  • Non Malignant Pleural Disease (Asbestos Pleural Disease)
  • Diffuse Pleural Thickening
  • Pleural Plaques

Asbestos illnesses predominantly affect the lungs and upper respiratory system; although it has been suggested that other areas such as the mouth, throat, nose, stomach and ovaries could also be affected by asbestos exposure, and recent research in the UK concluded that heart disease and the occurrence of strokes could be accelerated if the victim has been exposed to asbestos.

Featured below is an overview making claims for three of the main types of asbestos-related disease.

Claims for Asbestos Lung Cancer Compensation

Compensation for asbestos-related disease – in this case lung cancer – can often be made against the third party responsible for exposing the victim to asbestos, usually a former employer.

A claim for asbestos lung cancer compensation must prove that there was third party negligence involved, and that a duty of care that was owed to the victim was breached. This breach must be deemed to be the reason why the asbestos lung cancer was contracted and, it must be demonstrated that an employer is liable through their inaction – or lack of inaction.

Compensation claims for asbestos lung cancers are typically made by workers who have been employed in industries where there has been persistent exposure to asbestos. People who have been exposed to asbestos are those most at risk of contracting lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases, since any level of exposure to asbestos can be the cause. In cases where it can be established that a third party was responsible for exposure to asbestos, and that exposure has caused lung cancer, claims for asbestos lung cancer compensation can be made.

Claims for Pleural Thickening Compensation

You may be able to claim compensation for asbestos-related illness if you have been diagnosed with plural thickening – for which there is no known cure – and which is regarded as an early indication of more serious diseases associated with asbestos if your condition can be attributed to exposure to asbestos.

Even when your asbestos exposure happened many years before, even decades ago,  there is still the possibility that you can claim compensation for pleural thickening against the negligent party responsible.

Claims for Asbestosis Compensation

Asbestosis is generally caused by heavy, protracted exposure to asbestos – although low levels of exposure to asbestos can also be a catalyst for this possibly fatal illness. Irrespective of the level of asbestos exposure, however, symptoms of asbestosis do not usually appear until many years after exposure to asbestos dust or fibres. In fact, there have been cases where the symptoms of asbestosis did not manifest until 20 – 30 years after exposure. It is still possible, however, to make a claim for compensation.

The Statute of Limitations in Ireland is usually set at two years from the date of an accident in which personal injuries have been sustained. This tenet is strictly enforced and means that the potential plaintiff must take steps in making a claim for compensation within two years. However, as the symptoms of asbestosis and other asbestos-related illnesses do not generally manifest for many years after exposure, it is the “date of knowledge” of the illness which marks the beginning of the two year claim time period.

Compensation for Asbestos-Related Illness: Conclusion

Making compensation for asbestos-related illness claim was previously only possible when asbestos exposure created an asbestos-related illness, and when that exposure occurred in the place of work. An employer would have been liable to pay compensation to the victims if they failed in their duty of care to protect workers from the exposure, with compensation being paid by the employer’s insurance company.

However, legislation in Ireland has changed as regards compensation laws in recent years meaning that there is now the possibility for the relatives of former employees to make asbestos-related illness compensation claims. The families of those workers exposed to asbestos were placed with a higher risk of developing a disease relating to asbestos as dust and fibres can easily be transmitted to the home from the place of work on clothing, hair and shoes. Nevertheless, as changes in Irish legislation occur frequently, a personal injury compensation solicitor should be contacted for current advice on making asbestos-related illness compensation claims in Ireland.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease – or have suffered a stroke/developed heart disease after being exposed to asbestos – it is important that you consult with an experienced solicitor before making any asbestos-related disease claims for compensation as soon as possible after the diagnosis has been confirmed. It may be the case that such claims for compensation would benefit more from a specialist solicitor, although a personal injury compensation solicitor may still be willing to take on your claim.

The experience of a specialist asbestos-related disease compensation solicitor can make all the difference to the successful outcome of a claim for compensation and with specialist advice; you will have the best possible opportunity of gaining a quick and reasonable compensation for the disease.