Can I Make a Claim After Exposure to Asbestos?

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Carrie Tennick, September 17, 2021

Asbestos is a truly dangerous substance. But unfortunately, it’s one that a lot of people have come into contact with – leaving them facing an uncertain future.

It’s a natural material that was commonly used in building insulation, roofs and floors. Although its use was banned in the UK in 1999, this means a lot of people were exposed to it before that.

And that has led to many of them suffering from industrial diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer.

Can you claim for exposure to asbestos?

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make a compensation claim just for being exposed to asbestos. Compensation is awarded for harm caused – whether that’s an injury or an illness.

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and are now suffering the consequences – such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or other industrial diseases – you could be able to claim compensation.

This is often not as straightforward as it might be for other compensation claims, though. Mesothelioma and asbestosis can only start showing symptoms decades after the asbestos exposure.

That means that the company you worked for when you initially developed these conditions could have folded or lost their records relating to you. So it can sometimes be difficult to make a compensation claim.

How serious is asbestos exposure?

Despite it being banned in 1999, asbestos exposure is still responsible for the deaths of 5,000 workers every year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE has added that roughly 20 people who had been employed in trades die every week because of past exposure.

Because the symptoms of serious asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to start showing, it’s often too late to do anything to treat the illness when that does happen.

Asbestos is still present in buildings today. In general, as long as it is undisturbed, it is safe to stay in these buildings. But if a building needs to be refurbished, those doing the work could find that they are exposed to asbestos. If the fibres that are then released are breathed in, this can cause serious illnesses.

If this happens to you, you could be able to make a claim if your health then suffers.

Illnesses caused by asbestos exposure

Asbestos exposure can cause a number of different illnesses. The most common include:

Asbestosis is a condition that causes scarring of the lungs. This usually happens when a person has been exposed to asbestos for many years. It can cause persistent coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing, among other symptoms.

Lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure looks the same as other cases of lung cancer. The treatments are also the same – including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, chest pain and wheezing.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. It develops in the lining covering the surface of certain internal organs. It generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent coughing and fatigue.

The pleura is the lining of the lungs. When someone is exposed to asbestos, the pleura can thicken. This is caused by scar tissue developing. It can be a sign that mesothelioma has developed. It can cause shortness of breath and chest pain or discomfort.

What to do if asbestos exposure has made you ill

If you’ve suffered from a serious illness as a result of being exposed to asbestos through your work, you could make an industrial disease claim for compensation.

When there’s no cure for mesothelioma, this could go a long way towards helping secure your family’s future and making you more comfortable.

To find out how First4Lawyers could help you get the compensation you’re entitled to, just give us a call or start your claim online.

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