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Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops due to exposure to asbestos. It mainly affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) but it can also affect the lining of the stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma).
Sadly, more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK and there is currently no cure, although treatment can help control some of the symptoms. Most cases occur in people aged 60 to 80 and men tend to be more commonly affected than women.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were exposed to asbestos many years ago.
Specialist asbestos disease solicitor Graeme Chisholm outlines the seven steps to making a mesothelioma compensation claim:
1. Get expert legal advice
If you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace, you should consider making a claim for compensation. It is important you contact an experienced asbestos disease solicitor as soon as possible. Mesothelioma claims require expertise and experience. Only a specialist asbestos disease solicitor will be able to secure you maximum compensation.
2. Understand the law is on your side
Legislation is in place to help you and your family. Compensation is available for wrongful exposure to asbestos and to compensate you for any reduction in your quality of life. Don’t worry if you have no idea how you came into contact with asbestos, your asbestos disease solicitor will investigate your claim fully and will track down those responsible and their insurers on your behalf.
3. Don’t worry about when you were exposed to asbestos
It can take many years to develop mesothelioma and you may not get any symptoms until several decades after the initial exposure to asbestos. This means that you may not get diagnosed with mesothelioma until long after a former employer or an organisation has moved on or gone out of business. In these cases, it’s not too late – you may still be able to submit a claim to the liability insurer.
4. Understand what you can claim for
If you make a mesothelioma compensation claim, the amount of money you receive will compensate you for: getting the disease; past and future losses including earnings; any care that family members or those close to you are providing; any additional purchases relating to the disease (e.g. mobility aids); any travel expenses to hospital or GP appointments and other associated costs.
5. Claim the state benefits you’re entitled to
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to receive certain state benefits, even if you are retired, such as: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB); Personal Independence Payment (PIP); Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Blue Badge and Attendance Allowance. Your specialist asbestos disease solicitor can advise you on the state benefits available and how to claim them.
6. Apply for government compensation schemes
You may be entitled to make a claim for certain government compensation schemes, sometimes referred to as government ‘lump sum payments’. The schemes available are: the Workers’ Compensation Act which provides lump sum payments to workers whose employer or insurer cannot be traced and Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments which provides lump sum compensation for all those diagnosed with mesothelioma, regardless of how the asbestos exposure happened. Your asbestos disease solicitor can provide more advice on the compensation schemes available.
7. Consider joining an asbestos support group
There are many support groups available for people just like you who’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. They hold regular coffee mornings and offer a wealth of advice and support for mesothelioma patients and their families. Joining a support group is an ideal way to meet others living with asbestos disease, make new friends and share experiences and learning.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our expert team of specialist asbestos disease solicitors can help.
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