Exposure to asbestos is now known to cause a number of diseases ranging from pleural thickening and pleural plaques to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, all of which you can read more on here. While the symptoms of each of these conditions may vary in severity, all of them are incurable and lead to loss of lung function.
If you live in the UK and have been diagnosed with any type of asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to by law to compensation for your injuries.
While the legalities regarding asbestos exposure are clear, attempting to file for compensation without professional help can be challenging for several reasons.
1. The onus is on you to prove that your employer was aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure but wilfully disregarded these warnings putting you at risk for the disease.
2. All asbestos related diseases have long latency periods of about 20 to 30 years. You may be diagnosed with a milder condition at the time of filing the claim but a more serious condition may develop at a later time. Your claim must make provision for this eventuality.
3. You are entitled to claim compensation even if your exposure to asbestos was secondary – because you lived near an asbestos workshop or you inhaled the dust particles from a loved one’s clothing, skin or hair. Proving this can be difficult and will need resources that you may not have access to as a lay person.
4. If the company you were working with has since closed down, you will need to trace the insurance company that covered your employer at the time of exposure and file the claim against them. This too can be difficult without the proper resources.
5. When filing a written complaint with the court it is vital that the complaint complies with the court requirements in the way that it is written as well as the details that it provides. Failure to meet these requirements could void your complaint.
6. The defendant will almost certainly challenge your claim by arguing that it is not valid or that they are not responsible for the exposure. Answering to these arguments will require you to make numerous court appearances. It also means you will need to spend a lot of time preparing solid replies to these arguments.
What Benefits Are There to Hiring A Claims Lawyer?
The first most compelling reason to hire a lawyer to file your claim for compensation is that you don’t have to pay a penny from your pocket. If you have a letter from your doctor stating that you are suffering from an asbestos-related disease, almost without question any experienced lawyer will help you file your case on a No Win No Fee basis. This means they will do everything, from putting together the case and filing the complaint in court to arguing on your behalf without asking for any upfront fee.
You will only need to pay them after you have won the case and received the compensation amount into your account and that too, it is usually a set percentage of the total amount that you receive. Most of their fees will come from the defendant’s insurance company.
In addition to money matters, experienced lawyers are also more knowledgeable about the many legal clauses concerning asbestos exposure, many of which can be confusing to the lay person. They have the resources necessary to obtain all of the information they need in the shortest time possible. This can make a huge difference when you consider the 3 year statute of limitations for filing your case. Experienced lawyers also know which details they can use to give you the advantage.
What You Should Know Regarding The Statute Of Limitations
In the UK, a compensation claim for asbestos exposure must be filed within 3 years of the first symptoms of the disease/the diagnosis of the disease. The claim will not be accepted by the court if it is filed after the 3 year period.
Underestimating this statute of limitations is the biggest mistake that most people make when filing an asbestos compensation claim. There is a lot of information to be gathered and put together and this needs to be done while you at the same time also attending to professional and personal commitments along with medical treatment for your symptoms. All of this can easily take you over the time limit causing you to lose any hope of compensation.
An experienced lawyer knows the risks involved and will work as quickly and efficiently as possible to put together a strong case on your behalf and file it before the legal deadline.