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Frequently asked questions

Do I have a claim?

How much does it cost to make a claim?

How do I make a claim?

How is a claim valued?

How long will a claim take?

What happens if I die before the claim is concluded?

Will I have to appear in court?

What is the time limit for claims?

What happens if the defendant has been dissolved and its insurers cannot be identified?

Should I make a Will or, if I already have one, review this?

I was exposed to asbestos whilst serving with the armed forces, can I make a claim?

How can I find a suitable solicitor?

I have pleural plaques. Can I make a claim?


Do I have a claim?

If you have an asbestos disease, our solicitors may be able to claim a lump sum of compensation, known as damages. As most asbestos diseases result from exposure to asbestos in work, most claims are made against an individual's employer/employers.

Damages claims can also be made if an individual was exposed to asbestos at home (because another member of the family brought home asbestos dust on his/her working clothes) or through living near an asbestos factory.

A claim for damages is more complicated and takes longer than claims for welfare benefits and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) lump sum. It is important that you contact a solicitor who specialises in asbestos claims and to do this as soon as possible.

If you have received a lump sum payment from the DWP and/or welfare benefits for your asbestos disease, you are still entitled to make a claim through a solicitor. Damages are nearly always higher than the welfare benefits and lump sum paid by the DWP.

The amounts of benefits and lump sum which have been paid are taken into account and would be deducted, in whole or in part (depending on the particular circumstances of your case), from any damages you receive.

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How much does it cost to make a claim?

At Moore Blatch we make our initial investigations for free with no obligation to proceed. If you do proceed with a claim, we will take the time to go through our payment options to ensure you don't have to worry about the legal costs.

We act for all of our clients under a 'no win-no fee' agreement; if your claim is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal costs.

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How do I make a claim?

After our specialist team completes an investigation into your case, we will advise you about the prospects of a claim succeeding, with all initial advice for an asbestos claim given for free and no obligation to proceed.

We will meet with you, ideally in person at your home, to take a detailed statement about how you came into contact with asbestos dust, and to get the general picture of your working history and your personal and financial situation.

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How is a claim valued?

If a claim is successful, a lump sum (damages) is awarded. There are two parts to this:

  1. An amount for the pain and suffering caused by your asbestos condition;

  2. Compensation for the financial consequences of your disease, such as loss of earnings and/or pension and the cost/value of nursing care and equipment.

Damages are not subject to Income Tax. An award does not affect your right to continue to receive non-means tested welfare benefits (e.g. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Personal Independence Payment/Attendance Allowance).

If you receive means tested benefits, you can set up a trust into which your damages are paid. This is a straightforward procedure and ensures that you can still receive means tested benefits after an award of damages.

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How long will a claim take?

Straightforward mesothelioma and lung cancer cases sometimes settle within about four months of the solicitor starting work. If court proceedings have to be issued (which does not necessarily mean that there will be a trial), mesothelioma and lung cancer cases follow a 'fast track' procedure. This aims to conclude cases within about four months of issue, and often the Defendant is required to make a payment on account of damages (usually £50,000) within about two months of issue.

Asbestosis and pleural thickening claims generally take between about 6 and 18 months to conclude.

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What happens if I die before the claim is concluded?

The executors or administrators of your estate can pursue the claim.

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Will I have to appear in court?

Although this is a possibility, nearly all asbestos claims conclude with a negotiated settlement before the date of the court hearing. Probably less than 1% are decided at a trial.

If there is a court hearing, you will be represented by a barrister who will prepare you thoroughly for it and the judge will also most certainly be sympathetic to you.

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What is the time limit for claims?

The law normally requires court proceedings to be issued within three years of the date that you were first told that you have a disabling asbestos related disease. It is advisable to contact a solicitor as soon as possible after your diagnosis.

If you are bringing a claim on behalf of someone who has died from an asbestos disease, the law normally requires court proceedings to be issued within three years of the person's death.

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What happens if the defendant has been dissolved and its insurers cannot be identified?

If the defendant/defendants to a claim has/have been dissolved, but the defendant's/s' insurers can be identified, the claim can effectively be brought against them.

Sometimes, however, the insurance company cannot be located because the records have been lost or destroyed. A civil claim for damages cannot, then, be pursued.

To go towards correcting this injustice, insurance companies have set up the diffuse mesothelioma payment scheme, which makes compensation payments in cases of mesothelioma where there has been exposure to asbestos that was negligent or unlawful and where the defendant has been dissolved and the insurer has not been identified.

The scheme began operating in July 2014. It only applies to men and women diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after July 2012 and awards are for 80% of the average value that the claim would have had if it could have been pursued for damages against the defendant or its insurers.

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Should I make a Will, or if I already have one, review this?

Yes. This is especially important if you have a partner but are not married. You can contact our Wills team here for more information.

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I was exposed to asbestos whilst serving with the armed forces, can I make a claim?

If your only exposure to asbestos dust took place when you served in one of the armed forces, you are not entitled to bring a claim for damages unless you were exposed after 15 May 1987.

In place of this right, you may be entitled to a war disablement pension and other related benefits. These are administered by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA).

It must be stressed that the prohibition on civil claims only applies to servicemen and not to civilian employees who worked for the armed forces - civilians are entitled to make a claim for damages against the Ministry of Defence.

The branch of armed forces which has been most affected by asbestos diseases is  the royal navy. It is the policy of the SPVA not to require proof of exposure to asbestos in the case of men and women who served in the royal navy in a sea going capacity between 1939 and 1971. Ex-servicemen and women in this category only have to prove that they served at sea during this period and that they have a disabling asbestos condition in order to receive a war disablement pension.

If you were exposed to asbestos dust both as a serviceman/woman and as a civilian outside the armed forces, you can pursue a claim for damages against the defendant/s in question. If the claim is successful you are still entitled to a war disablement pension but the amount of this would be reduced to take account of the award of damages.

Also, if an ex-serviceman/woman who was awarded war disablement benefit for an asbestos condition dies from this disease and leaves a widow/widower, she/he is entitled to a war widow's/widower's pension.

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How can I find a suitable solicitor?

It is important to instruct a solicitor who is experienced in and who specialises in asbestos disease claims. It would be fair to ask a solicitor the following:

  • How many asbestos related disease claims have you handled in the past 12 months?

  • Do you offer a free first interview?

  • Will your meetings with me be at my home?

  • Will you act for me under a 'no win, no fee' agreement?

  • Will you take out insurance to protect me from having to pay legal costs and expenses if my claim is unsuccessful?

  • If my claim succeeds, do you ensure that I keep all or most of the damages awarded?

A suitable solicitor may be recommended by:

  • The claimant's treating consultant or lung cancer nurse specialist (a list is sometimes given out);

  • The law society;

  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL);

  • An asbestos victim support group.

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I have pleural plaques, can I make a claim?

In 2007, the House of Lords decided that pleural plaques were not a sufficiently serious condition to warrant the payment of damages.

Since then, the law in England and Wales has been that claims for damages for pleural plaques are not allowed.

The Scottish and Northern Irish Parliaments have passed statutes which overturned this law. These allow men and women with pleural plaques who were exposed to asbestos in Scotland and Northern Ireland to claim damages.

It is important that if you have pleural plaques and were exposed to asbestos in Scotland and/or Northern Ireland you contact a solicitor without delay. This is because the three year period for issuing court proceedings (see 'What is the time limit for claims?') applies following diagnosis of pleural plaques. If you do not do so, your claim may become time barred.

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