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Mesothelioma Booklet – Introduction

What is mesothelioma and how is it caused?

Mesothelioma is a tumour (or cancer) which usually grows in the pleura (the external lining of the lungs) or the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).

It was not generally recognised until the late 1950s and is nearly always caused by exposure to asbestos. There is a long latency period between when the exposure to asbestos took place and when symptoms develop. At its shortest, this is 12-15 years and it is typically about 30-40 years, although cases of 60-70 years have been reported.

The amount of exposure to asbestos required for mesothelioma to develop is not known, but medical science has not ruled out that very low levels of exposure can cause the disease. Mesothelioma can result from exposure to blue or brown asbestos. White asbestos is less dangerous than these two types of asbestos but there is a lot of evidence which indicates that it can cause mesothelioma.

There are two types of compensation for mesothelioma. The first is welfare benefits and a lump sum paid by the Department for Work & Pensions. The second is a different lump sum, known as “damages”, which can be claimed using a solicitor from one or more of the companies or organisations responsible for the individual’s exposure to asbestos. The right to claim each type of compensation is separate from the other. In other words, if someone receives welfare benefits/lump sum for his/her mesothelioma he/she can still claim damages, and vice versa.

This guide has been produced by Moore Blatch LLP. This guide is intended to set out general information, it is not intended to be a replacement for detailed legal advice.

To the extent permitted by law, Moore Blatch LLP will not be liable by reason of breach of contract, negligence or otherwise, for any loss or consequential loss occasioned to any person acting, omitting to act, or refraining from acting in reliance upon this material, or arising from or connected with any error or omission in this material. Consequential loss means any loss of anticipated profits, damage to reputation or goodwill, loss of expected future business, damages, costs or expenses payable to any third party or any other indirect losses.

The copyright in this material belongs to Moore Blatch LLP and it may not be reproduced in any form (in whole or in part) without the prior permission of Moore Blatch LLP. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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