Asbestosis Claims: All You Need to Know

Asbestosis Claims: All You Need to Know

 

Asbestos was once one of the most popular manufacturing materials, favoured for its strength, resilience, and natural occurrence. Throughout the 20th century across the UK, this naturally occurring fibrous mineral was used extensively in the shipbuilding, construction and manufacturing industries.

Today, asbestos is far more commonly known as ‘The Silent Killer’ and is the direct cause of at least four serious and debilitating diseases.

Exposure to asbestos fibers and asbestos dust was first recognised as an occupational health hazard sometime in the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until many years later that a clear link between asbestos use and lung problems was confirmed. In fact, it took until 1999 in the UK for the use of asbestos to be completely banned.

Horrifyingly, the number of people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases continues to rise year-on-year. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases often take many years, in some cases decades, to develop. The Health and Safety Executive reported that there was over 5,000 deaths in the UK in 2021 from asbestos-related diseases.

One of the most common diseases caused by prolonged asbestos exposure is asbestosis, a long term and uncurable lung disease which causes scarring of the lungs.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling all types of asbestos exposure claims, including those who have been diagnosed with asbestosis. In this blog, we’ll explore the main risks and symptoms surrounding asbestosis, and all you need to know about making a claim for compensation.

What is asbestosis?

The Health and Safety Executive defines asbestosis as ‘a form of pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which is characterised by scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue’. Breathing in asbestos fibres causes scarring and thickening of lung tissues, which in turn, causes the lungs to lose elasticity and their ability to function properly.

Caused by excessive and prolonged periods of asbestos exposure, asbestosis is a chronic and irreversible condition in which the symptoms typically only start to develop several decades later. Shockingly, deaths from asbestosis continue to rise and there was a total of 490 deaths recorded in the UK in 2019, as a direct cause of asbestosis.

Who is at risk of asbestosis?

Exposure to asbestos occurs when a product containing asbestos is disturbed and asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher chance you have of developing an asbestos-related disease later in life.

As such, the people who are most likely to be at risk of asbestosis are typically those who were exposed to asbestos in their workplace. People with jobs in the construction, maintenance and shipbuilding industries are identified to be most at risk due to the widespread use of asbestos in these trades. With that said, those who work in those industries today are still considered high risk for exposure as the material can still be found in many older buildings.

As well as those that worked or work directly with asbestos, it is possible for people to become unwell through ‘secondary exposure’. This occurs when people inhale fibres from the work clothes of a family member, or inhalation from living near a site where asbestos was regularly used.

What are the symptoms of asbestosis?

Most asbestos-related diseases are very slow to develop, and it can take years for symptoms to start showing. The main symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent cough
  • wheezing
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • pain in your chest or shoulder

Sadly, these symptoms can progress to seriously affect normal daily activity and can lead to various complications, which can be fatal.

If you think you may be suffering with asbestosis, please seek advice from your GP who can refer you for the necessary tests to help diagnose the condition.

What other diseases can be caused as a result of exposure to asbestos?

Other than asbestosis, there are three other main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres; mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and non-malignant pleural disease.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling mesothelioma claims. Mesothelioma is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as ‘a form of cancer that principally affects the pleura (the external lining of the lung) and the peritoneum (the lining of the lower digestive tract)’.

Cases of mesothelioma aren’t typically diagnosed until the cancer is already at an advanced stage, as the symptoms can be quite non-specific and don’t often appear until much later in the development of the disease. A diagnosis is almost always fatal, and often within 12 months of the symptom onset.

Devastatingly, the number of annual deaths from mesothelioma has increased steeply over the last 50 years, as it takes many years for mesothelioma to develop following inhalation of asbestos fibres. This increase in fatalities, with 2,369 mesothelioma deaths recorded in Great Britain in 2019, is a direct consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos between 1950’s and 1980’s.

If you would like to know more about claiming for other types of asbestos-related diseases, read our blog Can I Make a Claim for Asbestos Exposure or for mesothelioma claims, get in touch with us today for more information.

Who can make a compensation claim for asbestosis?

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can potentially make a claim but to make a claim for asbestosis, you need to have formally diagnosed as suffering from the condition.

We understand that making a claim for an asbestos-related disease is one of the more complicated claims processes.  If you have been told that you may have asbestosis or if you are unsure of your diagnosis, get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today. If you’ve made a claim previously that was unsuccessful, but your condition has since worsened, we may also be able to help

Just as importantly, in Scotland you have three years to file for compensation. This three-year period can start either from the date of your medical diagnosis, or from when you were made aware, or should have been made aware, that your asbestosis symptoms were related to a previous employment. As such, if you are diagnosed with asbestosis, it’s important that you seek advice as soon as possible.

If you’re claiming on behalf of a deceased family member, the claim must also be filed within three years of the date of death, or the date of diagnosis if this was discovered sooner.

How can I make a claim for asbestosis?

Once you have provided proof of your diagnosed asbestosis, any information you have that could help us link your asbestos exposure to a specific workplace as well as any evidence you may have that proves your employer was aware of the risks and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the workforce from exposure, can help your claim tremendously.

However, we understand that asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop and it’s very common in these situations that your former employer may have ceased trading, or that you can’t quite remember when you were exposed. Not to worry, we can still help. We have extensive experience investigating these types of claims and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best financial settlement possible.

If you or a loved one need advice on filing a compensation claim for asbestosis, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Passenger Compensation Claims

Passenger Compensation Claims

Passengers involved in road traffic accidents often don’t realise they have the same rights to claim compensation as drivers do. It’s tragically the case that you may just be in the wrong seat, in the wrong place at the wrong time and now you’re nursing serious injuries that aren’t your fault.

The latest Government statistics show that of the UK’s 89,331 road casualties injured in 2019, approximately 30% were passengers. Unlike drivers, however, passengers are almost never liable for the cause of the road accident. Regardless of whether you were travelling via public transport such as a bus, a car or even a taxi, more often than not you can pursue passenger injury claims if you have been hurt through no fault of your own.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that claims of this nature can get a little complicated. However, you can rest assured that we have significant experience in this area. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading for our guide to passenger compensation claims.

 

Am I Eligible To Make A Passenger Accident Claim?

In order to be eligible to claim compensation as a passenger in a road traffic accident, most people will need to satisfy a few simple criteria. The most crucial of these are;

  • The accident happened in the last three years, or your injury became apparent within the last three years.
  • Another party was to blame, whether this is the driver of the vehicle you were in (whether that be a car, taxi or bus), another road user, a pedestrian, or any other party.
  • You were owed a duty of care by the party who caused the accident.

What we mean by a ‘duty of care is that legally, the driver or operator of any type of motor vehicle has an obligation to drive carefully and safely – to prevent injuring their passengers and to minimise the risk of hitting other road users. If the driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and this reckless or negligent driving results in a serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss. This right extends to the driver of another vehicle if they were responsible.

 

Claiming Against Family or Friends

If the driver responsible for causing you an injury is a friend or relative, you may understandably be hesitant to claim compensation out of concern the person you know will have to cover all costs. However, the claim is against their insurer and any compensation pay-out will come from them. If the responsible party is uninsured, your compensation will be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Compensation is vital to support you through any physical or mental rehabilitation, and to cover any expenses such as loss of earnings, so whilst we understand if may be uncomfortable to do so, please don’t refrain from filing a claim if you do know the driver.

 

Debunking the Common Myths Surrounding Passenger Compensation Claims

Be rest assured that even if you were in the vehicle that caused the accident, you can still make a claim. If the driver is claiming against another party who they feel was at fault, as a passenger you still have the right to claim for any injury or loss of earnings you may have experienced. As with any compensation claim, cases are taken on an induvial basis and the first step is proving that the accident was someone else’s fault. Consequently, it’s often much easier for a passenger to claim compensation after a road traffic accident than a driver as it’s highly unlikely that they’d ever been at fault.

 

What Evidence Do I Need to Make a Claim?

It’s important to gather as much specific information and evidence as you can at the time. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Staying Safe in Extreme Weather

With Storm Dennis only just getting started, slip trips and falls in the ice and wind are a serious risk. 

It’s important to remain cautious and vigilant in such extreme weather conditions. If you are in an area of high risk do not travel. Nothing is as important as your safety, so don’t risk it.

Make sure you look out for areas of black ice when walking and driving, and ensure your car is equipped to deal with emergencies (i.e. breakdowns in negative Celsius temperatures).

Be wary of public spaces like train or bus stations that will have slippery floors due to water being tracked in by commuters and crowd.

A seemingly simple fall can actually have severe consequences – don’t write off your injury if it has affected you with regards to your ability to work or travel, has taken away from your daily activities or has knocked your confidence. If you’ve had an accident within the last three years, you could have a claim, so contact Bonnar Accident Law and speak to one of our personal injury lawyers today to have an easy discussion about what you could be owed, absolutely free of charge. No win, no fee.

Immediate independent legal advice is available for anyone in Scotland, so please call us free of charge on 0800 163 978 or complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry form.

Trips, Slips and falls: How to Claim Compensation 

Slips, trips and falls are extremely common, and can result from misplaced equipment, unmarked wet areas, or defective flooring. If there is a person who should be responsible for your safety (whether at work, or out and about in public areas), then  you could be owed compensation. Call us today to speak to one of our friendly experts to have your case reviewed for free.

Possible injury-causing defects:

  • Broken pavements or walkways
  • Broken or inadequate handrails
  • Road or street repairs
  • Missing drain/manhole covers
  • Construction work
  • Pipe or cable laying
  • Damaged floors
  • Food or drink spillages
  • Wet floors
  • Snow or icy conditions – if the area has not been treated according to an agreed schedule. (The specific conditions underfoot at the time of your accident need to be assessed and the responsibilities of the property owner determined before a claim can be made.)

 

Let our expert legal team help you today — Find out if you have a claim. 

If you’d like to speak to us to assess your slip, trip or fall compensation, don’t delay.

You can complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry or Call us now on 0800 163 978 , and let us help you, today. 

 

Jack Straw aimed a kick at the wrong target when he bemoaned activities of claims companies and lawyers in referral fee investigation.

 

Thus, at a stroke, Djanogly kicked into touch the key finding of Lord Young’s 2010 report on the Compensation Culture (see our other blog posts) i.e. that there is no compensation culture (page 26 of the report) – it is the figment of the popular press’ imagination, aided and abetted by the insurance industry. 

 

 

Mr. Straw, the Labour MP for Blackburn, said the scandal was hitting ‘perfectly law-abiding people’ with sky-high insurance costs…

 

and what about the perfectly law-abiding people who will find their access to justice cut off?

 

Mr. Straw, whose own investigation (bit of a ‘cult of Jack’ going on here) into how even the police are taking tip-fees, prompted the select committee to re-open its earlier enquiry, said: ‘What I am clear about is that of a total of about £9billion premium income, £2billion is costs caused by people who can be accurately be classed as the parasites in the system.

 

How is he clear about this again? Didn’t HE read Lord Young’s report?

 

Mr. Straw told MPs that the previous night, while he was preparing his evidence to the committee, he had been phoned at home by a claims accident company seeking to represent him over an alleged accident  in the last three years: ’I’d not had an accident in the last three years,’ he told MPs.

‘But it shows the relentless pressure inside these very dodgy firms.’

 

Yes Jack, but you like countless others did not claim, nay COULD NOT CLAIM BECAUSE YOU HADN’T HAD AN ACCIDENT – GEDDITT?

 

Mr. Straw added: ‘Claims management companies are parasitic. In any other walk of life, we would describe this racket by referral companies as bribery.

‘These practices are leading to very substantial (insurance) increases on law-abiding motorists.’

 

Jonathan Djanogly said the Government intended to band the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees which have sent premiums rocketing.

 

He noted: ‘You only have to turn on daytime TV to see lots of dodgy solicitors’ firms which are part of this racket.’ He said there were two firms of solicitors within 100 yards of his own front door offering ‘£600 for a referral.’

 

Memo to Justice Secretary:

If dodgy solicitors are advertising on tv, then bring them to justice now!! Haven’t you heard about the Advertising Standards Authority?

 

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly told the committee the Government’s decision to ban the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees was ‘appropriate’ and had been ‘generally welcomed’.

 

Referral fees were part of the ‘sick, suing culture’ that was keeping premiums artificially high: ‘We want the benefit to feed through to the consumer in the form of lower premiums.’…and fair compensation settlements!!! 

 

He believed the Government’s reforms would bring commons sense to the system by weeding out greedy claims, noting how under the current system: ‘If you are a claimant and have no chance of losing, you are almost crazy not to sue. Why wouldn’t you? That’s what we propose to reverse.’ 

 

This is getting rather tiresome. Will somebody PLEASE tell the UK Justice Minister that an injured person wishing to make a claim has to actually prove negligence? Ye gods – does he think that people claiming compensation just have to ask the insurance companies nicely?

 

Keen to get in on the act, or is it the feeding frenzy, roads Minister Mike Penning condemned the claims firms as ‘ambulance chasers’ noting: ‘As a human being I find it very difficult that any organisation would seek to profit from others’ injury. Yet fifty per cent of claims are personal injury claims.’ 

 

This comment is about as crass and unthinking as it is possible to get, even for a government minister.

 

Critics say soaring premiums are tempting some to drive uninsured – with an estimated 1.3 million drivers now on the road without insurance.

 

A word anyone about insurance company profit margins or their active participation in and encouragement of referral payment schemes?

 

MPs on the Transport select committee report have already condemned the current system as ‘dysfunctional’. We take it they mean the claiming ‘thing’ and not Mr. Djanogly’s department…although that story isn’t over yet, not by a long way.

 

Paul Evans, chief executive of insurance company AXA UK, said increases had slowed to about a 1 to 2% rise a month but added:’ we shall continue to see continuing increases in the months to come

 

aye right enough, as he squeezes every ounce of profit out of claimants before his game is rumbled by a myopic government and an enraged public who aren’t as gullible as he thinks.

Claiming compensation for personal injury. Myth v Reality -Take 2

Another insurance industry ‘compensation culture’ myth.

 

 

Myth  

 

Most people who claim compensation for personal injury are just looking for a source of extra money in a recession – they should just ‘grin and bear it.’  For people read ‘the undeserving injured…’ 

 

 

Reality  

 

The key issue for the injured person and their family is whether they can afford not to seek damages, particularly if they are unable to continue working or have to change jobs as a result of their accident.

 

In any event, the amount of money awarded is far from being a ‘lottery’ win. In the UK damages in personal injury cases are based on very precise calculations, refined over many years, which reflect the extent of the injury and the earning capacity of the victim.

 

The process is designed with one aim in mind – to put the injured party back to where they were before the accident. Thus a twisted ankle claim will not attract a multi-million pound sum, whereas a brain-injured survivor of a road traffic accident might well receive a very large sum of money to pay for a lifetime of medical care.

 

Insurance companies know this very well and they are not about to sanction overly generous compensation claim payouts under any circumstances. The idea that hurt and injured people are scamming the system and receiving ‘over the odds’ payouts is absolutely ludicrous – but that doesn’t stop The Daily Mail reporting it as fact…

 

We welcome your thoughts on the ‘compensation culture’ and would like to know if you agree with us that the vast majority of accident compensation claims in the UK are made by trustworthy people seeking justice and fairness for themselves and their families.