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.

Car accident claim solicitors

The AXA man and the Straw man claim there is no such thing as whiplash in the land of Oz….

Apparently, a few days ago, in the mythical land of Oz, the AXA man (distant relation to the Tin man) and the Straw man presented a wizard idea to an invited audience. ‘There is no such thing as whiplash’, they declared, ‘even if it existed, which it doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt. If you think something might be wrong and if you hurry, you can see one of our approved doctors over in Munchkin Land who will tell you how to get back to work asap. Naturally, the Wizard will not be paying compensation under any circumstances – premiums are high enough around here, what with accidents happening every day.’

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Secrets and lies – The dysfunctional car insurance meerkat (and other animals)

Monday’s Dispatches investigation on Channel 4, presented by Harry Wallop certainly packed a punch and was a welcome riposte to the insurance lobby’s PR deluge of misinformation, miscreancy and mendacity.

We hope it is the first of many broadsides in the fight to redress the balance in favour of the British public’s entirely reasonable expectation to be treated fairly by some of the world’s largest corporations.

Not much to ask you would think but these guys have had it their own way for so long now and have so successfully weasled their way into government circles that they are setting the insurance agenda for all of us. A concerted effort by the concerned is required NOW to identify the real villains of the piece and the true insurance scammers operating in this dysfunctional market.

In our opinion this documentary was a good first step because it exploded the myth that insurance companies are primarily concerned about us, their customers.

The film absolutely nailed the point that the insurance companies and accident management firms are only concerned about maximising their profit margins as they pressurise motorists to deal with their ‘approved’ body shops and pressurise the garages to carry out work at minimal cost., often using non-standard parts.

Now this would not in itself be such a problem if savings were shared between insurance companies and policy holders and work was carried out to a high standard but this does not happen…and our premiums go up and up.

Evidence from experienced people in the trade confirmed that the pressure insurance companies put on body shops to cut costs compromises the integrity of the damaged vehicle and the safety of the driver and their family.

The story gets worse.

If a driver is involved in a no-fault accident his/her insurance company will seek to max out the ‘value’ of the claim by shamelessly inflating the cost of the repairs and hitting the other side for all they are worth….and who pays for this?

Correct. We do every day.

Whilst the insurance companies are busy portraying themselves as ‘holier than thou’ and the nation’s protectors of the vulnerable, they are busily scamming the market for every penny they can extract from supplier rebates and other kickbacks and exploiting their customers without any regard to the principles of good business practice, far less business ethics.

The insurance companies then have the bare-faced audacity to stuff their own pockets with all this extra ‘bunce’ and then claim that innocent accident victims who have the temerity to claim compensation are responsible for the hike in premiums which the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) states are inflated to the tune of at least £250m per annum by the industry’s own malpractices.

Their underhand tactics have thankfully not gone completely unnoticed. The OFT has announced that it will be investigating the insurance market, despite the best efforts of a toadying government to foster the myth of a compensation culture and agree to virtually everything the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has demanded in recent years.

In typical weasel word fashion, as befits its modus operandi, the ABI claims that it welcomes an investigation. Aye right, we’ll see…as we live in hope.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the ABI to explain why its members are paying out on claims known to be fraudulent.

If a claim is known to be fraudulent why does the industry not take action to prosecute the fradusters? The conclusion must be that the insurance companies are spending a hefty chunk of our car insurance premiums on fraudulent claims. Perhaps the ABI’s Nick Starling can explain why this SCANDAL is allowed to go on unchecked.

Could it be that there are far fewer fraudulent claims than suits the ABI position and that the creation of the ‘bogeyman’ of an insurance fraudster is a very useful whipping boy when it comes to peddling lies about whiplash claims and the impact on premiums?

We will be asking the OFT to look at this matter very closely…and checking with Harry Wallop to see if he is planning to look at the government’s and the insurance industry’s perverse approach to dealing with personal injury claims.

Written by Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law.


BP to offer one-off payments if claimants waive right to sue

In the hope of drawing  a line under the crisis and in an attempt to quantify total costs, BP has announced its intention to cap its liabilities from the Gulf of Mexico disaster by offering those affected one-off compensation payouts in return for them waiving the right to sue.

Tens of thousands of affected people in the Gulf, particularly those in the fishing and tourism industries, are weeks away from bankruptcy but it is very difficult to calculate future lost earnings. There is also no way for claimants to know if they can expect more compensation if they sue BP in the courts…but that, of course, would appear to be the idea.

Ken Feinberg, who was appointed by the White House in June to administer the claims process on behalf of BP, will take charge within the next three weeks. BP has committed to pay $20bn into the fund in a series of instalments over the next three and a half years. When he takes over this month, for the first time claimants will be offered a one-off sum based on their future lost earnings, provided they agree not to sue BP as the company seeks to re-build its reputation.

“The fund will offer lump sum payments in return for an agreement not to pursue claims in court,” a spokeswoman said. Claimants will also be able to receive an emergency payout to cover their lost income for up to six months without waiving their right to sue BP. Claims from those directly affected by the spill, such as fishermen, will qualify but uncertainty surrounds those more indirectly affected. For example, many owners of beach apartments in Florida – even where no oil hit the shore – face bankruptcy because holidaymakers stayed away. It seems that a scheme designed to simplify and fast-track compensation payments may not be quite so simple after all.

In our view in its highly regrettable that the media spotlight continues to be targeted at the environmental cost of the oil spill whilst the 11 workers who died in the explosion receive scarcely a single reference by comparison. Let’s hope that the fate of the wrongful death and personal injury compensation claims on behalf of the victims’ families is monitored with the same level of scrutinty as the thousands of loss of earnings claims.