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What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that usually develops in the fluid in the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) but can also affect the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) and the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). The disease is incurable, fast acting and so a patient will have a limited life expectation.

How is mesothelioma caused?

The only known likely cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos dust and fibre.
It can develop a very long time after exposure to asbestos, up to 60 years.

Who is at risk of mesothelioma?

The disease is not dose related so any exposure to asbestos could in theory cause mesothelioma. The risk increases with the level of exposure.

Family members can be exposed from contact or from washing the clothes of someone exposed to asbestos at work. Those living nearby to an asbestos factory or who experience other environmental exposure are also at risk.

What patient support is available?

Local support groups can provide help and advice to those suffering from asbestos-related diseases and their families. The London Asbestos Support Awareness Group (LASAG) is a charity that operates across London and the South East. Their advisors can help by visiting at home and can be contacted by telephone. Their services are free.

London Asbestos Support Awareness Group: Freephone: 0808 278 251

What are the symptoms?

Mesothelioma can take up to 60 years and more until signs or symptoms develop. The symptoms of mesothelioma are often unclear and difficult to diagnose without a chest x-ray or CT scan. It will be necessary to confirm any clinical diagnosis with a biopsy.

The common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Sweating and high temperatures
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in swallowing

The common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are:

  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Feeling sick
  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

What mesothelioma treatment is available?

Your medical team will provide advice on the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

  • Chemotherapy: A course of specialist anti-cancer drugs are used to destroy cancer cells
  • Radiotherapy: High-energy rays given externally or internally kill cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy: a relatively new form of treatment that uses drugs to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to target cancer cells
  • Surgery: Complete removal of the affected area(s) to keep the disease under control
  • Clinical Trials: Patients can take part in studies and trials which aim to improve existing treatment or develop new treatments.
  • Palliative Care: Used to relieve symptoms of advanced cancer patients who may be too ill to manage the treatments above

Are financial benefits available?

You may be eligible for benefits, these include:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB): If you were exposed to asbestos during your employed work and suffer one of a number of certain asbestos-related conditions, including mesothelioma, you can claim a weekly pension.
  • Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979: This scheme makes a lump sum payment that you may be entitled to if you are awarded IIDB.
  • Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008: A lump sum payment for people who suffer from mesothelioma but were not exposed to asbestos during employed work, for example from the clothes of their partner or during self- employment.
  • War Pensions Scheme. If you were exposed to asbestos during service there are payments available depending on your circumstances.

You may also be entitled to claim other state benefits if you have difficulty walking or need help looking after yourself, for example:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP): A benefit for people aged under 65
  • Attendance Allowance: A benefit for people aged 65 or older.
  • Carer’s Allowance: A benefit for a carer looking after a disabled person.
  • Blue Badge Scheme: Disabled parking badge.

Industrial injury benefits are not means-tested. They could, however, have an effect on other means-tested benefits you may receive.

Can I claim compensation?

It is possible to claim civil compensation for mesothelioma, even if your employer is no longer in existence.

You will need to be able to prove that your employer or an occupier negligently exposed you to asbestos at a time when they knew or should have known that such exposure was liable to cause injuries.

You will need to have a clear diagnosis of the condition so that the link to the disease and your exposure to asbestos can be made.

How much is my claim worth?

Each claim is individual and the value depends upon a range of circumstances such as age, length of time suffering from symptoms, extent of care needs past and future, and possible losses of earnings or pension.

We visit our clients at home to personally assess the needs of you and your family.

How much will a claim cost me?

  • You will not have to pay us for our work
  • If you succeed in your claim, our legal fees will be paid by your opponent or their insurers
  • You keep 100% of the compensation recovered.
  • If your claim fails, it will not cost you anything
  • This arrangement is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), often referred to as “no win no fee”.
  • Initial consultation is free

What are the time limits to bring a claim?

An injured person has three years from the date of knowledge of injury to issue court proceedings. This period is not always the date of diagnosis and runs from the date they knew or “should have known” that their injury was related to exposure to asbestos. This “should have known” issue can cause difficulties in disease cases.

The three year limitation will run from the date that the sufferer is aware of any injury caused by asbestos. You can only bring one claim for all asbestos injury.

Although it is possible to seek discretion to bring a late claim a lot depends on the circumstances and it will not always be given.

If someone dies of asbestos disease then their partner or next of kin can bring a claim and the time limit will start to run again from the date of death, providing the original three years has not expired.

Download our Mesothelioma guide.

Client testimonials

“We would like to say a big thank you for you and your team for the kindness, patience and professionalism extended to us over the last year. The amount of money awarded to for his Mesothelioma is life changing to say the least, and this is all due to you all at HJA. Thank you once again and our best wishes to you all.”

“I would like to thank you so much for all the work you have done regarding my claim for compensation. I’m sure you will consider it “all in a day’s work” but, I just want you to know that I appreciate all your thought, time and energy. With grateful thanks.” May

“Thank you for the news. I am pleased Tim and I will not have to endure
more upset going to court over this very sad matter. I thank you for your expertise and great effort on our behalf. You are so good as well as very kind to us and I am truly grateful to you.”

“Thank you so much. I was a complete mess when you took me on. I have recovered to some extent and, with the money, at least that part of my worries are solved. So thank you with all my heart.” Hilary

“From our first meeting with Andrew James we received excellent service, efficient, prompt, kind and very understanding due to the nature of this case. He would always explain things in detail, nothing was too much trouble and would like to thank him very much. My husband would have been very proud of the outcome of his case.”

“Easy to talk to and compassionate for me, explained everything fully and in plain English. Very prompt service, professional and pleasant to deal with throughout.”

“Andrew James came to my house and did a thorough history of my working life to establish all the facts he could. He kept in contact so I knew the progress at all times. He was always very helpful. I am very happy with the settlement he obtained for me. I will have no worries for my wife in her future.”

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0800 437 0322 today.

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Address:Hodge Jones & Allen LLP
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