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Typically, lung cancer proves to be fatal within a few years of being diagnosed. Data from the HSE suggests that there could be around 2000 deaths due to asbestos related lung cancer each year in the UK.  With around 300 new cases of asbestos related lung cancer diagnosed each year, it’s unlikely that the number of related deaths is going to fall.

How are people exposed to asbestos?

People can be exposed to asbestos in a variety of different circumstances.  Often, asbestos exposure takes place at work, particularly in industrial roles.  Immediate family members of exposed workers may have also been at risk if they were exposed to asbestos carried home on work clothing.

People who live near to buildings or sites that feature asbestos may also be affected by it over time.

Which jobs can be riskiest for asbestos exposure?

The types of jobs where asbestos exposure is most prevalent include the following occupations:

  • Asbestos plant workers
  • Workers in power plants
  • Metal workers
  • Construction workers
  • Engineers
  • Cement plant workers
  • Chemical plant workers
  • Industrial plant workers
  • Steel workers
  • Rail workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Mechanics
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Utility workers

How long can asbestos exposure take to turn into lung cancer?

Information relating to diffuse mesothelioma, which is a form of lung cancer that is almost always linked to asbestos exposure, indicates that it usually takes a long time to develop.  Sometimes it can take up to 50 years for diffuse mesothelioma to develop, which can mean that the place where asbestos exposure took place may no longer exist. However, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot make a claim for compensation.

How long do people have to claim for asbestos related illness compensation?

According to government statistics, life expectancy from diagnosis of diffuse mesothelioma is 8 to 9 months on average.  This may mean that those affected have very little time to claim themselves, which means that family members will often be the ones to make a claim.

Claiming as the person affected by asbestos exposure

People who have been affected by asbestos exposure have 3 years to make a claim, from the date of when they became aware of asbestos disease (this usually needs to be corroborated by a medical diagnosis).

Claiming as a family member

For families whose relative has died as a result of asbestos disease, legal action must be taken within 3 years of the date of the affected person passing away.

What other compensation is available for asbestos related conditions?

Claims can be made against companies who failed to use safe alternatives for asbestos, which resulted in people contracting asbestos disease or the family members of people who died as a result of asbestos disease.  However, there is also a government compensation scheme available to apply for, if one of the following ‘prescribed diseases’ have been contracted as a result of asbestos exposure:

  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer with asbestosis
  • Lung cancer without asbestosis if there has been extensive occupational exposure to asbestos in specified occupations
  • Diffuse pleural thickening

For more information about what these different types of diseases are, visit our asbestos claims page.

The compensation scheme applies to people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma from 25 July 2012.  It is funded by the insurance industry and was designed to pay people who developed diffuse mesothelioma as a result of negligent exposure to asbestos whilst working where their work place has since ceased to exist or is now untraceable.

The rates of compensation provided by this government scheme depend on a person’s age when they are diagnosed.  For example, a person aged 50 when they were diagnosed with mesothelioma would receive a payment of £67,599; whilst a person aged 40 would receive a payment of £82,378.  For more rates of compensation, visit: https://www.gov.uk/diffuse-mesothelioma-payment/what-youll-get

Specialist legal advice about claiming for asbestos related disease

Our specialist personal injury solicitors have years of experience in dealing with industrial disease claims, many of which have been related to asbestos exposure.  For advice about whether you have a claim and how best to proceed with a claim, call us 24 hours a day on 0800 634 1777.   Alternatively, contact us at our offices in Leicester, Hinckley and Market Harborough using the numbers below: