Asbestos disease claims
For over 30 years Digby Brown Solicitors has been helping individuals and their families come to terms with the disgrace that is Asbestos.
Everyone now knows that asbestos fibres are incredibly dangerous however even when in the 1960s and 70s, when the dangers of breathing in Asbestos were becoming widely known, many companies still kept on using it. Even worse, they knowingly put employees and their families at risk by not providing adequate safety equipment.
This timebomb has been exploding for families all across Scotland ever since. All the way back to the hay-day of the Clyde where Asbestos was seen as a miracle material, workers were exposed and the clock started ticking. This led to the suffering of entire generations of tradespeople, their loved ones and even unknowing members of the public.
Every year more than 3,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases in the UK alone – that’s more than the number of people who die in road accidents.
With decades of experience we have come to realise a tragic truth – wherever there was asbestos, there was negligence.
Why asbestos compensation claims matter
Asbestos was a cheap and versatile material used in construction projects for more than 100 years.
Even though it was known to be toxic it was still used on a widespread and industrial scale because it was regarded as a great material to help with fire-proofing and insulation.
Common hotspots for asbestos use were shipyards like John Brown in Clydebank or Rosyth Docks in Fife but the material was used just about everywhere – even today asbestos can still be found in old public buildings like schools, town halls and blocks of flats.
Big firms and employers were told to provide vital – but simple – measures to help protect workers such as:
- a well-ventilated work space (to remove asbestos dust)
- protective clothing or PPE (such as face masks and gloves)
- a safe system of working (such as making sure the area was clean at the end of the day)
However these steps were not always followed. In fact, in some cases, they were blatantly ignored.
This is why asbestos disease claims are so important.
Because if you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease then a personal injury case does not just recover rightful damages. It can help you access the best possible medical treatment, support and safeguard the future for your loved ones. And on top of that it holds negligent corporations responsible for their failures and the evidence and victories of your case may even play a part in helping future sufferers access justice too.
No win no fee personal injury solicitors
The expression “No Win – No Fee” is often used in personal injury cases. It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses.
A number of solicitors are prepared to handle personal injury cases on a “No Win – No Fee” basis but very few are able to offer their clients complete protection if the case is unsuccessful.
In that event, the client could end up being liable for many thousands of pounds in legal expenses or the case won't be fully investigated and therefore likely to under-settle.
Compensate 'no win no fee' funding
Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and where and if necessary go to court.
If for whatever reason the case is unsuccessful, Compensate pays all your legal expenses and those of your opponent – you pay nothing.
On average our clients receive over 3 times the pre-litigation offer
Because of Compensate funding Digby Brown's success rate is extremely high and on average our clients receive three times the pre-litigation offer.
In the event the case is successful, a small percentage of your damages will be deducted with VAT to pay for this service. The percentage which Compensate will charge depends on the degree of risk involved. We believe that this is the fairest method of giving clients access to justice whilst ensuring their cases are fully investigated, prepared and funded.
Beware of compensation offers which may be too good
We know you will have seen many adverts offering 100% compensation or telling you that you will not lose any of your compensation, however we believe there are a number of problems with companies that do this.
- How do they make their money if they don’t charge you anything?
- If they aren’t taking any money from you, the client, what incentive do they have to ensure you receive the right level of compensation, appropriate to the injuries you have sustained?
- Fully preparing a case, finding out exactly what happened and what the consequences of your injuries may mean in the long term, is expensive, how do they do this properly?
- If they aren’t fully preparing these cases will they just accept the first offer they are given on your behalf by the Insurance company?
- It makes simple business sense, the less work they do the higher their profit margin is - they simply have no incentive to work harder on your behalf.
- These adverts in the main are from English firms on national television which operates in a different way and therefore wouldn’t apply to a Scottish person.
We know from the many client cases we mandate from other firms of solicitors (in the main at the request of the client who is extremely unsatisfied with the service received for the other firm) that many shortcuts are taken in preparation and that the first offer received is being recommended for acceptance, regardless of the value.
Getting something for nothing is usually the first sign of poor service.
Correct level of compensation with Digby Brown
Our experience and statistics show time and time again we will achieve the correct level of compensation which will be substantially more than the insurer is initially prepared to offer.
Even after we have deducted our percentage as a success fee you will gain considerably more than you would have achieved using a 100% compensation model.
Contact Digby Brown's personal injury solicitors
For further information about no win no fee, or anything else, call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form below and someone will get back in touch with you.
What asbestos disease can I claim for?
For decades people have been affected by numerous asbestos-related diseases. The huge scale of the problem is precisely why charities like Asbestos Action and Clydebank Asbestos Group exist. They provide a vital, hands-on support that truly help people affected by asbestos diseases.
Some of these diseases are symptomless with individuals experiencing no huge degree of change to their life. Sadly, some conditions can be truly life-changing.
The most common conditions include:
This is when asbestos fibres cause the linings of the lungs to thicken – and in some cases, calcify. Plaques are benign, symptomless and cannot become cancer themselves – however they can be a warning sign that the sufferer could develop other asbestos diseases in later life. Because plaques are symptomless they are often most commonly found on X-rays or other scans while doctors have been searching for something else.
Also known as diffuse pleural thickening (DPT) this is a lung disease where extensive scarring thickens the membrane that covers the lungs – the scarring then becomes so big that reduces the lung function, meaning the sufferer experiences pain and serious breathing problems.
This is a chronic lung disease where the asbestos fibres have caused lung tissue to scar. This in turn creates problems with breathing and physical pain. There is sadly no known cure.
Asbestos-related lung cancer
Asbestos-related lung cancer is cancer of the lungs which has been caused by exposure to asbestos dust. It requires more exposure to asbestos than the level required to develop asbestosis. This kind of cancer is often wrongly blamed on smoking however even if you smoked it is still possible to recover compensation.
Mesothelioma – also known simply as ‘meso’ – is terminal cancer that most commonly affects the linings of the lungs or abdomen. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos dust after a person breathes in asbestos fibres. The fibres damage cells in the body and they become cancerous. Like asbestosis, there is no known cure and sadly, people may pass away soon after diagnosis.
Making an asbestos disease claim
Before we go into details on the asbestos claim procedure there are three common myths we’d like to address straight away to put your mind at ease.
1. It is okay if you no longer live in Scotland – many people may have moved away from Scotland since they were exposed to asbestos. Well this is not a problem for us and it’s not a problem for the courts. We frequently help people who have been diagnosed after emigrating to another country (some as far away as Australasia!) and we still secured them compensation with no issues.
2. It is okay if you are a smoker – being a smoker does not prevent you from making a claim. Your disease has been caused by asbestos, not cigarettes, and we will get the right evidence to show this.
3. It is okay if your old employer no longer exists – we have extensive experience in tracing dissolved companies and it is very rare for insurance providers to go bust. Instead what normally happens is they are taken over by larger insurance companies. So whichever insurance company is currently dealing with the historic insurance provider for your employer then that is where we recover compensation from.
What happens when I make an asbestos claim?
When you first come to Digby Brown we take a full statement from you. This statement will shed light on how you first became aware of your condition, how you might have been exposed to asbestos in the past and how it is affecting you now.
*this first step is true whether you come to us directly or are referred to us via charities like Asbestos Action or Clydebank Asbestos Group who recognise our expertise
If you are a tradesperson we will ask you about your previous roles, the nature of your duties, how you may have been exposed to asbestos and even if you are still in touch with old work mates who could provide a supporting witness statement.
However – asbestos diseases do not only affect tradespeople.
It is common for the spouse or family member of a construction worker who is the one to suffer a disease.
This is how Mary Campbell contracted mesothelioma. She was exposed to asbestos fibres after washing her ex-husbands work clothes by hand. These clothes were covered in asbestos dust and when she carried out the task she would be breathe in the fibres.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to Mary then the claims process is still largely the same. The only difference will be that instead of talking about your own employment, we will likely need to talk about your partner’s employment history. But regardless of how you were exposed, each case will see us instruct the right experts to support your claim.
This will include:
- Medical reports – including present and future treatment needs
- Employment reports – including gathering witness statements/risk assessments/accident reports
- Doing the required work to reinstate previously liquidated/dissolved companies to access insurance
- Working with care providers to ensure the full needs of you and your family are considered
This is generally the most common elements to building a case for most people but there are always going to be slight differences because each person, each family and each situation is different.
We know that after receiving a diagnosis you’ll have lots going through your mind – your past work, your present health, your family or maybe even domestic or practical matters.
In addition to these things, it’s an unfortunate reality that it’s important to seek independent legal advice as fast as possible.
This is because:
- Acting fast helps provide more time to gather the right evidence
- It helps intervene early to help you access the best possible legal care
- It helps you and your family access a wider support network (which even in the early days can be super helpful)
But there’s also another reason.
Now, before we explain what that is, we want to make you aware that what follows is a delicate subject. But it’s also a very real one, and we think it’s important to talk about it so you and your loved ones can make informed decisions.
So… with that in mind… the other reason why it’s important to seek advice as quickly as possible is because some people may sadly be diagnosed with mesothelioma or terminal lung cancer and when this happens the reality of their situation means there may not be a lot of time to act.
This is important to understand because speaking to the right people – whether medics, support charities or specialist solicitors – will help put the right measures in place while there is still time and these measures will help you in the present and also help your family and loved ones in the future.
Also, if you are someone who has already sadly lost a loved one due to an asbestos-related disease then yes, it is still possible to pursue a case. It will only be possible for immediate family members (partner, parents, children, siblings and grandchildren etc) but a Digby Brown solicitor will be able to advise you more thoroughly when you speak together.
We don’t say any of this to cause concern – only to be transparent. We completely understand there will be a lot going on in your life but it’s precisely because of the business that we think it is best to simply speak plainly and honestly.
How long do you have to claim compensation for asbestos?
In Scotland you typically have three years from the date you were diagnosed with an asbestos related disease to make a claim for compensation.
However, this is complicated because someone may develop another asbestos related diseases at a later date.
It is therefore important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. In certain situations, it may be possible to ask the court to let your case proceed even through it is over the three year time limit.
Why come to Digby Brown for an asbestos disease compensation claim?
Our proven track record means shows we have the experience and expertise needed to guide asbestos survivors, and their loved ones, through the whole process.
We offer one-to-one contact with qualified asbestos solicitors, answering any questions you may have and updating you throughout the case.
At Digby Brown, we recover three times more compensation.
We actually take the time to investigate all the circumstances, gather all the evidence and calculate your losses. We even take into account all your personal circumstances – past, present and future – so you truly are cared for.
This strict attention to detail is why Digby Brown’s Industrial Disease team also won a landmark court decision that effectively doubled the amount of compensation people are entitled to when making a claim for pleural plaques.
If you are considering a claim related to an asbestos-related disease then contact our Legal Enquiries Team who can help you discuss your options.
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