Asbestos claims possible decades after exposure
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which can cause several different diseases in the lung if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Around 4000 deaths a year are attributed to asbestos related diseases which are sometimes only diagnosed between 20 to 40 years after exposure.
Due to the range of asbestos related diseases, asbestos claims can be varied. Compensation of over £35,000 was paid by the employers’ liability insurers of a construction company after a Devonshire man was diagnosed with asbestosis after working with sheets and boards containing asbestos during the course of his work.
Even if the insurers of a company cannot be traced, it is still possible to claim compensation. The sum of £22,500 was paid after a claimant was diagnosed with asbestosis, with a 10% breathing disability. The diagnosis of the asbestosis was over 40 years after the worker was exposed to asbestos but he was able to claim despite the company which he worked for being dissolved and their insurers no longer trading. The damages were paid by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. There was also the prospect of additional compensation should the claimant’s symptoms worsen.
There are four main types of asbestos-related diseases. These diseases have different symptoms and some are more serious than others. Mesothilioma is a type of cancer which develops on the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Although a treatment has been found which show signs of inhibiting mesothelioma growth, NHS guidance indicates that the outlook for mesothelioma sufferers is poor. Mesothilioma is usually but not always caused by asbestos exposure. The government and other authorities say there are a small number of unexplained, naturally occurring mesothelioma cases where there is no evidence of asbestos exposure.
Lung cancer and asbestosis are other asbestos-related conditions that have relatively high fatality levels, and if not fatal can be debilitating. Asbestosis which is a serious, progressive, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs can have a major impact on the life of the sufferer and can make everyday tasks unmanageable. The inhaling of asbestos fibres irritate lung tissue and cause it to scar. This scarring makes it hard for oxygen to get in to the blood. At present there is no effective treatment for asbestisos.
Exposure to asbestos can also cause lung cancer just like that caused by smoking and diffuse pleural thickening which, although not fatal, can still be debilitating.
Asbestos claims are possible even if the sufferer has died as a result of the disease. The widow of an ex factory fitter in Bradford was awarded compensation of £120,000 after her husband died from mesothelioma which he developed 30 years after breathing in asbestos fibres whilst servicing the machinery in the factory. This case is not an isolated one with other mesothelioma victims also receiving payouts in excess of £100,000. Although, the financial settlement cannot compensate for the loss of a relative, it helps provide financial support for the loved ones they leave behind.