Worthingtons Solicitors

Claims over asbestos-related illness

It is encouraging to see the Charity sector make great efforts to assist the NHS in these unusual times.  The global Covid-19 pandemic has placed enormous pressure on NHS resources, and the Charity sector is making substantial effort to try and ensure, so far as is possible, that those unfortunate enough to exhibit particular symptoms do not fall between the cracks of the health system while the focus, entirely understandably, is on how to contain Covid-19 both now and in the future with the finite resources available.    

Cancer Research UK is no exception, and its website contains helpful guides for clinicians in the various cancer related fields, including the terminal asbestos related cancer mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, usually in the workplace. We have acted and secured compensation for mesothelioma victims and their families for many years, and have seen at first hand the pain caused throughout Northern Ireland.  The Cancer Research UK statistics and guidance regarding mesothelioma within the UK make for sobering reading, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/mesothelioma.

The figures suggest this terminal asbestos related cancer continues to affect the UK and is unlikely to fade from view for some considerable time. It is concerning to note that as recently as 2017, some 52 cases of mesothelioma were confirmed in Northern Ireland. Whilst it appears that figure is proportionally less than England and Scotland, it is nevertheless concerning within a relatively small population that one person a week, and their families, receive the ominous diagnosis.  It should be noted that clinicians and charities have well calibrated mechanisms to sensitively help and remind families that compensation can be sought.

Given the extensive use of asbestos based products within the historically male manual industries (including shipbuilding, power stations and the building trade), it is perhaps understandable that males make up the vast majority of mesothelioma victims, 83%. However, it should be noted that 17% is a not inconsiderable figure, representing the dangers of asbestos fibres in both professional and domestic settings, such as the family member exposed to asbestos laden work clothing, so called primary and secondary exposure.   Although many of the companies that exposed victims to asbestos fibres are no longer in existence, compensation claims can still be pursued if there was valid insurance cover in place at the time of exposure. In the event there is no Defendant or insurance policy against which a claim can be directed, there is a Government payment scheme available. 

The forecasting and projections cited by Cancer Research UK use the period 2014 – 2035, and estimate there will be in excess of 2,000 new mesothelioma cases in 2035 throughout the UK, representing a 53% decrease over this period.  This projected reduction is of course good news, but does nevertheless suggest it may be some time before mesothelioma is no longer a concern. Jonathan Duncan is an Associate at Worthingtons Solicitors and specialises in asbestos related industrial disease claims. Should you have any queries regarding this type of claim please do not hesitate to contact [email protected].

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