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How much compensation will I receive for mesothelioma?
- AuthorCatriona Ralls
A diagnosis of mesothelioma will be a devastating one and will mean making significant changes to your life for both you and your family. A diagnosis due to exposure to asbestos in the workplace will mean that you are entitled to make a claim for compensation to help you with the necessary costs for care and to cover loss of earnings. Catriona Ralls, Industrial Disease specialist within our Personal Injury team, explains more here about how much you may be entitled to claim and how we can support you and your loved ones at this difficult time.
Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer that develops after exposure to asbestos, and most diagnoses arise from exposure at work. Asbestos has for many years been an illegal substance and so is no longer used; however, as diseases such as the symptoms of mesothelioma can take up to 40 years to develop, the consequences of using the material so heavily in the past are still with us to this day.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma and, depending on the stage at which it is detected, patients are normally given a prognosis of between 12 – 18 months. “This will be a shocking reality to come to terms with for everyone concerned and it is important that after a diagnosis you review your next steps,” explains Catriona. “There will be many things to consider such as whether you will continue living at home and if so, who will provide your care. If this is a loved one, will they need to give up work? All of these decisions will have financial implications, which is why claiming compensation could be necessary.”
What factors will be taken into consideration when making a claim?
It is difficult to confirm the amount of compensation you could receive following diagnosis of mesothelioma as it will all depend on the stage of the disease, the impact it has on your life and your own personal situation. Any claim will take into account the following factors with the possibility of these costs being recovered:
- Pain and suffering – this is referred to as General Damages and compensates you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This will be determined by the length of time since your diagnosis, your prognosis, any treatment you have had and your ongoing symptoms.
- Loss of earnings – if you were still employed at the time of your diagnosis and have to stop working because of it, this will form a part of our claim when we write to the employer responsible for your exposure to asbestos. We will also include any future earnings that have been lost as well as any pensions.
- The level of care you require – we will advise you as to the level of care it is likely you will need in the short term and in the months to come. You may wish to stay at home with your loved ones and have them care for you, however it is likely that at some point you will need qualified nursing staff or you will need to move to a hospice specialising in palliative care. You may not be in a position for your family to care for you if there are financial pressures and they need to remain in work, and so these costs for your care will be considered.
- Medical costs – if you decide to undergo any treatment that is not offered under the NHS, it may be that these costs could be recovered.
- Additional expenses – it is likely that there will be other expenses you will need to cover, such as the cost of travel and parking for hospital appointments. If you do remain at home, it is likely that your heating or water bills will increase and so consideration will be made for these.
- Equipment – if you do decide to stay at home, for your ease and comfort you may need to buy specialist equipment such as bedding protectors, stair lifts or mobility aids such as a wheelchair. While this could be provided by your local authority or a local charity, if this is not the case then we may be able to recover the cost for these.
As mesothelioma is a terminal illness, many individuals who have been diagnosed also worry about the potential financial impact upon their spouse or loved ones after they pass away. It is for this reason that a loss of financial dependency can also form a very important part of a claim.
“As demonstrated, there are many different factors that will determine the amount of compensation that will be given, however in our experience this can range from between £11,000 to £95,000,” concludes Catriona. “While we hope to see the number of those diagnosed with mesothelioma decline in the coming years, there are still 2,500 people diagnosed each year who have to live with the very real symptoms and consequences of the disease. There are time limits in order to bring a claim against a former employer, which is why we urge those who have been diagnosed to contact us as soon as possible so we can advise as to their next steps.”
To contact Catriona or the Personal Injury team to discuss your claim, you can call today on 0800 91 92 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may find the following resources useful:
- Asbestos and Mesothelioma – An Overview
- Secondary exposure to asbestos – can I bring a claim?
- Can I sue for exposure to asbestos?
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.