Aug
05

Understanding Mesothelioma Compensation For Family Members

Understandably, it is a tough time for anyone if they have lost a partner or close family member to mesothelioma or another asbestos released disease.

Because of the controversy surrounding asbestos use as recent as the late 1990’s, Many of those who have been affected (be it physically or personally), could well be entitled to some form of compensation.

The bottom line is that this corporate negligence is far more serious than basic misconduct, it isn’t a sprained ankle on a wet floor. The mistakes made by employers in the use of asbestos has lead to many millions of people having to suffer personal tragedy.

Mesothelioma

Despite not being one of the most common forms of cancer, mesothelioma is considered one of the worst forms of cancers to be diagnosed with. 

Mesothelioma develops as a result of prolonged exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals made of micro fibres which §were widely used in construction and mechanics.

When inhaled, these tiny fibres get stuck in the lungs. Over time, these fibres damage the lining of the lungs. While the use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, people who were exposed are still being diagnosed due to the length of time in which the cancer takes to develop.

Understandably, because of the industries asbestos was regularly used in, the majority of those diagnosed are men.

The statistics of survival rates are worst for men too, as Cancer Research UK figures show. They say that on average, 46 out of every 100 men diagnosed will survive at least one year, but just 6 in every 100 will survive 5 or more years.

Affected Families

Of Course, it isn’t just the individual that’s affected by a disease as awful as this, it’s the families who suffer financial, emotional and potentially even physical pain themselves as a result of watching their loved on deteriorating.

While it doesn’t even come close to helping this awful, life changing situation, it seems totally unjust for the companies potentially responsible, to get away for free while the utterly innocent suffer for their negligence.

It’s because of this that even if the worst happens, that the family of the mesothelioma sufferer act by searching for what you might be owed.

Making A Claim

The standard procedure for either a family or individual to claim for compensation against an employer is within three years of the initial diagnosis of mesothelioma.

If unfortunately the person suffering from mesothelioma passes away during a claim, before a claim or before they have been diagnosed (diagnosis is often found in a post-mortem) then the claim must be made within three years of their death.

Obviously, if your loved one is still alive when it becomes clear what disease they have, it is imperative that you act as fast as possible in making a claim, to get the most out of the money you receive.

Understandably, it can be hard to bring yourself to begin such proceedings while you are going through such a difficult experience, it is important to consider the short timescale on compensation and how it might help you.

Former Employers

More often than not, a compensation claim for asbestos exposure comes against the employer of the person who has been diagnosed. The initial problem with mesothelioma is that it takes so long to develop. caner.org report that it can take between 20 and 50 years following exposure.

If it takes as long for 50 years after exposure for your loved one to develop mesothelioma, there’s a decent chance that their former employer might not still be in business.

So a very reasonable question which families tend to ask at this stage is whether it is still possible to make a claim if the previous employer’s business is not in existence? Simply put, the Answer is YES.

The process of claiming involves searching for the employer’s insurer, so, if they are no longer in business, it is just a case of searching for their former insurer or insurer records. Nothing can halt a claim as long as the information is available, even if a business has long since stopped trading.

Getting an experienced specialist solicitor for this kind of intricate research is pretty important, and is what we would always recommend when pursuing a claim to ensure you leave no stone unturned for this type of information.

That said, things have become slightly easier thanks to a recent initiative. Back in 2011, the insurance industry set up the Employers’ Liability Tracking Office. Essentially, they created a massive database which holds millions of insurance policies from many industries and dating back many years previous.

If the worst happens, and you cannot track down any record of former employer’s, you can apply for government compensation. As of 2014, the UK government raised their mesothelioma compensation scheme from £115,000 to £123,000. See more here.

How Much Is A Claim Worth?

Whether a loved one is still battling with mesothelioma or has sadly passed away, as a family member, it is reasonable to wonder what sort of money you might be able to claim.

Obviously, there is no set figure and things tend to change in a case by case basis. However, a government study from 2014 suggests that on average, claims range between £137,000-153,000.

While this is the average it is not unusual for a compensation deal to be far higher. For example, a recent case which we settled at Asbestos Advice Helpline saw a widow receive in excess of £260,000 following her husband’s death from mesothelioma.

How Long Does It Take To Settle A Claim?

This largely refers back to the previous government report discussed in an earlier point. Essentially, this all comes down to individual circumstances and the complex nature of legal proceedings. However, it was reported that the average time for a family to receive compensation for following another family member’s diagnosis with mesothelioma as 14.5 months.

Does Death Affect The Claim?

As mentioned in an earlier point, it is entirely possible to make a claim as a family member, even if your suffering family member sadly passes away. However, the government report above does suggest that on average, the payout is slightly reduced.

The report states that the amount of compensation received by families of those diagnosed with mesothelioma that was still alive was roughly £14,000 higher than those whose family member had passed away. While this is a reduction, it’s only really 10%, therefore not a massive difference.

If your family member or loved one has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you are still unsure how to go about approaching for compensation, please feel free to take a look at our compensation guide.

For more information on other cases which may well be similar to yours, take a look at our recent successful claims page where you will find in-depth case studies of a number of claims.

Posted In: Asbestos Claims

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