Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer & Asbestosis Claims
Welcome to our 2021 guide for victims of mesothelioma after death and other asbestos-related conditions. We will support those who have lost a loved one following asbestos exposure at work.
Mesothelioma compensation after death often arises when dealing with asbestos-related claims. Death is caused in the form of asbestos-related lung cancer due to the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which, once diagnosed, will often result in death in just a few months. Usually, an asbestos claim after death is made on behalf of the deceased’s family members by solicitors acting on their behalf through the courts.
How Can I Claim For Mesothelioma Compensation?
At R James Hutcheon Solicitors, we have over 30 years of experience in dealing with asbestos-related compensation claims. We have produced a video of the 5 most common questions asked about mesothelioma. It is worth a view.
The three main causes of death for an asbestos-related condition due to work in the United Kingdom are:
- Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer
The majority of mesothelioma cases affect the lungs. In cases of asbestos-related lung cancer, the fibres from asbestos become lodged in the lung tissue, causing irritation and scarring over time. This irritation and scarring can then also develop into tumours. But in the case of malignant mesothelioma, the asbestos fibres scar and lead to tumours in the lining of the lungs (the mesothelium).
According to the Health and Safety Government website concerning asbestos-related deaths in 2015, about 2,500 deaths were from asbestos-related mesothelioma. Such deaths are recorded as the inhalation of asbestos fibres that can cause cancer such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
However, the statistics may be more complex than suggested when considering lung cancer, particularly where exposure to asbestos and smoking collaborate significantly to increase the risk of lung cancer. This then translates into the fact that many lung cancer cases will result from both smoking and asbestos exposure, rather than by one of these factors.
When Can You Claim for Asbestos Compensation?
There are a few situations where you may be able to proceed with a mesothelioma compensation claim. A mesothelioma claim can be made when someone has been exposed to asbestos, such as in the workplace, and they have contracted an asbestos-related disease as a result.
If someone is diagnosed with the condition while they are alive, they can pursue compensation damages themselves. A successful mesothelioma claim, in this case, will usually require presenting evidence that demonstrates how and when they were exposed to asbestos. If a person has died following an asbestos-related diagnosis, a family member can make a mesothelioma after death claim on their behalf.
How Is Compensation for Mesothelioma/Asbestos Decided?
The courts in the UK consider various factors before deciding on the compensation claim payout for asbestos-related disease. The following actors will be considered, but every case will be decided on its own particular facts.
- The type of asbestos-related disease – mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis?
- The age of the deceased (or living victim). The younger the person, the greater the compensation.
- The length of suffering – the longer the pain and suffering, the court will award more damages. In many studies of workers exposed to asbestos, asbestos-fibre inhalation is currently proven to increase lung cancer risk. In general, therefore, longer exposure to asbestos puts an individual at a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Most medical cases of asbestos-related lung disease in workers occurs at least after 15 years of first asbestos exposure.
- The courts will consider the level of smoking the victim had consumed if lung cancer is diagnosed where there has been exposure to asbestos at work.
- The average life expectancy for a mesothelioma victim is just 12 -21 months, but some may survive by up to 5 years.
Mesothelioma Compensation for Asbestos-Related Disease
As a general guide, the courts will award compensation to the worker according to the severity of the disease. The greater the suffering the more compensation will be awarded. Most compensation is awarded to the severe forms of the disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Mesothelioma, once diagnosed, is a death sentence often within months. Asbestos-related lung cancer and asbestosis often take a longer period before it is fatal. All asbestos claims, including fatal compensation claims, are handled by only our experienced GRADE A Solicitors with a minimum of 15 years experience in disease and asbestos-related compensation payout claims.
What Are the Average Compensation Payouts for Asbestos Claims After Death in the UK?
- Mesothelioma – Serious disability leading to premature death: up to £105,000 (Please note that some asbestos-related lung cancers and asbestosis may also be awarded compensation at this level)
- Lung Cancer – Usually older person and fatal, symptoms not generally as painful as mesothelioma: up to £86,000
- Asbestosis (pleural thickening of the lungs) – Disability, shortness of breath, prolonged coughing, sleep disturbance, restriction of mobility. The top-level award will be for victims where the disease is progressive, showing a significant impact on the quality of life: up to £95,000
- Asbestosis and Pleural Thickening – Where breathlessness, frequent use of an inhaler, unable to tolerate smokey environment: up to £35,000
The above figures are for general guidance. In addition to the above asbestos compensation claims payouts, there are other heads of damages that expert asbestos solicitors can claim on behalf of the victim and their family.
What Are Some Real Payout Examples by the Courts?
Below is a selection of real compensation payouts for asbestos claims after death as decided by UK Courts.
McCarn v Secretary of State 2014 [Scottish Case]
Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 s 4(3)(b) close family members of the deceased can claim compensation. In this case, the father of the five adult children who was making a claim received £35,000 each for the death of their father who died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos whilst working for a Ship Building Company. The damages awarded reflected the fact that their mother had died of cancer earlier and as a result were all particularly close to their father, who was a very fit man before the disease took over. There is no similar law to compensate victims in England and Wales for bereavement compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Knauer v Ministry of Justice  £642.972.51 (46 years old)
The deceased was only 46 years old when she died of mesothelioma. She was employed as an administrator at a Dorset. The prison included many old buildings to which she was required to go in the course of her job. Many of these buildings contained asbestos which resulted in her untimely death.
The general guidance for asbestos-related compensation (see above) at the time the Court was deciding on the amount to be awarded was between £51,500 and £92,500.
In determining the amount, the court reflected on the pain and suffering she had to endure before death. Mesothelioma causing both severe pain and impairment of both function and quality of life. This may be of the pleura (the lung lining) or of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity); the latter being typically more painful. There are a large number of factors that will affect the level of the award within the bracket. These include but are not limited to the duration of pain and suffering, extent and effects of invasive investigations, extent and effects of radical surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, whether the mesothelioma is peritoneal or pleural, the extent to which the tumour has spread to encase the lungs and where other organs become involved causing additional pain and/or breathlessness, the level of the symptoms, domestic circumstances, age, level of activity and previous state of health.”
Asbestos compensation after death awarded was £80,000 (for the injury, pain and suffering only). The full award after death for the asbestos claim was £642,972.51, this award was mainly for the family of the deceased under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Zambarda v Shipbreaking (Queenborough) Ltd. Total Award: £98,723 (75 years)
In this case, a very experienced judge decided in 2013, that the pain and suffering of a male worker due to mesothelioma were valued at £75,500 for the suffering he went through before death. He suffered slightly longer in duration compared to Kauer above, (seven months from first symptoms, six months from diagnosis), but he was a lot older, 70 when he died.
The compensation payment was broken down as follows:
- Past care and assistance £4,406
- Past case management £3,674
- Inability to provide services to others £3,656
- Miscellaneous expenses £750
- Bereavement damages £11,907
- Funeral expenses £3,801
- Loss of dependency on Income (past and future) £70,529
- Overall total compensation payment: £98,723
Wolff v John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Ltd 2012 – £104,500
In this case, it is reported that the deceased died from mesothelioma aged 67 in 2007. The awards made by the Judge in 2011 under section 1(4) of the 1976 Act were as follows:
- £50,000 to the widow;
- £15,000 to each of two adult daughters who lived away from home but had regular contact with the deceased;
- £18,000 to the youngest daughter aged 32 who lived at home and had relied on the deceased to a much greater extent than her siblings; and
- £6,500 to the granddaughter, on the basis that the bond between a grandchild and grandparent was less strong than the bond between child and parent.
McGregor v Genco (FC) Ltd  £135,000
A case decided in the Manchester County Court. The asbestos victim was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. A claim was brought against her former employer for damages for personal injury, alleging that she had contracted the illness due to asbestos exposure during the course of employment.
The claimant was aged 58, she developed malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. She began suffering from symptoms of mesothelioma in May 2012 with shortness of breath and lethargy and was diagnosed in August. The prognosis was poor.
The total award for the asbestos compensation after death: £135,000
International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance plc UK Branch £250,000
A case that involved death due to exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma where the employee inhaled asbestos fibres in course of employment over many years.
The employee retired in April 2008, but he did not enjoy a long retirement. In the same year, July 2008 he was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma and he died within about a year from diagnosis.
Before he died his solicitor took legal action for compensation for his asbestos-related condition. he claimed his illness was caused by its negligence and breach of statutory duty in exposing him to asbestos dust and fibres.
The claim was settled for £250,000 plus solicitors legal costs.
Passmore v Evan Cook Ltd 2012 – (£192,437)
The employee contracted mesothelioma, due to exposure to asbestos at work. He was diagnosed in February 2011 by the presence of a large right pleural effusion and pleural plaques, from exposure to asbestos during his employment. He had a life expectancy of six months, with a likely range of three to nine months, from September 2012.
The employee claimed damages for mesothelioma, which he alleged was caused by negligent exposure to asbestos in the course of his employment by the defendant. Between 1961/1962 and 1981, the claimant was employed and responsible for the supervision of the packing, removal and installation of industrial plant and equipment. In 2011, the claimant was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The claimant’s evidence was that while employed by the defendant, he had been exposed to asbestos dust from the dismantling of pipework from factory equipment.
At court, his health had deteriorated and towards the end of the one-hour questioning, he required morphine as pain control. From time to time he lost concentration. Under cross-examination, some of the claimant’s answers to questions suggested that exposure to asbestos during the relevant period of time could not be demonstrated.
Whilst the defendant submitted to the court that his evidence was unreliable, the Judge dismissed the claims and found in, fact, he was a reliable witness and established to the satisfaction of the court relevant exposure levels and working environment to prove a case. He was truthful and a careful witness and therefore liability was proven against his employers.
Asbestos compensation after death was agreed between the solicitors at £168,000.
Eric Ward, the Widower and Executor of the Estate of Valerie Ward v RWE Npower PLC and Associated Electrical Industries Ltd  £113,000 (80 years old)
The Deceased first experienced symptoms in July 2007 he sadly died in April 2011, shortly after being diagnosed in March 2011. The Deceased contracted mesothelioma as a result of ‘secondary’ exposure. The Deceased washed her husband and son’s overalls, which were covered in asbestos dust and fibres because of their work at the Aberthaw Power Station. Proceedings were issued and the matter settled.
The case was ‘Fast Tracked’ due to her condition under the mesothelioma scheme. Her family were awarded compensation in the sum of £113,000.
Baker v Tate & Lyle PLC  – £205,000
The Employee’s symptoms began in January 2011. At the time of the Trial, he was dying of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos with a life expectancy of 2 to 6 months. He was 65 years old at the time when at court. He was only in his teenage working years when he was exposed to the deadly dust fibres.
The judge found that under Regulation 1 of the Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 and section 29 (1) of the Factories Act 1961 imposed a duty upon the Defendant as the occupier. The Defendant company did not come up with any evidence to suggest they supplied their employee with effective breathing apparatus and effective mechanical ventilation, so as not to expose the Claimant to asbestos.
As the defendant failed to provide this evidence, Judgment was entered and the case settled in the sum of £205,000, with £80,000 allowed for general damages (that is for the asbestos-related condition alone, pain and suffering). The additional about of £125,000 was paid in accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, for the dependents of the deceased.
Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change  £73,980/ £58,920.38 (pain and suffering)
Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura was diagnosed.
The employee was alive when the case came to court. Often quite unusual for a mesothelioma case, as often the victim of asbestos exposure has sadly died.
Between 1967 and 1985 the claimant was exposed to asbestos dust in the course of his employment with the National Coal Board. He started to experience chest symptoms in January 2011. His condition deteriorated and he was diagnosed as suffering from malignant mesothelioma in March 2011.
In September 2011 the claimant’s estimated life expectancy as a result of the malignant mesothelioma was between one to five months.
In April 2011 a left thoracoscopy was performed to remove the pleural effusion and to relieve the claimant’s breathlessness.
The prognosis was for inevitable deterioration probably with worsening pain, increasing breathlessness, loss of appetite and weight and progressive debility.
It was likely the claimant would become completely incapacitated and in need of constant nursing care towards the end of his life.
Had it not been for the mesothelioma his life expectancy would have been 2.9 years.
Damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity were awarded at £50,000.
Here the Court awarded damages for lost years were agreed at £19,376 and care and miscellaneous expenses were agreed at a further £4,179.16.
Research into Asbestos Fibres Causing Mesothelioma
Cancer Research UK on Mesothelioma have provided some information on the asbestos mineral likely to cause this condition:
A mineral similar to asbestos, as a cause of mesothelioma. Evidence comes almost exclusively from one region in Turkey, where erionite is used as a building material, and mesothelioma rates are extremely high. Because erionite occurs elsewhere in the world (notably parts of the US) without similarly high mesothelioma rates, it has been argued that the situation in Turkey indicates genetic susceptibility to erionite-associated mesothelioma in this population, however evidence for this is weak.
Mineral Wool and Silica
Occupational exposure to asbestos and other fibres or particles could modify the carcinogenicity of asbestos with regard to pleural mesothelioma (NCBI)
The most common types of asbestos fibres are:
- Chrysotile (white asbestos)
- Amosite (brown asbestos)
- Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
Can I Get Compensation for Mesothelioma and Asbestos Claims After Death?
Compensation payouts for death following the inhalation of asbestos dust at work is very much after the event symptoms of the disease has a very long latent period, often over 30 years from first being exposed to the deadly dust.
Often, most asbestos victim suffers who seek legal advice are in their 60’s and 70’s. They are concerned for their loved ones as they are usually a carer for their partner who needs support.
No amount of compensation will ever replace the tragic loss, but it will provide some financial support, help pay for bills and expenses and even care for loved ones left behind.
There will also be a sense of justice that someone has paid for the hurt, pain and suffering that has been endured before death.
As specialist asbestos claims after death solicitors, we will consider all claims for mesothelioma compensation after death sympathetically and expertly. In fact, all asbestos-related claims will be considered.
Please contact us now to discuss a possible claim but remember there is a limited period to make a claim which is three years from the date of death or within three years from when the worker who was exposed to the dust knew that it was related to his/her workplace.
Can I Claim Mesothelioma Compensation for Family Members UK?
Have you recently lost a family member due to an asbestos-related disease? If your answer is, unfortunately, yes, we know how difficult life may be for you right now. You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence or feel hopeless. You may be able to pursue a claim on behalf of your deceased relative. Mesothelioma compensation for family members can bring justice for the deceased and help the family cope with any financial burden placed on them.
As most asbestos exposure occurs in workplaces, the first step to making a claim for a loved one is to piece together their employment history. Solicitors will work closely with the family members to track down the relative’s previous employers and pinpoint where exposure to asbestos took place. Compensation can still be pursued even if the employer is no longer operating. Evidence will be collected, including witness statements, to determine how asbestos exposure occurred and whether anyone else has also suffered as a result.
To make a UK mesothelioma compensation claim on behalf of a family member, please get in touch with us today.
Can I Make a Mesothelioma Claim As a Dependent?
The previous section talks about making a mesothelioma claim on behalf of a loved one, but what about if you were a dependent of the deceased? Being a dependent means that you were reliant on the deceased prior to their death. Before the person died, you may have depended on them financially or for support services, such as childcare. Examples of a dependent can include a partner, child, parent or sibling, to name just a few.
Whether you can make a mesothelioma claim as a dependent depends on several factors relating to how the death occurred. If someone dies because of asbestos-related exposure at work, their loved ones may suffer due to financial loss or other loss of dependency. If you have suffered from dependency loss, it’s important to discuss your options with a solicitor. Dependency claims will typically help loved ones receive compensation that helps them recover lost services and financial loss.
Please view our dedicated dependency claims page to find out more about making a claim as a dependent.
Asbestos Causing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare tumour in persons who have not been exposed to asbestos, occurring with an annual incidence of around one per million population. Most cases occur in persons who have been so exposed. Occasional spontaneous cases unrelated to asbestos exposure do occur, however. When there is a history of past asbestos exposure, the balance of probabilities strongly favours that exposure having been responsible for mesothelioma, which occurs subsequently.
Mesothelioma can occur after low-level asbestos exposure, and there is no threshold dose of asbestos below which there is no risk. However, the risk that mesothelioma will occur increases in proportion to the dose of asbestos received and successive periods of exposure each augment the risk that mesothelioma will occur.
There is, on average, a long latent interval between first exposure to asbestos and the onset of clinical manifestations of mesothelioma, more than 30 years in most series, but the range of intervals is large, extending down to ten years and perhaps less in rare cases, and upwards with no upper limit. The latent interval between first exposure and the onset of clinical manifestations should not be confused with the interval between the commencement of growth of the tumour and the onset of clinical manifestations. The latter period is usually much shorter than the former because the mesothelioma does not start to grow as soon as the first fibres are inhaled but after a period of years during which repeated interactions between asbestos fibres and mesothelial cells occur, eventually resulting in the malignant transformation of a mesothelioma cell. It is at this point that the tumour starts to grow.
Mesothelioma probably begins to grow about 10 years, on average, before clinical manifestations appear. All employments involving asbestos exposure up to the point at which growth of the tumour may be presumed to have commenced, ie about 10 years on average before the onset of clinical manifestations, will have contributed to the risk that mesothelioma would develop. The mechanisms of causation are incompletely understood. Thus all exposure that contributed to the risk that mesothelioma would occur should be regarded as having contributed to the causation of the mesothelioma.
Further Reading For Mesothelioma and Asbestos Claims After Death for Families
We have several more articles on mesothelioma to help you and your family to consider choosing the right solicitor to help you through this difficult time. You must not delay, however, as this could be a bar to making a claim and be in no doubt that despite the hardship and pain you and your family are enduring., the employer’s insurers and legal advisers will take the matter to court to decide if there was a delay in taking court action.