Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer Claims
Welcome to our 2021 mesothelioma compensation claim guide for victims of mesothelioma after death and other related conditions. We will support those who have lost a loved one following a mesothelioma diagnosis.
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, a claim 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?
Our professional solicitors have 30+ years of experience with mesothelioma compensation claims. We have produced a video of the 5 most common questions asked about mesothelioma. It is worth a view.
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 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.
Can I Claim for Mesothelioma 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. If a person has died following a diagnosis, a family member can make a mesothelioma after death claim on their behalf.
How Is Compensation for Mesothelioma Decided?
The courts in the UK consider various factors before deciding on the compensation claim payout for mesothelioma. Typically, judges use the Judicial College Guidelines and experience of previous cases to reach their decision. We are aware of the Judicial College Guidelines and can provide an estimate of how much you may receive.
The following points will be considered, but every case will be decided on its own particular facts.
- The type of asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer
- The age of the deceased (or living victim). The younger the person, the greater the compensation.
- The pain and suffering, including length of illness, their symptoms and treatment received. The longer the pain and suffering, the court will award more damages.
- Bereavement damages (see bereavement award).
- Costs of medical treatment, nursing care and hospice living.
- Requirement of extra equipment to support the victim’s care, including mattress protectors, walking sticks and stairlifts.
- Loss of function to do hobbies and house tasks, such as gardening and driving.
- Loss of earnings and expenses, such as travel expenses and funeral expenses.
- Loss of dependency (see dependency claim).
- The courts will consider the level of smoking the victim had consumed if lung cancer is diagnosed.
- 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 of experience in compensation payout claims.
As a general rule, mesothelioma that has caused serious disability leading to premature death can award up to £105,000 in compensation damages.
What Are Some Real Payout Examples by the Courts?
Below is a selection of real compensation payouts for mesothelioma 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.
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.
Research into Asbestos Fibres Causing Mesothelioma
Cancer Research UK on Mesothelioma have provided some information on the asbestos minerals 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 Claim Mesothelioma Compensation for Family Members UK?
Have you recently lost a family member due to mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure? 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 mesothelioma 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.
Making a Mesothelioma Claim 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.