What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a material which was often used in buildings for insulation and spraying on ceilings, walls, and flooring before its dangers were known in the 1970s. This practice was banned from industries in the 1980s however asbestos reports have grown throughout recent years in Northern Ireland.
The cases are growing now because it takes decades for the symptoms and detrimental effects to appear on the individual.
What illnesses does asbestos cause?
- Mesothelioma – This is a form of cancer that can be diagnosed between 20 to 50 years after being exposed to asbestos.
- Lung cancer – this is caused through inhaling harmful asbestos fibres and again can be diagnosed a long time after exposure.
- Asbestosis– This is another form of lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. It develops long after exposure and is virtually incurable.
- Pleural Plaques– This is caused as a result of inhaling asbestos fibres and effectively it causes scarring to the lungs and typically arises 20-30 years after exposure.
Does the Limitation period apply to asbestos cases?
Usually, the limitation period details a three-year period from the date of the accident to issue a claim to the court. However, due to the delayed side effects of Asbestos this does not apply to this specific case. Instead, the limitation period begins from the date you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease so you have three years to make a claim.
What to Expect in the Claims Process:
The claims process can vary but will generally take the following approach:
- Initial Consultation– When you make an appointment with one of our experienced personal injury solicitors, they will firstly take instructions on when you were exposed to asbestos and, importantly, when you were diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. This information will dictate the success of your claim. It is, therefore, important to ensure you provide all relevant information to your solicitor.
- Pre-Action Letter–Once the negligent employer is identified your solicitor will send a letter to the company you worked for setting out detailed allegations of negligence and breach of statutory duty. They will then be obligated to pass this on to their insurance company.
- Site inspection and other evidence-Your solicitor may appoint an expert to inspect the site where the alleged exposure to asbestos took place with a view to firmly establishing that asbestos was or is present in the workplace.
- Medical Evidence – We will then obtain your GP and hospital notes and arrange an appointment with a specialist medical Consultant who will provide a report on the likely cause of your illness. The report is required to get an expert opinion on whether the claimant’s illness is linked to exposure to asbestos in the workplace.
- Decision on Liability– The employer’s insurance company then must provide their decision on liability within a defined period of time. If liability is admitted, your solicitor will enter in to settlement negotiations with the insurance company with a view to recovering damages for the pain and loss you have suffered.
- Court Proceedings– If liability is denied your solicitor will consult with you and discuss issuing Court proceedings to try and recover damages. When Court proceedings are issued your solicitor will instruct a specialist barrister to help prepare your case for Hearing. Court proceedings can also be issued in a case where liability has been admitted if we feel the compensation being offered by the insurance company is not sufficient. Our expert solicitors will advise clients on their options, but the final decision will always be made by the client and we will ensure that their wishes are carried out.
How We Can Help
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease you should seek legal advice promptly as you are limited to three years following your diagnosis for making a claim for compensation.
Please complete our enquiry form if you or a loved one have been affected by an asbestos-related disease. A P.A.Duffy and Company, we will offer our expertise and guide you or your loved one through the through the legal proceedings.
Please note in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.