The legacy of asbestos should be of great concern to everyone, writes specialist asbestos solicitor Louise Larkin, but especially people who have worked in construction.
It is estimated that 5,000 workers die each year from an asbestos related-illness. This equates to about 20 tradespeople a week, and is more than the number of people killed on the roads.
Today it is often taken as common knowledge that asbestos is dangerous. People now know to avoid it at all costs and only trust specialists to manage or remove it. However for decades that was not always the case. Construction workers were exposed to asbestos in a variety of forms as they refurbished buildings and properties.
Could you have been exposed?
Those involved in the construction industry and those who particularly worked in buildings built before the year 2000 could be at a greater risk of having been exposed to asbestos. Refurbishing buildings and properties, or carrying out maintenance work during shutdowns could also place workers at risk. Professions such as joiners, plumbers, electricians, roof contractors, plasterers, general construction workers, architects and surveyors are commonly associated with having a higher risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease.
Workers who unwittingly disturbed or damaged materials that contained asbestos will have inadvertently released asbestos fibres into the air. Such activities could involve manually cutting or drilling asbestos insulation boards (AIB); breaking or smashing asbestos cement or lagging; using power tools to drill or screw through most asbestos materials all come with increased risk of releasing asbestos fibres into the air. It is those fibres when inhaled that put workers at an increased risk of developing a serious life threatening condition.
No safe level
There is no ‘safe’ level of exposure to asbestos and it can take anywhere between 20 and 60 years following exposure to asbestos before symptoms develop and a diagnosis is made. Diseases like mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening can have a devastating impact on individuals and families; presently, there is no cure for these conditions. It leaves a devastating impact on families who are left reeling and struggling to find evidence of when, where and how they or a loved one was exposed.
Part of my role as a specialist asbestos lawyer is to help piece together my clients’ employment history and trace witnesses who will confirm the presence of asbestos and the poor working conditions at the places they worked. It also involves tracing insurance companies liable for the behaviour of the employer and proving that they negligently exposed their employees to asbestos.
Standing up for you
But we won’t stand for that. Thompsons Solicitors was responsible for winning the first ever successful asbestos disease litigation case in 1972, helping to pave the way for families to secure redress and compensation ever since.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding an asbestos-disease diagnosis, get in touch. Having independent, expert advice from a specialist solicitor can make all the difference when seeking to trace those responsible for exposing workers to asbestos.
If you choose to work with us, Thompsons Solicitors will support you through every step of your asbestos compensation claim, providing expert legal advice as well as access to a network of support services and medical professionals.
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.