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Asbestos diseases

Why you should choose Thompsons Solicitors to make an asbestos disease claim

Thompsons Solicitors is a member of the Mesothelioma UK Legal Panel, which recognises the firm’s significant expertise in fighting for the rights of asbestos victims.

In 1972, Thompsons Solicitors brought the first successful claim for compensation involving asbestos-related disease to the House of Lords, with the backing of the trade union and Labour movement. 

Until the importation and use of asbestos was banned in 1999, it was widely used in the construction, ship building and manufacturing industries. Asbestos remains present in the fabric of many workplaces built and renovated prior to 1999.

Charlie was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011. We identified when and how Charlie was exposed to asbestos to successfully settle his claim.


Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist asbestos litigation team has supported tens of thousands of trade union members who were, through the course of their employment, exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

Workers who typically have been at risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease include carpenters, joiners, plumbers, laggers, engineers, electricians, pipe fitters, metal plate workers, painters, decorators and construction workers. More recently, cases have emerged due to exposure at work for caretakers, teachers and those working on the railway.

Our expert team of asbestos lawyers has a proven track record of pursuing asbestos compensation claims against employers and insurance companies liable for exposing their workers to asbestos. This includes tracing companies that have long-since gone out of business or have been incorporated under different names.

Thompsons Solicitors continues to campaign alongside our trade union clients to raise awareness of the ongoing legacy of asbestos-related illness and to support trade union members who have been diagnosed with conditions including mesothelioma, pleural thickening, lung cancer and asbestosis to secure compensation and legal redress.

“Thompsons were fantastic. They sat down with me and went through my employment history in detail to help work out exactly when I had been in contact with asbestos and that meant I could make a compensation claim.”

Charlie asbestos union client

9 things trade union members should know about asbestos-related disease claims

1. What asbestos-related diseases can you develop due to exposure to the substance?

Asbestos diseases include, but are not limited to, mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and pleural thickening. They are typically caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust.

2. Which
professions could have been exposed to asbestos?

Boiler makers, carpenters, construction workers, electricians, fitters, joiners, plumbers and ship builders, working between 10 and 40 years ago, are among those who are most likely to have been exposed to asbestos dust at work but are by no means the only ones. Firefighters, police officers, members of the armed forces and teachers are also professions which can be associated with asbestos exposure.

Given how widely asbestos was used, it is unsurprising that a wide range of people may have been exposed – including those who lived or played near an area where asbestos existed.

3. How long
does it take to develop an asbestos-related disease?

Asbestos illnesses can take up to 40 years to develop, from the time of exposure.

4. I used
to be a trade union member and have just been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Can I make a claim for compensation through my previous union?

Yes. If you were a member of a union at the time you were exposed to asbestos, you should be able to access legal advice and representation for an asbestos disease compensation claim from your union’s legal team, even if you are no longer a member. If you cannot remember which trade union you were a member of, contact Thompsons Solicitors on 0800 0 224 224 and our asbestos disease solicitors will be able to help you.

5. I’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease following exposure at a previous job. Can I still make
an asbestos disease claim for compensation through my current trade union?

Yes. If you are a trade union member, you can start an asbestos disease claim with Thompsons Solicitors, free of charge, regardless of who your employer was at the time you were exposed to asbestos. Thompsons Solicitors’ asbestos disease specialists have successfully secured compensation for trade union members in the shortest possible time, for those who have fallen ill after asbestos exposure often decades earlier. 

6. A family
member has died from an asbestos-related illness. Can I start a claim for compensation on their behalf?

Yes you can. Due to the severity of many asbestos-related illnesses, family members often need to assume responsibility for an asbestos disease compensation claim on behalf of a loved one.

Thompsons Solicitors’ asbestos disease lawyers have helped many people successfully secure asbestos disease compensation for deceased loved ones who were trade union members. If your relative was a trade union member before they died, or at the point of their exposure, our asbestos disease specialists can explain what steps you need to take to make an asbestos disease compensation claim on their behalf.

Contact us on 0800 0 224 224 today or fill in our free online claim form for more information. We’ll then get back in touch with you to discuss your claim within 24 hours.

7. How
long do I have to make an asbestos disease claim?

There is a standard three-year limit on personal injury compensation claims in the UK, but in the case of asbestos-related illnesses that period starts from the day of diagnosis. If you are in doubt about whether you are within the allotted time period to start a claim, call Thompsons Solicitors for advice on 0800 0 224 224.

8. How
long will it take to settle my asbestos disease compensation claim?

The length of an asbestos disease compensation claim varies according to their complexity. However, Thompsons Solicitors’ asbestos disease claim specialists have successfully helped tens of thousands of union members make asbestos-related disease claims, and will work to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation as quickly as possible. We make it a priority to settle the claim during the lifetime of the affected person wherever possible, without compromising on the level of compensation or legal redress.

9. How
much asbestos disease compensation will I get?

A variety of factors are considered when calculating the amount of money awarded to people with asbestos-related diseases, such as the amount of pain or suffering they experience, costs incurred directly and indirectly as a result of their condition, and the impact the illness has on their daily life and that of their family - now and in the future. Thompsons Solicitors secures millions of pounds in compensation every month for victims of asbestos-related diseases.


Praise from the Legal 500

"Thompsons are the stand-out firm for trade union representation. Their work in the fields of employment and personal injury continue to provide a unique customer focused service for injured claimants.

"With a strong trade union client base and commitment to social justice, Thompsons provides a formidable personal injury practice. The team is known for excellent client care and technical knowledge in specialist areas within personal injury and clinical negligence litigation."