What is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis - or illnesses resulting from or relating to asbestos - are quite common and are a major cause for compensation claims in the UK. Although we are well aware of the dangers posed by asbestos today it wasn’t long ago that it was widely used in a number of different contexts. Initially it was seen of as something of a ‘wonder substance’ and its resistance to heat and damp meant it was widely used for insulation and roofing by both the construction and shipping industries.
Unfortunately whilst asbestos may have proven to be versatile it also happened to be toxic. Exposure to asbestos was extremely hazardous to health and those working in close contact with it often later developed illnesses. Asbestosis results from an abnormal scarring of the lungs caused by a reaction to breathing in asbestos fibers. This scarring leads to a loss of lung capacity and inflammation of the thoracic and abdominal lining. Exposure to asbestos has also been linked to the development of mesothelioma, various cancers and pleural plaques.
The problem for those seeking compensation for asbestosis is its long gestation. Many people who developed the disease were exposed to it decades ago. If you believe that you are suffering from exposure to asbestos then it’s important to get a medical diagnosis confirming the condition. As it predisposes sufferers to cancer of the bronchus it’s also important to get frequent chest and lung testing to detect adverse developments.
If you’ve been diagnosed with asbestosis and want to make a claim you’ll need to try and pinpoint the date of your exposure to the substance. Verifiable work records will help you do this but getting compensation can be tricky. You’ll need to track down the insurers of the company you worked for and as many of these no longer exist or have changed ownership this can take time and might not even be possible. You’ll then need a medical report that supports your claim that exposure was caused by working conditions.
The medical diagnosis in such cases will often try and predict the future likelihood of developing the more serious disease of mesothelioma. If this looks likely then compensation might be offered either on a full and final basis, or alternatively as "provisional damages". In the latter case, the initial damages award is reduced, but if the more serious condition materialises then further damages will be payable.