If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, you will want to know that you/your family will be looked after. Being exposed to asbestos dust or fibers can cause mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer and asbestosis (which can take years to develop in the body).
People can be exposed through working in an industry where asbestos was heavily used (including construction, plumbing and manufacturing) or a family member (for instance through washing a relative’s work clothes). The dangerous nature of asbestos has been widely known for well over 50 years and employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment.
The steps involved in taking an asbestos claim:
1. Obtaining a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease
We will discuss where and how you might have been exposed to asbestos, whether there was persistent exposure over time and could it have been avoided, in order to determine whether you are entitled to take a case. We will discuss your options based on the medical diagnosis which must be connected to your exposure to asbestos.
2. Determining who is at fault
We will investigate when and where you were exposed to asbestos and whether the exposure to asbestos was the fault of a third party. For example, a past employer who acted contrary to the laws governing a safe work place environment and to their duty of care to you. We will look at whether the company/organisation where you were exposed to asbestos still exists and whether the acts (or failures) on the part of the wrongdoer are responsible for your asbestos related disease.
3. Putting a value on your case
Provided you can prove you have contracted an asbestos related disease as a result of the fault of a third party who had a duty of care to you, we will look at the impact the disease since diagnosis is having (and will have) on you in terms of treatment, care requirements and any other losses attributable to your contraction of the disease. If you are taking a case because of the death of a loved one, we will look at the financial loss occasioned to the dependents of the deceased, in order to calculate the loss.
Provided a statable case can be advanced a claim can be taken against the wrongdoer. You must first make an application to the Injuries Board, who may decide not to assess the case due to its complexity. If that is the case, they will issue an authorisation allowing you to issue court proceedings. In the event the defendant wrongdoer either does not accept blame or the amount of compensation you require, it may go to a full hearing. Your case could also settle out of court.
Time limits in taking an asbestos claim
With asbestos claims, you have two years to start your claim from the date you first became aware you had an asbestos related illness. If you are claiming on behalf of a loved one, it is two years from the date the deceased first became aware of their asbestos related disease relying on the Court of Appeal decision in Joseph Hewitt v Health Service Executive:  IECA 194. In the event, the deceased was not aware they had an asbestos related disease or there is no asbestos related diagnosis prior to death (for example the asbestos related disease only came to the knowledge of the relatives in a post mortem report), the next of kin will have two years from the date of death to take such a case.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.