Q: My father has just been diagnosed with a serious lung condition which we have been told is probably as a result of working with asbestos. Although he didn’t ever work directly with asbestos he worked on a construction site for two years which involved the removal of asbestos from existing buildings which they had to demolish before building work started. At that time site workers were not made aware of any dangers when handling asbestos, nor were they given protective clothing to wear. Would my father have a case for claiming compensation?
A: If your father has been diagnosed with mesothelioma then this will almost certainly have been caused by exposure to asbestos. If that is the case then there is a specified protocol to follow for claiming compensation and your father should not delay in taking advice from a solicitor.
If your father has been diagnosed with a condition that might have been caused by exposure to asbestos but may also be attributable to other causes, for example smoking, then the situation is not quite so straightforward. Expert evidence will be needed to assess the risk posed by asbestos.
In any claim you will need to consider what was known about the danger of handling asbestos when your father was involved in its removal from existing buildings and whether your father had been exposed to asbestos elsewhere. A detailed work history should be prepared as soon as possible.
He may well have a claim and he should not delay in seeking advice from a solicitor so that these issues can be addressed. It is important that your father starts his claim within the relevant limitation period, which will be three years from the date on which he knew or ought to have known that he had a lung condition and that asbestos was a possible cause.