Why asbestos is still claiming lives today

Phoebe Osborne, solicitor at Ashtons Legal. Picture: DAVE RICHARDSON

Phoebe Osborne, solicitor at Ashtons Legal. Picture: DAVE RICHARDSON - Credit: Archant

The UK has one of the worst death rates for asbestos disease, with 4,500 people in the UK dying each year from asbestos-related diseases - of which over 2,500 die from mesothelioma, a fatal form of lung cancer caused by inhalation of asbestos dust.

Shockingly, asbestos was only banned from use in the UK in 1999 which means today, many homes, schools and public buildings contain the deadly material, which is degrading and releasing deadly fibres each time it is disturbed.

In recent years we have encountered far more claims from school teachers, health care professionals and non-traditional sources of exposure, including the up rise of DIY enthusiasts who have endangered themselves and others after carrying out DIY work in unprotected conditions.

The Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group works closely with the Joint Union Asbestos Committee, which has recently confirmed that out of 33,600 schools in Britain, 75pc still contain asbestos.

Most disturbingly, in the last 10 years, 140 school teachers have died from mesothelioma.

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As we know now, you do not need to work directly with asbestos to be at future risk of developing an asbestos disease.

Thankfully most people who have been exposed to asbestos never suffer any illness, but those who do go on to develop symptoms 15 to 40 years later and are often diagnosed during retirement or whilst working to care for their families.

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It is no longer only older people either - construction workers, plumbers and carpenters are being diagnosed along with teachers, pupils and hospital workers.

Because asbestos disease can affect any one of us it is essential those diagnosed seek specialist legal advice about bringing a legal claim as soon as possible and here at Ashtons Legal we work hard to achieve in-lifetime settlements, giving peace of mind and financial security to our clients.

We regularly obtain interim payments of £50,000 within a matter of weeks of instruction. Although compensation does not take away the illness we believe this financial assistance makes it easier for clients to attend medical appointments, put in place plans to enjoy their life and carry out final wishes, making the journey less stressful.

Sadly some victims are only diagnosed with mesothelioma at inquest, so we offer guidance throughout the process to settle a claim after death, based on witness evidence and investigation work.

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