Info & Support

What Is Mesothelioma And How Is It Caused?

Mesothelioma is a tumour (or cancer) which usually grows in the pleura (the external lining of the lungs) or the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the pleura (the layers of tissue that cover the lung) and less commonly the peritoneum (the membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity).

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause for mesothelioma and is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of cases.

It is well established that mesothelioma is not caused by smoking tobacco.

A diagnosis with mesothelioma is often associated with an occupational history of asbestos exposure.

However, mesothelioma can also be caused by very low levels of asbestos exposure.

Sadly, people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma following fleeting asbestos exposure; through washing a loved one’s clothing which was contaminated with asbestos, like Mavis, or from living close to an asbestos factory, for example.

Types Of Claims

There are three types of compensation for mesothelioma. These are:

  • The first is Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)and a lump sum paid by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). You can receive a weekly benefit of IIDB. If you have developed an asbestos-related disease as a result of employment in the UK. The lump sum is available for any mesothelioma patient exposed to asbestos dust in the UK, regardless of how that exposure arose.
  • The second is a different lump sum, known as “damages”, which can be claimed, using a solicitor, from one or more of the businesses or organisations (Defendants) responsible for the individuals exposure to asbestos.
  • The third type of compensation is the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). This can apply when a damages claim cannot be made because the Defendants company has been dissolved and their insurers cannot be found. The DMPS was set up in 2014 and makes a payment, based on the sufferer’s age, from a fund which insurance companies contribute to.

Making A Claim Through A Solicitor

As well as claiming benefits and a lump sum from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), anyone who has mesothelioma should consider making a claim through a solicitor.

It is important, to contact a solicitor who specialises in asbestos claims and to do this as soon as possible.

A solicitor will offer an initial interview at the patient’s home free of charge.

Often people with mesothelioma do not want to contact a solicitor because they believe:

  • That the company which exposed them to asbestos no longer exists.
  • They did not work with asbestos themselves, but only near others who did.
  • The exposure to asbestos happened many years ago.
  • They think that at the time they were exposed to asbestos no one knew that it was dangerous.

These are however rarely barriers to a successful claim and show why it is advisable to see a specialist solicitor promptly.

In a successful claim a lump sum is awarded. There are two parts to this: first, an amount, usually above £80,000, for the pain and suffering caused by mesothelioma, and secondly, compensation for the financial consequences of the disease (e.g. Loss of pension and value of nursing care and equipment).

Income tax is not paid on damages.

An award of damages does not affect an individual`s right to continue to receive non means tested welfare benefits (e.g. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Personal Independence Payment/Attendance Allowance)