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Claiming Compensation for Mesothelioma: Cancer of the Mesothelium

07th December 2009
By Jessica Parker in Personal Injury
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Mesothelioma is a terminal and debilitating illness which almost always results from asbestos exposure. If you are suffering from mesothelioma as a result of someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation on a no win, no fee basis.

Here is some important information about the asbestos-related form of cancer, mesothelioma, and how to make a claim for compensation if you are suffering from this disease.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma forms when malignant cancer cells develop along the mesothelium, or protective lining, which covers internal organs in the human body.

The lungs and chest cavity are the most common sites for mesothelioma. Cancer cells which lead to mesothelioma can also (more rarely) develop around the heart or abdomen.

Symptoms of mesothelioma can include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and weight loss.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is now banned from use in the UK because of its toxicity. However, up until the early 1980s, and particularly in the 1970s, the mineral was widely used for industrial purposes due to its apparently valuable properties of heat insulation, electrical and chemical resistance, absorption and strength.

The many uses of asbestos over the years have included use in concrete, bricks, pipes, ceiling insulation, flooring, roofing and in fire resistant coatings. Asbestos has been so widely used for so long that hundreds of thousands of people have now been exposed to its toxic fibres, mostly without realising they were in any danger from the substance.

Claiming compensation

Some of the people who have been exposed to asbestos have gone on to experience asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma. Sufferers of mesothelioma or asbestosis, who have been exposed to asbestos through work, without the dangers being explained to them by their employers, or who can attribute their exposure to someone else's negligence, may be able to claim compensation.

This option is sometimes open to sufferers who have been exposed through work. It is also open to family members who have been exposed to asbestos due to fibres being brought back on a family member's work clothes. If there is any evidence that negligence on the part of someone else has led to asbestos-related diseases, compensation may be payable to the sufferer.

In order to claim this compensation, it is possible to make a claim on a no win, no fee basis, through personal injury solicitors. Usually, a personal injury claim must be made within three years of an injury occurring.

However, asbestos-related diseases are an exception to this rule, since the symptoms can appear many decades after the exposure took place. Because of this, many asbestos-related personal injury claims are backdated many years.

In order to find out if you can make a claim, get in touch with a specialist solicitor as soon as possible after symptoms appear. They will be able to assess your claim and find out if you are eligible for mesothelioma compensation.
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