More people die each year in Great Britain from asbestos diseases than from road accidents. However, not all victims of asbestos diseases who were affected in the UK still live there. In fact, some of these victims have migrated to places like the sunny Costa del Sol or other parts of Andalucia or Spain – among other destinations. Many don’t even realise that asbestos is the cause of their respiratory ailments.
In the UK, there are currently in the region of 2000 deaths each year from Mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lung – the only known cause of which is exposure to asbestos fibres:
- 1% of all men born in the 1940s will die from mesothelioma
- Every week 3 plumbers and 6 electricians die from mesothelioma in the UK.
- There is at least an equal number of people with lung cancer which is caused by asbestos exposure
- It can take between 15 and 50 years for the disease to take effect
- At greatest risk are former skilled tradesmen – fitters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc but members of other professions, such as teachers and nurses, are becoming increasingly common
Increasingly we are seeing wives develop mesothelioma from cleaning their husband’s dusty overalls or very young victims who were exposed as children from their father’s clothes.
It is important that anyone from the UK who is living in Andalucia and has developed a lung problem that could possible be tracked to asbestos, knows that UK state benefits are available for victims. The benefits are not means tested and in many cases they can amount to more than £200 (260 euros) per week. These benefits are still available to former UK nationals living in Spain provided they have paid sufficient national insurance contributions when they lived in the UK.
If the guilty employer can be located (or their insurers if they have since gone bust), then it may be possible to claim compensation.
Compensation can be claimed during the victim’s lifetime or after their death (on behalf of their estate and dependants).
Most claimants are retired or nearing retirement (having been exposed in their teens or 20s). The value of each claim is dependant on the victim’s individual circumstances, income, expenses etc. The average claim is in the region of £130,000 (170,000 euros).
There should be no cost to anyone taking advice from a specialist solicitor or pursuing a claim in England. Lawyers can recover their costs from the employer if they win the case. Their fees are paid separately and on top of any compensation recovered.