Making an asbestos claim against the Ministry of Defence
What exactly is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral that is found naturally. It is made up of millions of small, microscopic fibres and it is an extremely versatile substance. Its various properties – including low-heat conduction and strength – made it a popular substance and it was used widely in the construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding industries throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Asbestos was also used extensively by the Ministry of Defence, particularly for fireproofing shops. This means that military personnel, along with employees and/or contractors who worked for the Ministry of Defence may possibly have been exposed to asbestos before it was banned in 1991.
Exposure to Asbestos
In some cases, following exposure to asbestos it can take up to fifty years for symptoms to develop. However, in most cases the effects of asbestos become evident somewhere between fifteen and thirty years after the exposure to asbestos materials.
This means that if you were exposes to asbestos while working for the MoD, then it is likely that you will be displaying symptoms by now.
If you can prove that your asbestos exposure was due to the negligence of the Ministry of Defence, then you could have a good chance of making an industrial disease claim for compensation.
Only those who were exposed to asbestos while under the duty of care of the Ministry of Defence after 1987 are entitled to make a claim for compensation. Prior to 1987. the Crown Proceedings Act effectively provided the MoD with immunity from personal injury claims to be made by its personnel.
However, if you are a serving member of the armed forces and your exposure occurred after 1987, you should still be able to claim.
What Diseases Does Exposure to Asbestos Cause?
If asbestos is inhaled, those small but sharp fibres can become lodged in the lungs. If the exposure is only mild or infrequent, then the fibres may only lead to what are known as ‘pleural plaques’ – small, isolated areas of damage to lung tissue. However, repeated inhalation of asbestos fibres over a time can lead to much more serious and life-threatening conditions to develop:
This occurs when exposure to asbestos damages the fine membrane that covers the lungs, causing it to harden and lead to breathing difficulties, chest pain and fluid on the lungs.
This is a lung disease that is caused by breathing in asbestos fibres, which results in the hardening of lung tissue – know as ‘fibrosis’
This is a form of lung cancer so-called because it primarily affects the mesothelial tissue, or membranes of the lungs. Asbestosis is widely believed to be a precursor to mesothelioma as well as other forms of lung cancer.
How to make an asbestos claim
If you were exposed to asbestos due to the negligence whilst working for the Ministry of Defence, and you have developed an asbestos related disease as a result, you may be able to claim compensation.
It’s important to speak to a solicitor immediately as there are strict time limits imposed on making a claim.
If you are serving in the military before 1987 and were exposed to asbestos, you may be able to make a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
For more information on how CL Legal can help you make a compensation claim, get in touch with us today and start your claim…