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Specialist legal support

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma it’s likely you can claim compensation. In this section we explain the options available to you and the steps you or your family can take.

There are several options. You might decide to:

Get expert advice as soon as you can. Claiming compensation is time-limited – usually three years from when you were diagnosed for a civil claim, 12 months for a lump sum compensation claim from government schemes. Applying for compensation can seem daunting, but there are many people who can offer advice and will help guide you through the process at no cost.

A good way to start is by contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau or speaking to the welfare benefits office at your local council. You can also find details of UK asbestos support groups online. In Scotland, get in touch with Action on Asbestos.

You can also call our helpline on 0300 222 5800. We can tell you about state benefits and where to find local help with your application. We can also refer you to a local asbestos support group where you can get practical help with claiming compensation from the various government funds.

Pursuing a civil claim

If you were exposed to asbestos while in employment, you might wish to pursue a civil claim against that previous employer. It’s important to use a solicitor who is a specialist in mesothelioma claims and make sure that they have a good track record. You can ask them how many cases they’ve won and ask for client stories, called case studies. Mesothelioma UK has advice about making a claim and questions to ask. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers lists specialist solicitors. In Scotland, get in touch with Action on Asbestos

Specialist mesothelioma solicitors

If you choose to take legal action, it’s important to work with a solicitor who has specific experience with mesothelioma cases. Not all solicitors, even those who work in personal injury, are specialists in mesothelioma claims.

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

APIL has a list of accredited specialist solicitors. 

Law Society

The Law Society provides information about organisations and people who provide legal services and are regulated.

England and Wales - 020 7320 5650

Scotland - 0131 226 7411

Northern Ireland - 028 9023 2606

Some specialist solicitors are part of our Mesothelioma patrons scheme.

My solicitor who fought and won my compensation claim has also become a close friend. Besides the financial compensation she won for me, she also won me access to treatments that aren’t available on the NHS. Sandra

Read Sandra’s experience of living with mesothelioma

Compensation funds

If you have mesothelioma there are different financial options available to you, depending on your circumstances. You can find out about benefits and compensation funds administered by the government on their website.

Remember time limits apply, so get expert help as soon as you can. In some cases, you can claim if you were a dependent of a person with mesothelioma who has died.

Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979. A lump sum available to some people awarded industrial injuries disablement benefit, who apply within 12 months of that award if their employer no longer exists or the work that caused their mesothelioma was over 20 years ago.

Diffuse mesothelioma payments (the ‘2008 scheme’). A lump sum available for people who lived with an asbestos worker or near a factory that used asbestos. This fund also helps people who were exposed to asbestos while self-employed. You must claim this within 12 months of diagnosis.

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). You should first check with a solicitor if you can make a claim against your responsible employer or your employer’s solicitor. If you can’t, you or your solicitor can apply to the DMPS scheme if you were diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma on or after 25 July 2012 and meet other criteria.

War Pensions Scheme. If you have mesothelioma because you came into contact with asbestos while serving in the armed forces, you might be able to make a claim under the War Pensions Scheme. If you worked for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as a civilian and came into contact with asbestos, you may be able to claim under the schemes above. There are several payments and schemes available depending on your circumstances. Find out more from Veterans UK. Call 0808 1914 218 or visit their website.

Download our mesothelioma information (PDF, 166KB)

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