Mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease compensation Scotland

Mesothelioma Compensation Scotland

If you, your partner or a family member is diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as being a difficult time emotionally, it can also raise worries regarding your finances. We are here to help.

Mesothelioma Compensation
Mesothelioma Compensation

Those who contract mesothelioma generally fall into two categories

  • Those who contract mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working for a past or current employer
  • Those who either were not or cannot demonstrate that they were exposed to asbestos at work, that may have led to them contracting mesothelioma
There are also two main categories of compensation for mesothelioma
  • Government (state) financial compensation for mesothelioma in the form of benefits and no fault lump sum compensation schemes
  • Compensation from bringing a legal action against those employers who exposed you to asbestos

With most cases of mesothelioma, it is possible for you to receive both benefits and a lump-sum payment from the government and then go on to receive civil damages.

Exposed to Asbestos at Work?

State (government) benefits for mesothelioma

If you contracted mesothelioma at work, you may be entitled to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

You may also be entitled to benefits such as Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance regardless of how you came in to contact with asbestos.  In addition, you may qualify for other state benefits depending on your circumstances.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

The UK Government currently categorises mesothelioma as a prescribed disease for the purposes of claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). Each disease has an allocated Prescribed Disease (PD) number.  Mesothelioma is Prescribed Disease D3.

To meet the criteria for mesothelioma it is not necessary to demonstrate that you worked directly with asbestos, you need only show that you were employed in a job that led to you being exposed to…. “asbestos, asbestos dust or any admixture of asbestos at a level above that commonly found in the environment at large”.

In practice, this could involve any occupation where you may have been exposed to asbestos. For example, it has been accepted that a secretary, who worked in an office building directly opposite a shipyard, contracted mesothelioma as a result of inhaling airborne fibres from the shipyard entering her work environment.

Applications for mesothelioma and lung cancer do not normally require a medical but you do need confirmation from a medical professional that you have been diagnosed with the disease.  Those who are found to be suffering from asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma are automatically assessed as 100% disabled. If you are assessed as 100% disabled, as well as being awarded IIDB, you will be invited by the Jobcentre Plus to apply for Constant Attendance Allowance.

Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979

An award of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for mesothelioma may also lead to entitlement to a payment under this workers’ compensation scheme introduced in 1979.

If you are refused payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 for mesothelioma, you will automatically be considered for payment under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008

A payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 may adversely affect any existing entitlement you may already have to means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit etc. We strongly advise you to contact us before applying.

Civil (personal injury) compensation for mesothelioma

When you are told or become aware that you have an asbestos-related condition, you will normally have a period of 3 years from that date to start court action for compensation.

In 2014 a UK government report into average mesothelioma payments found:

Average compensation awarded in the UK for mesothelioma ranged from £137,000 to £153,531

In Scotland, a successful civil compensation claim for mesothelioma, on average, is over £150,000 in damages

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, a claim for compensation must be brought within 3 years of the date you first became aware that you had that condition. As the law stands in Scotland, if a claim is not brought within 3 years, you may be time-barred from bringing a claim.

Any employer who can be shown to have materially contributed to your asbestos-related condition and who acted negligently may be liable to pay damages. Even if the employer has ceased trading, action can still be taken if employers liability insurers can be traced.

Dependants’ Claim

If you’re the dependant (spouse, child, partner or relative) of someone who suffered from an asbestos-related disease but who has died, you may be able to make a claim for the compensation outlined above.

A dependants’ claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.

What if I can’t trace an employer or insurer?

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) 2014

You may be able to claim if all of the following apply:
• you were diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma on or after 25 July 2012
• your mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos when working in the UK
• you can’t trace the employer that exposed you to asbestos, or their insurers
• you haven’t made a civil claim against any employer or insurer
• you haven’t received damages or a specified payment for mesothelioma and you’re not eligible to a specified payment.

Dependants’ Claim

If you’re the dependant (spouse, child, partner or relative) of someone who suffered from an asbestos-related disease but who has died, you may be able to make a claim for the compensation outlined above.

A dependants’ claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.

What compensation am I entitled to if I was not Exposed to Asbestos at Work?  

Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008

Prior to 2008, there was no entitlement to state compensation for those diagnosed with mesothelioma unless they could show that they had contracted the disease at work. This new scheme, therefore, covers for the first time those who contracted mesothelioma from domestic or environmental exposure to asbestos.

A payment under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008 may adversely affect any existing entitlement you may already have to means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit etc. We strongly advise you to contact us before applying

Civil (personal injury) compensation

Secondary or environmental exposure: For example, if you were a married woman and your husband worked in an asbestos polluted environment, such as the shipyards, it could be possible that you contracted mesothelioma from your husband’s work clothes.  In this scenario, it may be possible for you to bring a claim for damages.

In order to determine whether a claim is possible, you will require the services of a specialist personal injury solicitor.

Dependants’ Claim

If you’re the dependant (spouse, child, partner or relative) of someone who suffered from an asbestos-related disease but who has died, you may be able to make a claim for the compensation outlined above.

A dependants’ claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.

Compensation and Benefits Advice Service

Our Welfare Rights Officers are here to answer any questions you may have and address any concerns.  We are able to provide you with practical and emotional support. We can also advise you what benefits you are entitled to and whether you are entitled to compensation from the government.  We provide specialist guidance on your right to pursue a civil/personal injury claim.

Our website contains a brief outline of the main benefits and compensation that an individual may be entitled to. However, the UK system of benefits and compensation is extremely complicated and constantly evolving.  We would advise you, therefore, to contact us in the first instance.

Compensation & Benefits Advice Service Compensation & Benefits Advice Service

Please contact us for further advice and information

Last reviewed: February 2020

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.