My father has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer due to being exposed to asbestos in a factory he worked at thirty years ago. The company for who he worked is no longer in business, so is it still possible to claim mesothelioma cancer compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

My father has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer due to being exposed to asbestos in a factory he worked at thirty years ago. The company for who he worked is no longer in business, so is it still possible to claim mesothelioma cancer compensation?

Answer:

Although the company for which your father worked is no longer in business, it may still be possible to make a claim for mesothelioma cancer compensation against the company´s former employer liability insurers. You should be able to find out which insurance company insured your father´s employers through the Companies Registration Office, but this may become complicated if the insurance company changed its name or has been taken over by a larger firm.

Once the insurance company has been traced, your father will need to make an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland citing the insurance company as the Respondent. As a rule, the insurance company will deny responsibility for your father´s mesothelioma cancer compensation claim, but you should still complete Form A or the online application to the Injuries Board Ireland as comprehensively as possible should liability for your father´s condition be accepted.

If liability for your father´s mesothelioma cancer compensation claim is accepted, the Injuries Board will proceed with their assessment based on the information that you and your father´s doctor (through Form B) have provided them with. Once the assessment of your father´s claim for mesothelioma cancer compensation is completed, the Injuries Board Ireland will send both your father and the insurance company a “Notice of Assessment” which – if both your father and the insurance company accept – will be followed by an “Order to Pay”, and the insurance company will send your father a cheque in settlement of his mesothelioma cancer compensation claim.

Should how much compensation for mesothelioma cancer be disputed by either party, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue your father with an “Authorisation” to pursue his claim for mesothelioma cancer compensation through the courts – the same “Authorisation” that would be issued to your father if – as anticipated – the insurance company deny their responsibility when a “Consent to Assess” is sought by the Injuries Board Ireland.

Although many claims for mesothelioma cancer compensation will be settled before court action is necessary, it is important that your father gathers as much evidence of his former employer´s negligence as possible in support of his claim. Therefore it is advisable that he collect as many documents as possible from his former employer that he may still have in his possession, get contact details of any trade union he belonged to or who were active at his former place of work, and make a list of former colleagues that may be able to testify to the environment in which your father worked.

With this information, a solicitor would prepare the strongest possible compensation claim for mesothelioma cancer and present it to the insurance company. If they still deny liability for your father´s condition and decline to settle, it would be necessary to take the case to court and have the mesothelioma cancer compensation claim decided by a judge. If your father is too ill to go through these procedures or is concerned about the prospect of an appearance in court, it is possible that you can pursue a compensation claim for mesothelioma cancer on his behalf.

There are several considerations that you should take into account before deciding that you wish to pursue a mesothelioma cancer compensation claim. The first is that it is your best interests to engage the services of an experienced Irish solicitor at the first stages of the claim. A solicitor who is familiar with annual reports and the Companies Registration Office will enable you to find the information you need to make a compensation claim for mesothelioma cancer faster and will help you complete the initial application form to the Injuries Board Ireland to include every compensatable aspect of your father´s illness.

The second consideration is that, should your father die from mesothelioma cancer before his claim is resolved, you will be unable to claim compensation for his pain and suffering and only be entitled to recover the financial expenses incurred for medical treatment and in relation to any financial contribution he would have made to the family if it were not for the cancer. For this reason, it is advisable to contact an experienced Irish solicitor at the first possible opportunity.