Asbestos - When Does Time Start Ticking to Bring a Claim?

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

The rule is that claims for personal injury must be commenced within three years of the date that the individual knows (or should have reasonably know) that

(a) he or she has suffered significant injury; and

(b) that the injury was attributable wholly or partly to the individual that they consider to be at faults,  actions or omissions. In this case Mr Hoey had worked as a fitter in the ship building industry for 45 years and had regularly been exposed to asbestos. He first developed chest pains in 1984/1985 and saw his GP who referred him to a hospital chest clinic.

There was a concern that he might have developed mesothelioma. However this was the only possible link that he was aware of between exposure to asbestos and his condition. The scans also showed Pleural thickening but he was not told that this could be linked to asbestos exposure by his treating Doctors.

He did not have any further investigations and his symptoms went away.

In 1992 he developed problems with breathing  again and was retired owing to this. His condition deteriorated and in December 2008 he underwent a scan at the chest clinic that initially treated him. The scan showed that he  had diffuse pleural thickening and a large area of folded lung which his treating Doctors told him were due to exposure to asbestos.

His Solicitors issued court proceedings in August 2010. Solicitors for his previous employers sought to Defend the claim on the basis that more than 3 years since he knew of his condition had passed relying on the diagnosis in 1984/1985.

At the court of first instance the court rejected Mr Hoey's previous employers arguments. This employers appealed the decision. The Court of Appeal agreed with the decision of the lower court. It held that in the 1980's he suffered a transient bout of chest pain only and Mr Hoey did not therefore know at this point he was suffering from a significant injury until the diagnosis and discussion following the scan in 2008.Mr Hoey was able to claim compensation for his asbestos related injury. 

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at