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Asbestos is a major problem for many educational establishments in the UK. It is thought that over three-quarters of schools in the UK contain asbestos. For example, asbestos board was often used to box in pipes and cables or as panels in suspended ceilings, while fibrous asbestos was commonly used for insulation. The reason why much of this asbestos hasn’t be removed is down to how widely it was used before the dangers of asbestos were known, and the vast cost involved in removing it. Unfortunately, this means that many people have the potential to be exposed to asbestos when in a school building.

At Dallas MacMillan, our personal injury team have developed particular expertise in helping clients who have developed asbestos-related illnesses as a result of exposure in schools and their families. We understand that the illnesses associated with asbestos can have a devastating impact and aim to help clients secure the compensation they are entitled to.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos was a very popular building material between the 1950s and 1970s in the UK’s shipbuilding, construction and manufacturing industries. Its popularity in these ‘heavy industries’ is generally attributed to its being non-flammable, as well as being very flexible and almost impossible to destroy. These qualities meant that it was very desirable to use to box in heating pipes and for providing insulation for buildings. It was therefore heavily used when rebuilding and building in the post-war period, particularly for public buildings, such as schools.

Why is asbestos considered dangerous?

While it was used heavily in the UK’s industrial years, little was known about its chemical make-up - people did not fully appreciate that while asbestos was a very useful substance it also presented considerable health risks. As science steadily caught up with manufacturing practices, asbestos was steadily fazed out of use and was completely banned from being used in 1999. This was due to the fact that asbestos was discovered to be composed of several million tiny fibres which, if inhaled, could cause serious damage to people’s lungs.

Notwithstanding the understanding that asbestos could be highly dangerous, this did not stop people from developing illnesses associated with it. Given its useful properties, it was used in the construction of many of the UK’s buildings, including schools. People only began to fully appreciate the dangers posed by asbestos when, during the renovation and rebuilding of some of the UK’s older schools, people unwittingly disturbed asbestos and inhaled it into their lungs. Over time, this then caused people, e.g. former pupils, teachers, pupil’s family members and contractors, working in school buildings to suffer terrible illnesses.

Mesothelioma & Asbestosis Claims for Exposure in Schools

It is important to understand that the average timeframe between inhaling asbestos and the onset of any related illness is, on average, around 35 years. This is another reason why asbestos is deemed to be so dangerous: it can be very difficult to identify where an illness has come from. With advancements in medical knowledge, it is now known that asbestos can contribute to people developing a range of illnesses, including:

If you have been involved in dealing with asbestos, and have developed a condition mentioned above, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

What are the rules for asbestos and personal injury claims?

The vast majority of the rules concerning the managing of buildings that are known to have asbestos in them are contained in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. These obligations place legal duties on those who are responsible for maintaining the school, i.e. the local authority, in most cases, to identify material in the building containing asbestos and protect those in the school from coming into contact with it.

It should be noted that the regulations do not impose a duty on the local authority to remove materials containing asbestos from the building, provided that there is no obvious threat to the safety of pupils and staff. Furthermore, the local authority is obliged to take steps that will bring the risk of people being exposed to asbestos to as low a level as possible.

If you are able to evidence that you have been involved in working with, or in an environment known to have, asbestos in the past, have developed an illness that is a related condition, and are able to evidence that it was someone else’s fault, then you may be entitled to a substantial sum in financial compensation. The important point to note about asbestos-related personal injury claims, whether arising from a school environment or otherwise, is that they are heavily dependent on facts. You should take some time to establish a clear time frame in your mind, being able to link your presence in the school and work with (or other contact) with asbestos, with your illness and failure by the local authority to take adequate steps to protect you. This includes:

  • As a former pupil that was once involved with the school;
  • As a teacher who worked in the building;
  • As a contractor who worked on the building.
     

Moreover, if your family have since contracted an asbestos-related illness, this may have been due to coming into contact with your clothes while you were working in the school.

Speak to experts to handle your Claims for Asbestos Exposure in Glasgow Schools

Asbestos-related personal injury claims can be very complicated. Not only does there need to be sufficiently compelling evidence to demonstrate that the local authority has failed in its obligation to protect you, the claim also needs to be processed quickly in order to meet tight deadlines. It is important that you allow your claim to be handled by specialist legal advisors, who are experienced in handling this particular kind of personal injury claim and understand the reality facing people who have contracted injuries as a result of exposure to asbestos.

At Dallas MacMillan, our specialist personal injury team are highly experienced in pursuing asbestos-related personal injury claims. We regularly work with clients who are former teachers and pupils in schools that have since contracted asbestos-related illnesses. We have seen, first-hand, the damage that these illnesses can have on people, and will make it a priority to determine as quickly as possible the merit of your claim, and the likely compensation that is possible. Our leading Scottish Personal Injury Solicitors can advise on all aspects of your claim. We offer a no-win, no-fee service. Contact us on 01413336750 to start your claim today, or alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form to the right.

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