New hope in fight against silent killer

FRESH steps are being taken today in the fight against a silent killer that has devastated scores of Suffolk families.

FRESH steps are being taken today in the fight against a silent killer that has devastated scores of Suffolk families.

The Evening Star has teamed up with Ipswich solicitors Gotelee & Goldsmith to offer readers a free legal consultation to see if they are entitled to compensation if they or a loved one have suffered a disease caused by exposure to deadly asbestos.

Speaking on the British Lung Foundation's Action Mesothelioma Day, personal injury lawyer Tim Humpage said people should not feel bad about seeking damages.

“My message to people affected would be that although it is a very difficult time they should think about taking legal advice with regards to a claim for compensation,” he said. “In the vast majority of cases exposure was because of negligence so it is right to take action.

“You can't cure the disease but you are entitled to compensation. People can act to ensure they get a payment during their lifetime or to have peace of mind that they have done as much as they can to ensure the rest of their family is provided for after they pass away.”

Mr Humpage said if the company a person worked for no longer exists compensation is still available from the government and they would also be entitled to industrial injury benefit.

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However he said it was important to act sooner rather than later because the onset of the disease could be rapid.

“Mesothelioma can take a long time to emerge - between 30 and 50 years - but once it does it is very quick,” he said. “In these cases evidence is crucial and this is obviously easier to get if the individual is still alive.

“Trying to piece together a story after a person has passed away is more difficult - but it can be done.”

Anyone who would like to arrange a free consultation with Mr Humpage should call Gotelee & Goldsmith on 01473 298155.

Are you suffering from mesothelioma? Has your loved one died as a result of the silent killer? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or alternatively you can e-mail:

Mesothelioma is a cancer of pleural cells which cover the surface of the lung cavity.

The incidence of mesothelioma has increased threefold since 1990.

About 1,800 people die from the condition each year - twice the number that die from cervical cancer.

The Government predicts there will be at least 38,000 deaths from mesothelioma in this country and 76,000 asbestos induced lung cancer deaths over the next 20 years.

THE Evening Star has campaigned for those who have died at the hands of asbestos for more than 20 years.

In the 1980s, the Star highlighted the dangers of asbestos when Cliff Quay power station was demolished.

In 1997, the Star launched The Silent Killer campaign to highlight deaths related to asbestos and to fight for justice for the victims of asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestos is labelled the silent killer because diseases related to it can lay dormant for many years before diagnosis.

Over the next 15 years, the number of deaths is expected to increase dramatically, peaking at 10,000 in 2020.

The Star will continue to highlight these deaths to raise awareness of the heartache and suffering asbestos can and does cause.

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