As the numbers of asbestosis sufferers increase, inevitably, the numbers who make an asbestosis claim rises too. However, short life expectancy and time-consuming case investigations mean that, all too often, relatively few mesothelioma claimants live to see justice prevail.

The setting up of the Royal Courts of Justice Asbestos Disease List in 2002 was introduced to streamline the seemingly unending complexity attached to asbestos compensation and more frequently, a mesothelioma claim. The combination of strict deadlines and an early admission of liability led to more cases being resolved during a claimant’s lifetime. By 2009, the RCJ’s asbestos list adjudicated as many as two thirds of the country’s fatal asbestos claims.

Endeavouring to at least settle liability while claimant’s were still alive to obtain an interim payment, now equal to £50,000, was the first priority of the asbestosis lawyer, as in many instances when these cases went before the court, the claimants only had weeks or months to live.

These days, defendants’ solicitors, particularly insurers, are looking to try and to see whether they can admit liability as soon as possible. Shortening the case makes it less expensive to fight, because the costs they are going to incur – which they have to pay to the claimants’ solicitors – are much higher than the costs they are paying to their own lawyers.

More often than not, the only exception to early admission of liability, is usually where the defendant is still in business as a trading company, and either has no insurer or a huge excess. Defendants in these circumstances obviously have more of an incentive to fight the case.

According to government statistics, there are now more than 2,000 mesothelioma deaths a year. In the first few years, there were many mesothelioma sufferers who were not making claims because they were unaware of its existence and often, potential claimants did not understand the significance of what they were suffering from.

Today, anybody who arrives at a doctor’s surgery with mesothelioma or goes to a specialist will be told of the link between their illness, a likely exposure to asbestos and the possibility of gaining compensation.

Not every claim can proceed when there is no trace of an insurer and the company has been out of business for many years. But the possibility of carrying out comprehensive Insurer searches, and the active hunt for evidence of Employers’ Liability insurance has made a considerable change for improving prospects over the last ten years.