A mesothelioma patient explains why he’s glad he sought legal advice

It was the 11th August 2020 and I was leaving my local hospital with a diagnosis of Mesothelioma! The following few days were very challenging really as my wife and I had to begin to come to terms with what the diagnosis meant. We had to inform family and friends, and discuss treatment options, as well as begin to change the plans we had made for our future together.

Seeking advice and support

Whilst we were in hospital the lung nurse gave us several documents and leaflets to read. Over the next few days, we began to educate ourselves about the disease. In addition our mailbox started to become fuller each day. On one day we received some literature from the hospital about Asbestos Support Central England (ASCE). My caseworker, Helen, made contact with me later that week. She explained the team’s support role for mesothelioma patients.

My initial reaction to consulting a solicitor

Within the initial mail pack from ASCE were several more leaflets, which were from legal companies who specialise in asbestos cases. My immediate thought and action was to discard these. My overriding opinion was that all they wanted was to benefit from my situation.

Four weeks after my diagnosis I began chemotherapy. During this month we were supported tremendously by ASCE. Helen in particular arranged for documents to be completed to support our financial situation and helped us plan for an uncertain future. That support continues today and is communicated very professionally and with empathy.

Why I changed my mind

After my first course of chemotherapy I decided to create a file for the significant amount of documents we were receiving. As I began to sort my mail into groups related to my condition, the chemotherapy, the benefit payments, and so on, I once again came across the five or six leaflets that were promoting each of the legal firms on the panel set up by ASCE . These companies are not recommended by ASCE but are known by them to specialise in Asbestos cases. They guarantee not to charge fees or take part of their clients’ compensation. I began to read the leaflets and realised that I had initially been wrong. These companies are really focused on supporting the families of people like myself.

Contacting my chosen solicitor was a pleasant surprise

I contacted one of the companies and introduced myself. The initial contact was so easy and comfortable. We agreed a time and date for one of the solicitors to contact me. I was also asked to prepare certain key points such as my work history and hospital details.

When the call began the solicitor introduced himself and his role. I was pleasantly surprised and we began our initial conversation. The call lasted around ninety minutes.

The benefits of contacting a solicitor

After the call I began to investigate further the benefits of contacting a solicitor. The overriding one was to effectively challenge the company where I believed I had contracted an asbestos related disease. If my case is successful there could be the security of financial support to help change our home, to accommodate the changes in my condition as time progresses. In addition the relatively new immunotherapy option could be funded by a successful claim.

What I have had to do

After our initial conversationI had to sign off a statement and return it to the solicitor. Since then, short conversations have taken place adding information as appropriate.

The importance of acting quickly

By the time I had my third chemotherapy treatment in November I noticed that my concentration levels had become shorter. i was becoming tired for longer after each treatment. I truly believe if I had not started the process when i did, I might not have started at all. My initial reaction was wrong and I am now extremely pleased and comfortable about using a solicitor to genuinely fight our corner.

Why I am telling my story

The purpose of this blog post is not to advise anyone else what to do. It is my memory of my first few months as a mesothelioma sufferer. I have had to deal with lots of emotions and difficult decisions. I wish everyone reading this success in your own fight. Remember, there are many genuine people and organisations out there working to make our lives more comfortable. And that includes some legal firms!

Chris Hodgin