Asbestos Ruling In Supreme Court

Campaigners have been celebrating a recent Supreme Court ruling which has opened the way for thousands of asbestos-related claims.

A panel of five Supreme Court judges ruled that insurance liability should begin at the time an employee was exposed to asbestos – not when the symptoms appeared. In practice, this means that families of people who have died after exposure to asbestos will now be able to pursue a compensation claim.

The decision went against insurance companies who sought to limit their liability, arguing that insurance policies should not cover asbestos-related disease after employees have left their job. The court disagreed, instead endorsing a ‘historical causation’ approach. This means an employer must still be held accountable for exposing their workforce to asbestos, even if health complications only become apparent later down the line. Consequently, the company who provided the employers’ liability insurance at the time of asbestos exposure must take responsibility for the claim.

The decision means relatives of employees who died from asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma will be able to claim on policies dating as far back as the 1940s.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, declared the “responsibility holiday” is now over for insurers. “This is a landmark ruling which will affect thousands of victims of asbestos”, he said. “It is a disgrace that insurance companies went to such lengths to shirk their responsibilities.”

Leon Taylor, partner at City firm DLA Piper, said the result will be “a relief” to thousands of disease victims and their families whose asbestos-related insurance claims have been on hold pending the court ruling.

“For the insolvent insurance companies involved, their administrators and liquidators now have the judicial guidance they needed to satisfy their obligations to properly manage claims in the interests of all the companies’ creditors”, he added.

Have you suffered an asbestos-related disease?

If your health has been adversely affected as a result of asbestos exposure, you need to discuss your options with a legal expert. This is because your employer is responsible for your health and safety while at work. Therefore if you were exposed to asbestos during the course of your work duties, your employer will have failed to maintain his duty of care towards you. If this negligence subsequently causes you to suffer an injury such as mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you will be entitled to claim compensation. This remains true even if you are no longer in same employment.

To speak to a solicitor who specialises in work injury claims, contact us today at Work Accident Solicitors. We will be more than happy to help you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.

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