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Abestos Related Illnesses

Asbestos Related Illnesses

Industrial Diseases – A Legal Point of View

Asbestos Victims Face Further Confusion Following Court of Appeal Decision

 Victims of asbestos and their families face a further period of ‘confusion and uncertainty’ after a Court of Appeal ruling today (8th October). The case is quite likely to go to the House of Lords.

Brigitte Chandler, a lawyer with Swindon firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall and one of the UK’s leading experts in industrial disease litigation, said she was disappointed with the judgement which saw insurers win a partial victory in the Court of Appeal.

The judgement will allow some sufferers to recover damages for the injuries they sustained at work decades ago but will mean many others will miss out.

“This decision today takes us no further forward with some victims of asbestos exposure now able to claim compensation while others can’t. Many business and insurance companies also won’t know where they stand,” she said.

Brigitte Chandler has hundreds of clients in the Swindon and South West region waiting on today’s decision.

The three judges were unable to agree on a High Court ruling in November 2008 – hailed as a victory for the victims – which stated that employers’ insurers at the time of exposure to asebstos were liable to pay out on claims for mesothelioma – caused by exposure to asbestos in the workplace.

Insurers decided to appeal against the judgement. Today’s Court of Appeal decision will allow some victims to claim against the insurers at the time of exposure to asbestos but also found that in some cases the responsibility lay with the employers’ insurers at the onset of symptoms – which can be 50 or 60 years later after exposure to asbestos. In cases where the employers company is no longer in existence there will be no insurance cover in these cases and victims will not be able to claim. Some employers who have no insurance cover for asbestos claims could go bankrupt as a result of this decision.

“This decision creates a divide among claimants,” says Brigitte Chandler. “The very wording of employers’ insurance policies will need to be scrutinised. We were hoping for a uniform judgement today but we haven’t got one.”

For further information please contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793 511055 or brigitte.chandler@clmlaw.co.uk

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