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Home > News > High Court rules in favour of mesothelioma victims

24th November 2008

High Court rules in favour of mesothelioma victims

In a victory for fairness, justice and common sense, the High Court today (21 November 2008) ruled that victims of mesothelioma will be entitled to claim compensation from insurers. The test case had been brought to the High Court to determine whether the “trigger” for employers’ insurers liability to pay compensation should be the development of the disease, or the exposure to asbestos.

Since asbestos-related conditions, including mesothelioma, can occur decades after the exposure to asbestos, many of the negligent employers may no longer exist when employees eventually develop the disease. If the trigger issue defence had succeeded, this would have meant that where there was no insurance in place at the time the disease developed, the mesothelioma sufferer and their family would have been left with no right to compensation against the insurer.

This decision, after a nine-week court battle, means that thousands of men and women across the UK will still be entitled to obtain compensation.

A “trigger issue” test case for victims of asbestos-related diseases

In one test case, dealt with by Clear Answers' solicitors, Thompsons Solicitors, the family of a mesothelioma victim who had sadly died of this devastating disease in 2003, will be a step closer to receiving their compensation.

Having being awarded compensation following the initial success of the case against the defunct employer, the insurance company had refused to pay on the grounds of the trigger issue defence. Maureen Edwards, daughter of Charles Edwards, who had continued to fight this claim on her father’s behalf, said that her dad had died a painful death from mesothelioma and that watching him suffer had been agonising for all the family.

Of the insurance company who had tried to deny them compensation she said: “Excess Insurance poured salt into the wound by forcing us to fight them in court to receive compensation which we had already been awarded but they refused to pay”.

She also stated that her father would have been proud that justice had finally been achieved, but disgusted at the lengths to which the insurers were willing to go to in order to avoid paying out.

Insurers attempt to avoid paying out mesothelioma compensation

This important decision is a crucial victory for those who have had to suffer and for their families who had to watch a loved-one die a painful death from mesothelioma.

Had the High Court found in favour of the insurance companies, it would have affected both current and future claims. Thousands of mesothelioma victims, or their families, would have been unable to claim compensation if the employer responsible for the asbestos exposure no longer existed at the time the disease developed.

Ian McFall, Head of Asbestos Policy

Head of Asbestos Policy at Clear Answers’ solicitors, Thompsons Solicitors, Ian McFall said: "The court had to grapple with many difficult and complex legal issues in this important test case to decide the true meaning and effect of the insurance policies. The outcome is a great relief for many asbestos victims and their families and a victory for fairness, justice and common sense”.

Compensation Claim

Clear Answers’ lawyers have a reputation for obtaining the maximum compensation for people who suffer from any asbestos-related disease, especially mesothelioma, as a result of negligence by the employer. We will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice and to talk you through the claims process in plain English. Our teams of experts are waiting to answer any questions you may have regarding your claim.

If you or a family member is suffering, or has suffered from an asbestos-related disease, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, a representative will contact you as soon as possible if you complete one of our on-line compensation claim forms.

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