UK court ruling hits asbestos exposure sufferers' claims
12 October 2010
In the UK many people who contracted the deadly incurable lung cancer mesothelioma, caused by contact with asbestos decades ago could die without getting a penny in compensation.
The insurance industry had feared it would be required to make a £30 million payout to 200 of the victims and their families pending the outcome of the Appeal Court decision. However, the devastated claimants who have received much support from the Daily Mirror newspaper, in a long, hard campaign are now left to the tender mercies of pot luck in their legal battle for compensation.
Last night, Alan Ritchie, general secretary of building union UCATT, said, the decision was disgraceful and perverse and it was not is not justice. He added that the victims who had needlessly been subjected to asbestos exposure would be prevented from claiming compensation and sadly many would die before the cases could be resolved.
The Appeal Court ruled in favour of the insurance industry in the ''trigger issue''- when a worker was exposed to lethal levels of asbestos or when symptoms of cancer develop, which can be up to 60 years later. The insurance industry, cited a judgment in an unrelated case two years ago which said liability only arose when the disease actually happened.
Judges were unable to agree on a previous High Court ruling.
that insurers are liable for damages from the time when victims are exposed to asbestos.