Clarification of asbestos law

Finally Asbestos Victims Receive Justice

The families of literally thousands of victims who have died due to exposure to asbestos will now be able to put forward successful claims for compensation thanks to a new ruling made by the UK Supreme Court.

There has been much confusion within the courts surrounding the area of asbestos claims and judges in lower courts have been unable to come to an agreement as to when an insurer becomes liable to pay compensation in cases of exposure to asbestos.

In 2008 the High Court ruled that the company’s insurer became immediately liable from the moment the victim inhaled the asbestos but, just two years after this ruling, the Court of Appeal claimed that, in certain cases, it would only be after the symptoms of the asbestos exposure had developed that the insurer’s liability would come into play.

In many cases of asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, the symptoms of exposure can take up to 30 years or more to make their presence known and, due to this confusion, the Supreme Court was asked to step in and interpret insurance policies to give everyone involved a clearer picture of the insurer’s liabilities and the point at which they begin.

The Supreme Court have done just that and their new ruling states that liability lies with the insurance company providing the employer cover at the time the victim inhaled the asbestos.

This ruling has been seen as a real breakthrough for many victims of asbestos exposure and their families who, before the ruling, would have had to wait possibly decades for symptoms to arise or even death to occur before being able to put in a claim.

Many insurers took the view that it was the insurance company providing cover at the time that the symptoms of asbestos exposure became apparent that were liable, not the insures providing cover during exposure and it is this mindset that has caused so many victims and their families to miss out on what is rightfully theirs.

The other problem that many victims had to face under the old ruling was that, over the period of time it may well have taken for their symptoms to become obvious, the insurance companies who provided those victims with cover at the time may well have ceased to operate.

Sadly, many insurance companies were more than happy to sit back and continue to receive premium payments for extortionate lengths of time, especially in cases of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos which can take up to 60 years to develop, knowing full well that they would sway liability when the victim eventually put in a claim. With the new ruling in place it is hoped that we will see an end to the likes of these insurance charlatans and their underhand dealings.

The ruling has also brought results for the relatives of a victim of asbestos exposure who have spent the last 6 years fighting for justice. The insurance company they were claiming against argued that, because the illness developed outside the period of cover in question, they weren’t liable for the compensation pay out, however, the courts rejected their argument and finally, after their long and arduous ordeal, the family received what was owed to them.

It’s a sad fact that asbestos exposure is still a prolific problem and claims more than 2,000 lives every year, however, it is hoped that, with the new ruling in place, the families of those victims will feel a little more protected and, although it could never make up for the loss of a loved one, compensation payouts will be easier to obtain.

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