UK meso victims win round one in battle for compensation

26 Nov 2008 by under Legal, News, Video

In what unions in the UK are calling a “hugely important victory,” the ruled insurance policies in place when a worker was exposed to asbestos are liable for asbestos-related illnesses, including , which may develop later, according to a BBC News report. The verdict was delivered in a “test case” that examined six individual cases against insurance companies.

According to the news report, the High Court had to decide which insurance policy should cover mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases – the one in effect at the time of exposure (a liability insurance held by companies to insure them against claims by employees injured on the job) or the one in effect when a worker becomes sick.

Part of the problem with asbestos-disease related claims is that there is usually a very long latency period for mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. Sometimes symptoms do not develop for as many as 40 or more years after exposure. As a result, a person does not realize he or she has been injured in the workplace until many years later.

According to the BBC story, this ruling was especially important because many new insurance policies have exemptions against asbestos-related claims.

More than 2,000 people were diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK last year, and those numbers are expected to grow.

BBC video: Mesothelioma victims’ solicitor Carolann Hepworth reacts to High Court Ruling.

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