Since January 2010 Unite members and their families in the North West have received £1.5m asbestos compensation with help from specialist lawyers Thompsons Solicitors.

The asbestos compensation experts successfully claimed damages for 14 members and their families including ten cases of the fatal asbestos related lung cancer mesothelioma.

In one mesothelioma case, in addition to obtaining full compensation for the family, Thompsons also recovered compensation for the hospice which provided care and support to the victim and family during the final stages of the illness. The case is one of the first of it's kind in the North West.

Compensation for Mesothelioma Victim

Thompsons also concluded a mesothelioma compensation claim for £135,000 within three months for a member who was exposed to asbestos when working for an industrial brake linings manufacturer.

As a result of a campaign backed by Unite the Government set up a compensation scheme in 2010 for people who had brought but not resolved a claim for pleural plaques before a House of Lords ruling which ended damages in 2007. Thompsons has recovered around £2 million for pleural plaques clients under the scheme including 43 Unite members in the North West who received up to £5,000 each.

Unlike many other law firms in the region Thompsons dealt with pleural plaques claims under the scheme free of charge so that their clients received 100% compensation.

Trigger Issue Test Case

Unite is set to fight to overturn a Court of Appeal decision, known as the trigger test case, which ruled in some cases that employer’s liability insurance is triggered not by the exposure to asbestos in the workplace, but by the development of the fatal cancer, mesothelioma, often many decades later when no insurance exists.

Thompsons are instructed by Unite to argue the legal case before the Supreme Court in December 2011.

Diana Fos, Head of Thompsons’ North West Specialist Asbestos Team said: “The last 18 months have been a very trying time for families who have been affected by asbestos disease. With the support of Unite’s legal service it has been possible to conclude cases successfully for their members for the best possible levels of compensation in the shortest time frame and at no cost to them.

“We are particularly focussed at present on preparing for the Supreme Court appeal hearing in December in the ‘trigger issue test case’ when Unite will resist a challenge by insurers who are attempting to avoid paying compensation to mesothelioma sufferers and their families. The outcome of this case could be one of the most important decisions in the history of asbestos litigation.”