Fatal asbestos illness, mesothelioma
Unite the Union has today confirmed it will go to the Supreme Court to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling that threatens to deprive thousands of asbestos cancer victims and their families of their rightful compensation.
In a landmark ruling earlier this month the Court of Appeal decided that in some asbestos cases the employer’s liability insurance is triggered not by the exposure to asbestos in the workplace but by the development of the fatal cancer, mesothelioma.
Because symptoms of mesothelioma only begin decades after asbestos dust was inhaled the ruling means thousands of British workers who develop the disease could be deprived of compensation.
We want to see justice done for innocent victims and their families
Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley said:
“The way the insurers refused to pay out in these cases is a kick in the guts to every family that’s watched a loved one suffer a painful and degrading death from mesothelioma.
“Insurers sold their policies knowing that employers and workers' families would rely on them. Now they’re trying to weasel out of paying based on fancy legal argument and policy small print.”
“Unite will put its full weight behind this appeal. We will pursue it because we want to see justice done for innocent victims and their families.”
Ian McFall, Head of Asbestos Policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said:
"Asbestos victims will welcome the decision by Unite to pursue the appeal to the highest court in the land and the union's principled stance in opposing the insurers' latest legal challenge.
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.