Compensation for asbestos related cancer
The French-owned multinational Saint Gobain is attempting to deny mesothelioma widow, Sylvia Barker, compensation which had previously been awarded by a court for the death of her husband Vernon, a former employee.
The case, which is being taken to the House of Lords on Monday 13th March 2006 by St Gobain and its insurers, threatens to seriously limit the amount of compensation for asbestos related cancer, and the rights, of thousands of sufferers from one of the cruellest and most painful forms cancer.
Caused almost exclusively by exposure to Asbestos, Mesothelioma is incurable and is invariably fatal. It is estimated that there are approximately 2000 deaths from Mesothelioma a year in the UK.
Asbestos related illnesses take the life of over 5000 people each year in the UK, greater than the number of people killed in road traffic accidents. The incubation period for the development of Mesothelioma can be anywhere between 20 and 50 years.
Asbestos related cancer legal advice
In the case of Sylvia Barker -v- Saint Gobain Pipelines Plc, to be heard on Monday, the House of Lords will be asked to decide on 2 issues.
Firstly, the defendants will argue that compensation should be denied altogether to mesothelioma claimants if they have ever been exposed to asbestos during a period of self employment even if they were also exposed to asbestos when they were an employee in a different period.
Secondly, the defendants will argue that they should only be liable to pay damages for periods of guilty exposure and should not be liable to pay 100% of the compensation if other culpable employers have gone out of business and their insurers cannot be found.
The last 6 years has seen a series of generic challenges by employers and their employers liability insurers, all with the aim of saving costs.
This latest move follows the recent successful appeal by the insurance industry to deny compensation to people suffering from Pleural Plaques, a scarring of the lung tissue caused from asbestos exposure. The presence of this scarring indicates exposure to asbestos dust and fibres which frequently cause cancer making anxiety about the future a very real consequence of diagnosis.
Asbestos related cancer solicitors
Adrian Budgen the Head of the Asbestos Related Diseases Litigation team at Irwin Mitchell said We sincerely hope that the law lords will reject the defendants shabby arguments to either deny compensation altogether or to drastically reduce damages in Mesothelioma cases. The compensation sufferers should be entitled to, enables them to live out the remainder of their lives with improved financial security and also provides for loved ones left behind
Speaking on behalf of the Sheffield and Rotherham Asbestos Group (SARAG) Paula Walker said This is nothing more than a cost saving exercise by employers and their insurance companies. This decision will have a massive impact on the quality of life of people suffering from the most horrifying symptoms, whose only crime was breathing the air at their place of work
The hearing will take place in the Lords as a protest takes place outside by asbestos victims support groups, relatives and widows from around the UK, including Sylvia Barker, who are fighting for compensation for the loss of family members who suffered the fatal disease, they will carry photographs of those who have died from mesothelioma.
Do you have a claim? If you or someone you know has been effected by asbestos, our solicitors may be able to help. Visit the asbestos related diseases section.