Back in March, the Supreme Court announced a new ruling which would mean that thousands of people across the UK would be able to make insurance claims if a member of their family died after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Insurance policies dating back to the 1940s can be now claimed on in instances where an employee was exposed to the asbestos in the workplace.
Asbestos became increasingly popular with construction companies and manufacturers back in the 19th century, mainly due to its affordability but also because it is very resistant to fire, heat and electrical and chemical damage. However in 1985 in Great Britain, some types of asbestos (blue and brown) were banned after a number of deaths and diseases were attributed directly to asbestosis. Then in 1999 the import, sale and second hand reuse of white asbestos was outlawed too. Litigation around asbestos varies in different countries around the world.
Mesothelioma is the disease which is caused by exposure to asbestos. One of the reasons for the ruling is that mesothelioma can take decades to show any symptoms, meaning that previously, it was very difficult for liability to be placed. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that liability should be placed at the time of exposure rather than when the symptoms were identified which gives a lot more clarity to the families of those who have died and the solicitors representing them.
Every year, there are around 5000 related deaths as a direct result of exposure to asbestos and this ruling will mean that many of the families affected will be able to claim compensation that could help to cover funeral expenses, loss of income and other financial worries. It is thought that the number of deaths will soon peak as asbestos has not been used in common construction for many years now, meaning that any cases should have showed signs by now.
If you think that you may have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, it is a good idea to check with a medical professional as to whether there is any risk that you could have asbestosis. If your family has been affected by as asbestos related death on insurance policies from the 1940’s onwards, be sure to contact a solicitor to see whether you are eligible to make a claim. Many solicitors offer a free initial consultation so you have nothing to lose by having them take a look at your case for you.