The number of asbestosis claim cases have more than doubled in just three years to over 1,164 in 2010 and around 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are annually diagnosed in the UK.
Yet the fight by asbestosis lawyers to win mesothelioma compensation on behalf of their clients continues to be fierce despite of the formidable array of evidence to show that all asbestos exposure should be considered as posing degrees of risk to long term health.
While it can sometimes be difficult to trace a mesothelioma victim’s original company employer and / or their insurers, once brought to court there can be further new challenges to face. In certain cases a defendant may shift the focus of their defence to a light mesothelioma exposure risk claim based on proving an exposure to asbestos has caused an effect to whether any ‘breach of the duty of care’ by the employer had taken place.
This change of approach may reflect the increasing number of light exposure mesothelioma cases which now appear. Consequently, the ability of an asbestosis lawyer to win a mesothelioma claim may become more reliant on showing there was a breach of duty in each individual case of asbestos exposure.
At the centre of the defence lies the issue of asbestos awareness and whether the defendant should have reasonably foreseen the risk to the claimant of contracting mesothelioma in the particular circumstances of a victim’s case.
This refers to those circumstances whether knowledge was possessed that it was reasonably foreseeable to the employer that the level of exposure would likely cause the employee to be exposed to an asbestos health risk. As a consequence of the exposure faced, had reasonable steps, which should have been taken, actually been carried out to prevent foreseeable injury.
However, it may be that in certain cases of single exposure, it only requires to be shown that the presence of asbestos materially increased the risk to the claimant of contracting mesothelioma.
A debating point which could arise is whether adhering to an analysis based on the foreseeability of a risk of asbestos-related disease may determine an inconsistent standard of care.
With an estimated 45,000 mesothelioma deaths forecast by 2050, the number of mesothelioma claims look set to keep on rising. Undoubtedly, defendants will seek to contest the extent of their responsibilities wherever they can but court rulings increasingly find in favour of mesothelioma claimants.