Last week’s Supreme Court ruling over Employers Liability Policy Trigger Litigation ended years of anxious delays for the many victims and their families awaiting a decision, which found in favour of their outstanding mesothelioma compensation cases. Among the first of the claims to be looked at within weeks is WESolicitors client, David Mahoney, 52, diagnosed with the fatal incurable mesothelioma cancer in October 2009.
A former roofer, Mr Mahoney was originally exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibres over a 18 month period from 1976 when employed by a building firm who were working on a former British Home Stores premises in Colchester, Essex.
Despite the growing asbestos awareness of the deadly health risks, the widespread use of the most toxic forms of asbestos fibres in UK industries was not banned until the mid 1980s. Even then, the building industry continued to use white asbestos in its insulation products, such as AIB, cement roofing and textured coatings until asbestos import was banned outright in 1999.
An initial mesothelioma claim was first rejected by the former employers insurance claims service, set up after the original insurers went out of business. The claims service also refused to pay Mr Mahoney an interim payment of £50,000 in 2010 when ordered by a High Court judge on the grounds they were awaiting a “trigger” case to go through both the Appeal Court and Supreme Court.
It is well documented that the unusually long gestation period of between 15 to 50 years that elapses from first asbestos exposure to the eventual emergence of mesothelioma asbestosis symptoms too often means that the disease would have reached an advanced stage.
Following the recent Supreme Court ruling, WESolicitors have applied to have a “stay” on the case lifted and a court hearing to decide on the final amount of compensation, expected to be around £200,000, will take place in six to eight weeks.
As a result of the protracted delays over contested liability, it was not possible for Mr Mahoney to purchase life-prolonging treatments unavailable from the NHS and instead the compensation is intended to provide security for his wife and family of five children and 11 grandchildren.
With 2,000 cases of mesothelioma continuing to be diagnosed and over 4,000 asbestos disease related deaths recorded annually in the UK, the number of asbestosis claim cases has more than doubled in three years to over 1,160 cases in 2010.