The ability of an asbestosis lawyer to win an asbestosis or mesothelioma claim relies almost exclusively on showing that there was a breach of duty by the company employer in each individual case where an employee was exposed to asbestos at their place of work, and which caused their mesothelioma or an asbestosis related disease.
To reach this stage, the original employer and /or their insurers have to be traced and in a number of cases, they may no longer be in business. This is because there is a long gestation period of up to fifty years from an initial asbestos exposure to the appearance of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms and a confirmed diagnosis.
However, it is more than likely that the employer defendants will be more than willing to settle a case out of court as they would wish to limit their possible losses due to legal fees, the mesothelioma compensation amount or other consequences of a trial verdict.
Out of court settlements can also mean the defendant can avoid admitting liability, are better able to maintain secrecy over the settlement amount, and limit damage to reputation. News of a court victory and substantial damages being awarded will attract further former employees to make a claim. In other words, defendants will more quickly settle out of court just to avoid negative publicity and added expense.
In recent years, some insurers have vigorously contested their liability based on asbestos awareness grounds and whether the risk of eventually contracting mesothelioma by the claimant, “could be reasonably foreseen by the employer at the time of the original exposure, and at a level which would likely cause the employee to be exposed to a future health risk”.
It was argued by the insurers that the employer would have taken all expected reasonable steps to prevent a “foreseeable injury”. However, during the peak asbestos use years from the 1940s until the first bans were applied in the mid 1980s, often little to no health and safety information, protection equipment/clothing such as face masks were provided to men and women who daily worked with asbestos materials or otherwise came into regular contact, however inadvertently.
In examples of single exposure, it only requires to be shown that the presence of asbestos materially increased the risk to the claimant of contracting mesothelioma. In a ‘low risk’ exposure claim, where for example, white chrysotile may be involved, proof could be required to show that where an exposure to asbestos had caused an effect, a ‘breach of the duty of care’ by the employer had taken place.
By 2010, the rising number of asbestosis claim cases in the UK had reached over 1,160 and over 2,000 mesothelioma cases continue to be diagnosed every year.