A landmark ruling in The Supreme Court may help other sufferers of asbestos related disease obtain compensation. The court ruled that a mesothelioma sufferer was entitled to compensation even though he was not working directly with asbestos.
Percy McDonald, who was a lorry driver picking up waste products from Battersea Power Station between 1954 and 1958 passed away in February this year from mesothelioma. He was not in direct contact with asbestos in the course of his official duties but he did go into areas of the plant where asbestos dust was generated and he was exposed to the substance.
During the original trial the Defendant and occupier of the site argued that he was not entitled to receive compensation as he was not employed by them and his role did not involve direct work with asbestos. The court dismissed his claim on the basis he was exposed at a ‘modest level’ and as such it was unlikely to pose any health risk.
This decision was appealed on the basis that working with asbestos is a risk even if the exposure is only occasional or for limited periods. The appeal was allowed but the Defendant, National Grid Electricity, further appealed to the Supreme Court where a majority of three judges to two ruled that under the Factories Act 1961 they were responsible for all people on site, not just direct employees.
Lord Kerr said it was a ‘fallacious’ argument to say liability depended on a ‘substantial’ quantity of the dust being inhaled.
Mr McDonald’s son Eric said: ‘Hopefully other people affected will now be able to succeed in their legal battles too.’
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness contact us on 0800 294 3065 to discuss how we can help to put a plan in place from care provisions to financial security for the future.