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Home » Latest News » Landmark ruling gives new hope to people affected by exposure to asbestos

Landmark ruling gives new hope to people affected by exposure to asbestos

Landmark ruling gives new hope to people affected by exposure to asbestos

Workers and their families affected by exposure to asbestos have been given new hope by a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal. The outcome means that thousands of potential victims of asbestos-related illnesses could now have grounds for a claim which would previously have been unsuccessful.

Historically, such claims have hinged on the use of data from 40 years ago about the levels of asbestos considered acceptable in the air that we breathe. But, in considering the case of Bussey v Anglia Heating, Lord Justice Jackson found that the High Court had felt “constrained”.

The case arose when Veronica Bussey pursued a claim for compensation against one of her husband’s former employers after he died in 2016 from cancer associated with asbestos.

In May 2017, His Honour Judge Yelton decided he was bound by the ruling from Williams v the University of Birmingham in 2011, but the Court of Appeal ruling now means that judgment is set aside, and the case remitted for determination on the issue of liability.

Agreeing with Lord Justice Jackson, Lord Justice Moylan said there were particular concerns about the categorisation of risks. He added: “To seek to address whether a particular risk is acceptable or unacceptable could well lead to confusion rather than assisting the court in determining the critical question of the foreseeability of the relevant risk.”

The latest ruling is good news for claimants as, by acknowledging that using the historic measurements to demonstrate a “safe” level of asbestos is wrong, it increases the chance of a claim being successful.

Unfortunately, asbestos related illnesses may have claimed the lives of countless victims who were not able to fund private treatment without the compensation to which they would have been entitled.

Construction workers and shipyard workers are among those more likely to have been affected, often along with their families who may have been in contact with contaminated clothing.

The majority of cases are from people exposed to asbestos before 1983, when regulations were brought in. The latency of asbestos means it is usually upwards of 20-30 years post contamination that people start having problems, so many emerging cases will involve people who worked in these industries in the 70s and early 80s.

People who have been affected by asbestos should contact Bridge McFarland through the website at www.bridgemcfarland.co.uk or by phone on 01482 730326.