Legal battle over compensation to Mesothelioma victims begins


Families of victims afflicted by the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, will begin the nine-week battle in the High Court against employers’ insurers who are arguing that they are not liable to pay compensation.

The test case hearing revolves around the legal debate over the exact point in time when insurers’ liability should be triggered with respect to the disease mesothelioma, where symptoms of the disease on average take around 30 to 40 years to appear.

In the UK, approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. Many were exposed to asbestos in the early 1950s through to the 1980s when asbestos was used widely in the building and construction trade as well as in shipyards and other industries.

The key issue of at what point does the disease begin to exist is a complex legal issue which Mr Justice Burton will address over the coming weeks. Essentially, the difficulty is whether the trigger point should be deemed to be at the time of exposure to asbestos, when the disease starts to develop or when the symptoms begin to appear.

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