Mesothelioma Decision – Problems Not Solved


The Court of Appeal has ruled in an important and complex test case concerning  who carries the liability to pay compensation for people who develop mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The decision will not only have serious implications for victims of the disease but will also create uncertainty for everyone involved in such cases.
The nub of the Court of Appeal’s decision is that where an insurance policy states that the liability is insured when the injury is ‘sustained’, the policy under which compensation may be claimed is the one in force when the disease starts to develop. However, where the policy insures the policy holder at the time the disease is ‘contracted’, the policy will cover the insured when exposure to the carcinogenic agent occurs.
Unfortunately, the ruling raises nearly as many issues as it solves and is likely to lbe responsible for protracted arguments over the precise date of injury.
An appeal is likely and it is to be hoped that this will bring greater clarity to this already complex area of litigation.

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