Supreme Court backs asbestos claimants

The former Acre Mill, Old Town, Hebden Bridge, where many people worked with asbestos
The former Acre Mill, Old Town, Hebden Bridge, where many people worked with asbestos
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AN important test case this week will benefit those pursuing asbestos-related claims.

Hundreds of local families have sought compensation after loved ones were exposed to deadly asbestos which causes the lung disease mesothelioma.

Halifax solicitors John Pickering and Partners, of Dean Clough, were involved in the claims case at the Supreme Court.

Their client and others were told they would receive compensation after insurers refused to pay.

Fozia Hussain, a Partner at Pickerings, said the landmark ruling sent a clear message to insurance companies to pay up.

“A small number of insurance companies refused to pay compensation by relying on the wording of policies in force at the time of the exposure,” she said.

“Their argument was that insurers at the time of diagnosis should pay compensation.

“A lot of employers in these actions are defunct and would not have insurance in place at the time of diagnosis.

“The ruling means that the insurers on cover at the time of employment and exposure will have to pay out compensation.

“It has an impact on our area, being an industrial area, full of mills, factories and other premises that contained asbestos.

“Many workers have died from asbestos related illnesses. A lot of the employers are out of business so families rely on the insurers on cover at the time of exposure to pay out compensation.”

She said had the insurers succeeded in their challenge the system of compensation for mesothelioma sufferers would have been in utter chaos.

“The case would have created a pot luck situation. In our estimation, at least half of mesothelioma suffers would have be unable to claim compensation,” she said.