Mesothelioma & good news for claimants
2nd December 2014
Premiums for after the event mesothelioma claims continue to be recoverable. Further, the recent Supreme Court ruling (Percy Leonard McDonald v Department for Communities and Local Government/National Grid Electricity/Transmissions PLC) has considerably widened the net with respect to who can claim for industrial related mesothelioma.
Despite the fact he had never worked with asbestos, Mr McDonald, a lorry driver, picked up industrial waste products (crushed fuel ash) from Battersea Power Station for four years in the 1950s. At times he walked through areas where laggers where working with raw asbestos.
National Electricity Grid argued that Mr McDonald could not receive compensation because he was not directly employed in contact with asbestos, initially, a County Court Judge in Bristol found in favour of the Defendants.
The claimant appealed and The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge.
Subsequently the claimants appealed to the Supreme Court who found that the occupier is responsible for all people on site, not just direct employees in accordance with the Factories Act 1961.
The judgment also clarified that asbestos industry regulations applied to all premises using asbestos not just those involved in the asbestos industry.
At the same time a recent report by the Justice Select Committee (JSC) concluded that the Government’s attempt to extend sections 44 & 46 of LASPOA to mesothelioma claims from next July should be delayed until Government Ministers had completed a review. This review should only be carried out when sufficient data was available for the effects of LASPOA on other forms of claim could be assessed. This will have the effect of delaying implementation for some time.
Finally, one aspect which intrigues me is that 2,000 years ago the Romans knew that slaves who worked in asbestos mines died of lung disease. The HSE’s latest projection is that UK mesothelioma claims will now only peak in 2016. We never learn!