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nationaL


LandmarkSupremeCourtrulingwillhelpasbestosvictims get thecompensationtheydeserve


aSBEStoS viCtoRy


t the compensation they deserve


UK has ruled in favour of asbestos victims. In the landmark ruling, judges at the Supreme Court agreed that employers are liable for insurance at the time an employee is exposed to asbestos – not when symptoms appear – and must pay compensation in cases of work-related asbestos illness. This victory shows


i


the importance of GMBlegal services and means that compensation for workers exposed to deadly asbestos will no longer be a lottery over the meaning of small print in company insurance policies. Insurers fought


n one of the biggest cases in the history of asbestos law, the highest court in the


SupreMecourt The highest court in theUK.


would not have received any compensation. But this ruling finally lays to rest the uncertainty for victims who were caught up in an attack by greedy insurers trying to avoid paying out. In the lead case that lead to the ruling, the family of Charles O’Farrell (who died from mesothelioma in 2003), was3), was


represented by Thompsons Solicitors. Mr


. Mr


O’Farrell’s former employer had gone out of


gone out of


business and its insurer


s insur


claimed it wasclaimed it was not liable fornot liable for


against a decision of this kind to avoid compensation pay- outs to victims of mesothelioma, the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. They argued that policies were triggered


SerIouShAzArd Mesotheliomakills at least 2,500people every year.


compensation as workers had to “sus y or


as work


had to “sustain injury or contract


disease” at ” at the time they


not by exposure to asbestos itself, but by the development of the disease – always decades later when there is no insurance in place. But the Supreme Court judges rejected these arguments, ending a six-year battle knownas the ‘trigger issue’ litigation. Had the insurers been successful in court,


manyGMBmembers and their familieswhose lives have been devastated by asbestos


were working for the employer and within a 12-month period of the insurance policy. But the Supreme Court judges decided


that the words in the policies referred to the time when the disease was caused, not to when it developed. “The whole purpose of these policies,” they concluded, “was to insure employers against liability to their employees.” Shocking levels of asbestos found in schools: seepage23.


s former r had


ed by


If youthink youmight havebeen exposed to asbestos atwork, call your regional office nowto get yourname onGMB’s asbestos register.Theregisterisapermanent database that canmake it faster formemberswhodevelopan asbestos-relateddisease toget the compensationtheydeserve. It is currently runningin every region.


BirminghamandWestMidlands


01215504888 London


02082028272 MidlandsandEastCoast


01159607171 northern


01912333930 northWestandirish


01517270077 Scotland


01413328641 Southern


02083978881 WalesandSouthWest


02920491260 yorkshireandnorthDerbyshire


08453377777 www.gmb.org.uk 19


Getonthe GMBregister


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