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The Supreme Court ruled today that an asbestos–related cancer victim should receive compensation, even though he was not working directly with the substance. The claimant, Percy McDonald died from mesothelioma in February 2014. He was a delivery driver whose work included driving to Battersea Power Station to pick up waste products between 1954 and 1958.
Mesothelioma or malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive and relatively rare form of cancer which only known cause is by exposure to asbestos. It can affect people who have experienced both high and relatively low levels of asbestos exposure. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural affecting the lining of the lungs and represents about 75% of all mesothelioma incidences. The fatal condition usually develops between 20 – 60 years after initial exposure to asbestos and approximately 2,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.
It had been argued by the defendant that the claimant, Percy McDonald, could not receive compensation because he was not employed by the occupier of the site and because their primary work was not directly involved in the asbestos industry.
However, the majority Judgment provides guidance on the above two agruments with the following key points of law:
– That the Asbestos Industry Regulations apply to all factories using asbestos (not just those affiliated with the asbestos industry)
– That under the Factories Act, it is the occupier of the premises who is directly responsible for the welfare of the people on site, not just those that it directly employs.
The landmark judgement will protect the rights and provide reassurance for those victims currently in a similar position and also for future sufferers to receive a just settlement to provide for their families after their death.
If you have any queries relating to asbestos-related disease or or a victim of mesothelioma and need advice, please call us on 0161 832 5000 to speak with our specialist mesothelioma lawyers.
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