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Mesothelioma Cancer Cases in the UK

Mesothelioma cancer cases in the UK are on the increase according to statistics produced by the Health and Safety Executive and it is estimated that – due to the length of time symptoms of mesothelioma take to manifest – the peak frequency of fatal injuries from the disease will not be seen for many years yet. These statistics however are of no comfort if you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma cancer due to the negligence of a previous employer. Although no amount of money will ever replace the loss of years and loss of life due to this industrial disease a claim for mesothelioma cancer compensation can provide the funds for a victim´s final years to be as comfortable as possible. Speak with a helpful solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service about the procedures you need to complete in order to be eligible for UK mesothelioma cancer compensation.

Widow to Donate Mesothelioma Compensation Settlement

April 11, 2017

The widow of a man who died from asbestos-related cancer is donating her mesothelioma compensation settlement to the hospice that cared for her husband.

Barry Dempsey from Scarborough in Yorkshire was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in June 2015. He died from the condition the following April aged 75 and, prior to his death, Barry instructed solicitors to investigate how he came into contact with the asbestos responsible for his illness.

His solicitors discovered that, during the five years he worked as an apprentice electrician at ICI, he was exposed to asbestos dust due to the poor condition of asbestos lagging around boilers and pipework. Despite Barry´s passing, his widow pursued a claim for compensation against ICI´s formers insurers.

In the claim for a mesothelioma compensation settlement, Barry´s widow – Patricia – alleged that ICI did not take reasonable steps to prevent Barry inhaling deadly asbestos dust, even though the company was aware of the risks from asbestos and that asbestos was present in the workplace.

After a period of negotiation, ICI´s former insurers agreed to a mesothelioma compensation settlement, which Patricia – Barry´s wife of 52 years and mother to their three children – has said she will donate to the hospice that provided a care at home service during the final days of Barry´s life.

Speaking with her local newspaper, Patricia said: “Barry’s death has been difficult for us all to come to terms with and one of the primary reasons for taking legal action was to recoup the cost of care provided to him by the staff at St. Catherine’s Hospice.

“All of us have at some time been touched by a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with a type of cancer and we have seen the amazing job the dedicated staff at St. Catherine’s do to make people as comfortable as possible in their final days.”

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Claim for Mesothelioma Cancer against Rothmans Settled Out of Court

August 23, 2016

A claim for mesothelioma cancer against Rothmans, made by a former employee of the cigarette manufacturer, has been settled out of court for a six-figure sum.

In the late 1970s, Valerie Cameron (57) from Darlington in County Durham was employed on the production line at the city´s Rothman´s cigarette factory. While she was employed at the factory, work began on the construction of an extension – work that involved the removal of asbestos lagging from existing pipework.

In May 2015, Valerie was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. It was only when she tried to recall how she might have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibres that she remembered the extension work at the cigarette factory. Valerie then sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for mesothelioma cancer against Rothmans.

Rothmans denied its liability – forcing solicitors acting on Valerie´s behalf to take her claim to the High Court. It was only once High Court proceedings had been issued that Rothmans entered into negotiations to settle Valerie´s claim – the parties agreeing to an undisclosed six-figure settlement.

Speaking after her claim for mesothelioma cancer against Rothmans had been resolved, Valerie told her local paper: “I was completely shocked when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and immediately became worried about my future. I hope that by taking legal action I can some way help to raise awareness of this terrible disease and the problems exposure to asbestos can lead to decades down the line.”

Valerie´s solicitor added: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes significant pain and suffering for victims like Valerie and employers should have been well aware of the dangers it posed to their staff.”

He continued: “Nothing can change Valerie’s diagnosis but after issuing legal proceedings against Rothmans at the High Court we have been able to secure her a settlement that will hopefully enable her to focus on fighting the disease and spending time with her family and friends.”

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HSE Releases Figures for Fatal UK Workplace Accidents in 2015/16

July 7, 2016

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has released details of fatal UK workplace accidents for the twelve months to 31st March 2016.

The figures relating to fatal workplace accidents in the UK are provisional but reveal a slight increase in the number of employees and self-employed workers who were killed in workplace accidents, from 142 in 2014/15 to 144 in 2015/16.

The figures exclude employees killed in road traffic accidents, or those travelling by sea or air when they were killed, as well as deaths attributable to industrial diseases – estimated to be around 13,000 each year. They also exclude fatal UK workplace accidents in Northern Ireland.

Also absent from the HSE figures for the first time are fatal workplace accidents in the UK in premises registered with the Care Quality Commission. Since April 2015, workplace fatalities in locations such as care homes, hospitals and mental health facilities are no longer included in the annual report.

Within key industrial sectors, 43 workers died in construction, 37 workers lost their lives in service industry jobs, while there were 27 deaths each in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The remaining ten deaths occurred in the mining, utilities, waste and recycling sectors.

In addition to the 144 employee and self-employed workers who lost their lives in fatal workplace accidents in the UK, 103 members of the public were killed in accidents on retail premises, in care home facilities or on public transport – down from 127 in 2014/15.

It is important to note that the number of deaths does not directly correspond with the number of fatal UK workplace accidents as some accident result in multiple fatalities. For example, eight lives were lost in three of the accidents in the manufacturing section.

The HSE´s provisional figures are compiled only on accidents that are reported through the RIDDOR process and only when an employee or self-employed worked has died within a year of an accident. Consequently the confirmed number of deaths due to fatal UK workplace accidents will not be published until July 2017.

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Royal Navy Veteran Entitled to Asbestos Compensation for Military Staff

March 8, 2016

A Royal Navy veteran has been told that he will now be entitled to asbestos compensation for military staff after the Ministry of Defence relaxed its rules.

Fred Minall (74) from Northampton served aboard the HMS Trafalgar between 1958 and 1963 as a Royal Navy engineer. During his time on board the ship, Fred and his colleagues would be “covered head to foot” in asbestos used for fire-proofing and heat resistant purposes.

In October 2015, Fred was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer due to inhaling asbestos powder and fibres. However, whereas civilians who contract an asbestos-related disease can often sue their former employer, asbestos compensation for military staff was only available to those diagnosed after December 2015.

Following a campaign to allow all former servicemen asbestos compensation for military staff, the Ministry of Defence changed its policy and gave Fred and other servicemen in his position the option of a tax-free lump sum or smaller annual payments to assist them financially through the last years of their lives.

Now eligible for a lump-sum payment of £170,000, Fred told the BBC: “This news is marvellous and I could not have wished for better. To know that my three sons and their families will benefit from the effort that has gone into getting this unfortunate issue resolved is very satisfying.”

Campaigners for the relaxation of the rules also welcomed the change of policy. Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion, said: “The Government has done the right thing and we appreciate the effort that has gone into accommodating the people who were missing out on asbestos compensation for military staff”.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, Defence minister Mark Lancaster commented: “It is right that we do more to support veterans affected by this condition – it’s part of our commitment to our Armed Forces. This change will give them more choice and control.”

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HSE Releases Statistics for Fatal Accidents in the Workplace

July 6, 2015

The Health and Safety Executive has released a preliminary report covering fatal accidents in the workplace and deaths due to exposure to asbestos at work.

The provision annual report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows a slight increase in fatal accidents in the workplace. Between April 2014 and March 2015, 142 employees died in fatal accidents at work compared to last year´s all-time low of 136. This represents a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers – one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers in leading industrial nations.

The industries which experienced the highest rates of fatalities were agriculture, recycling and construction. The agriculture industry recorded a rate of 9.12 fatalities per 100,000 workers after the number of fatal accidents in the workplace increased year-on-year from 27 to 33. There were five fatal accidents in the waste and recycling industry (a rate of 4.31 fatalities per 100,000 workers) and thirty-five fatal accidents in the construction industry (down from 44 fatal accidents recorded in 2013/14).

Included in the provisional report were the latest available figures for deaths attributable to mesothelioma cancer from exposure to asbestos at work. Deaths caused by mesothelioma cancer are one of the few work-related diseases that can be accurately recorded, and the latest figures show that in 2013, exposure to asbestos in the workplace accounted for 2,538 deaths – a slight decrease on the 2,548 asbestos-related deaths recorded in 2012.

Commenting on the statistics for fatal accidents in the workplace, Judith Hackett said “It is disappointing last year’s performance on fatal injuries has not been matched, but the trend continues to be one of improvement. Our systems and our framework remain strong as demonstrated by our performance in comparison to other countries. Every fatality is a tragic event and our commitment to preventing loss of life in the workplace remains unaltered.  All workplace fatalities drive HSE to develop even more effective interventions to reduce death, injury and ill health”.

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Compensation Claims for Teachers Exceed £26 Million

April 10, 2015

Figures released by the teaching unions have revealed that more than £26 million was paid out in settlements of compensation claims for teachers in 2014.

The figures released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) apply to all compensation claims for teachers – including personal injury claims, assault claims and employment claims – and reveal a wide range of injuries that can be sustained by teachers in the course of their work.

Among the settlements of compensation claims for teachers included in the figures were:

A 25-year-old PE teacher in the south-east received £41,000 after suffering soft tissue injuries and a dislocated knee while demonstrating long jump techniques to his students. The local authority admitted liability after the long jump pit was found to be in an unsafe condition.

Another teacher from the south-east was paid £17,250 compensation after damp and mouldy conditions at her school – brought about by an unrepaired leaking roof – caused her to develop breathing problems and anxiety which prevented her from teaching.

Another female teacher received £70,000 in injury compensation after slipping on a wet floor with no warning signs. Her fall resulted in the premature onset of arthritis in her hip, and the teacher had to resign from teaching due to the consequences of her injury.

One of the largest settlements of compensation claims for teachers was paid to a 53-year-old teacher, who tripped on an unsecured carpet and suffered a serious head injury – which resulted in memory loss – when she hit her head on a shelf as she fell.

Commenting on the settlements of compensation claims for teachers, Chris Keates – the General Secretary of the NASUWT – said: “The tragedy is that in most cases compensation would be unnecessary if employers followed good employment practices and appropriate health and safety procedures.”

He continued: “The distress and displeasure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family has often been compounded by years of legal action and court proceedings before any award is made.” The largest settlement of a compensation claim reported by the NASUWT was £210,000 for a retired teacher, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in 2013 following exposure to asbestos in a classroom.

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Legal Fees Mesothelioma Ruling Victory for Claimants

October 6, 2014

The High Court has ruled that government plans to deduct legal fees from mesothelioma cancer compensation settlements is unlawful.

In December 2013, the Government announced plans to set up a compensation fund for victims of mesothelioma cancer which had developed due to exposure to asbestos. The fund was to compensate victims of mesothelioma cancer when their previous employers could not be traced and there was no insurance policy against which to make a claim for compensation.

Like victims of asbestos exposure who could claim mesothelioma compensation from former employees still in business, exemptions to the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) applied which meant that the responsibility for legal costs remained with the employer or insurance company liable for settling the mesothelioma cancer compensation claim.

However, after the fund had been announced, a review of the exemptions was conducted and the Ministry of Justice announced that victims of mesothelioma cancer would now be responsible for their own legal costs. The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK immediately challenged the decision and brought an action against Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to remove the burden of legal fees from mesothelioma compensation settlements.

At the High Court, the Honourable Mr Justice William Davis ruled that the deduction of legal fees from mesothelioma compensation settlements was unlawful. He stated in his summing up “The issue is whether the Lord Chancellor conducted a proper review of the likely effect of the LAPSO reforms on mesothelioma claims. I conclude that he did not”.

The judgement delighted campaigners from the Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK, with Doug Jewell commenting “This [judgement] lifts the burden of fear from thousands of mesothelioma sufferers. People ask about legal action because they want to look after their families after they’ve died, but they’re scared by the legal fees. Now they’re told they’re safe, it won’t cost you anything, and they can take action and provide for their families.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said that the Ministry was disappointed with Mr Justice William Davis´ judgement, but added “We are committed to finding the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly. Mesothelioma is an awful condition which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time, and we want to help sufferers and their families.”

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Widower´s Mesothelioma Compensation Claim Resolved

July 25, 2014

A widower from Dorset has successfully resolved his mesothelioma compensation claim against the Ministry of Justice for £647,840 after a hearing at the High Court.

Sally Knauer from Gillingham in Dorset died in August 2009 aged 46 – just five months after she had been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer due to occupational exposure to asbestos in the workplace. Prior to the devastating diagnosis, Sally had worked as an administrator at the Guy´s March prison, where she would often come into contact with technicians carrying out repair work on pipes lagged with asbestos.

Following her death, Sally´s husband – Ian – made a mesothelioma compensation claim against the Ministry of Justice, alleging that the Ministry had failed to protect Sally from the hazards of exposure to asbestos. Initially the Ministry of Justice denied liability for Sally´s death, but last year agreed that the family were entitled to compensation.

However, no agreement could be found regarding how much compensation for the loss of his wife Ian was entitled to, and the case proceeded to the High Court in London – where Mr Justice Bean heard evidence regarding the nature of Sally´s death and the contribution she had made to the Knauer household.

Judge Bean heard how Sally was extremely house-proud and responsible for cleaning, cooking, laundering and shopping for Ian and his three sons – 22, 20 and 16. The court was told how Sally would spend at least three hours every day taking care of her family, walking the dogs, decorating when necessary and tending to the garden.

Judge Bean described the division of labour as it “was as it might have been in the 1950s” and commented that Ian and Sally were an “old-fashioned couple”. After hearing evidence of the contribution Sally made to the household, Judge Bean awarded Ian £647,840, which included £88,160 for “past services dependency” and £327,241 for “future services dependency”.

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Mesothelioma Compensation Fund to be Established in 2014

December 5, 2013

The Government plans to set up a special mesothelioma compensation fund to compensate victims exposed to asbestos in cases where former employers and insurance companies can no longer be traced.

Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer which is most prevalent among those who previously worked in industries where they were exposed to asbestos. It is estimated that 2,400 people die from mesothelioma cancer each year – with those numbers set to increase over the next few decades as the cancer can take up to fifty years to manifest.

Victims of mesothelioma can make claims for injury compensation when their former employers are still in business, or when the insurance company that provided the employer with insurance still exists – however, due to the length of time that mesothelioma cancer takes to develop, it is not always a straightforward process, and some claimants forgo their rights to compensation because of the stress involved.

 Victims of mesothelioma and their families are currently able to claim against an existing Government fund when it can be proved that exposure to asbestos occurred and that the employer/insurance company cannot be traced, but payments have been limited to £20,000 – an “injustice” according to Mike Penning, the Work and Pensions Minister, which has left “many tragic victims and their families high and dry”.

Under the proposed mesothelioma compensation fund, claimants will still have to prove that they were exposed to asbestos in the course of their employment, and that the former employer/insurance company is no longer in business; however, compensation payments for mesothelioma will be increased to 75 percent of the average settlement paid out in civil actions (around £115,000) and the process will be much faster due to a database of employer liability insurance policies being voluntarily established by the insurance industry.

Mike Penning described the proposed mesothelioma compensation fund as a “major breakthrough for the many victims of this terrible disease, who have been failed by successive governments and the insurance industry for decades.” However, the Minister has come under some criticism for not extending the fund to victims of other asbestos-related diseases, and for introducing a cut-off point for claimants, who must have been diagnosed with the disease subsequent to 25th July 2012.

The mesothelioma compensation fund still has to receive parliamentary approval but, subject to the Bill being passed, payments of compensation for mesothelioma sufferers should start by next July.

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Changes in Procedures for Personal Injury Claims Introduced

August 6, 2013

Further changes to the procedures for personal injury claims were introduced on 1st August which should result in the quicker settlement of lower value claims when liability is not in dispute.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 introduced a number of changes to the procedures for personal injury claims in April 2013 – most significantly the way in which “No Win, No Fee” injury claims are handled.

Since April, claimants have been personally liable for solicitor´s “Success Fees” and “After the Event” insurance premiums but have received an uplift in the value of General Damages awarded in personal injury compensation settlements to account for this.

On August 1st, the Civil Procedure Rules (CPRs) governing court action in England and Wales were also amended to assist in reducing the time it takes to settle personal injury claims with a value of up to £25,000 when a single party is responsible for an injury occurring and liability is admitted by that party.

The new procedures for personal injury claims in England and Wales will see negligent parties and their insurance companies allowed just one day (from 21 days) from receiving a “Letter of Claim” to acknowledge its receipt, and thirty days (from 90 days*) to inform a solicitor whether or not liability is accepted or the claim is going to be contested.

Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

Exceptions to the Procedures for Personal Injury Claims

These measures should significant reduce how long it takes to resolve a claim for personal injury compensation where  the total value of the claim is more than £1,000 and less than £25,000; however there are a number of exceptions to the new procedures for personal injury claims:-

  • Public liability claims against an individual – for example if you have been injured in an accident in a neighbour´s home due to their negligence.
  • Any public liability claim in which you or a member of your family has contracted a disease – for example if you suffer food poisoning after eating in a restaurant
  • Any claim in which either the defendant or the claimant is bankrupt or has died, or where a claim is made against more than one party
  • Where an injury is sustained in an accident outside of England or Wales – for example while on holiday
  • Claims in which the defendant is uninsured or untraceable – for example hit and run accidents
  • Any claims for medical negligence or clinical malpractice
  • Mesothelioma claims for compensation

The changes to the Civil Procedure Rules do not affect the Statute of Limitations relating to how long you have to make a claim for personal injury compensation after the date of knowledge that an injury has been sustained, and only apply to injuries diagnosed on or after 1st August 2013.

If you have any questions regarding how the changes in procedures for personal injury claims may affect you, it is recommended that you speak with a personal injury claims solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

 (*) Employers and insurance companies providing Employer Liability Insurance will have forty days to conduct an investigation into your work injury claim and advise your solicitor whether or not liability is accepted.

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Govt Criticised over Mesothelioma Compensation Legislation

May 9, 2013

Campaigners have criticised the Government´s proposed mesothelioma compensation legislation, saying that many sufferers of asbestos-related diseases will be excluded from receiving compensation.

The proposals – announced during the Queen´s Speech at the opening of Parliament – are intended to compensate victims who contracted mesothelioma cancer while working for an employer who can no longer be traced.

Government ministers said that the plans addressed the ‘market failure’ in which former workers, who were negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace, find it difficult to trace an employer or insurer who is liable to pay compensation.

The proposed mesothelioma compensation legislation will only apply to those unable to claim compensation from a former employer´s insurance company and intends to settle claims for compensation at 70 percent of the average compensation settlement paid out by insurers to those not in the scheme.

Funding for the program will be generated by a levy on insurance companies currently providing employer´s liability insurance and should raise more than £300 million over the next ten years – sufficient to provide compensation for three hundred mesothelioma sufferers each year who would otherwise not receive anything.

While government ministers were hailing the proposed Mesothelioma Bill as a ‘major breakthrough’, many campaigners criticised the proposals for not going far enough. Tony Whitston, chairman of the Asbestos Victims Support Group, said: “What appears to be a great deal brokered by government, and costing the insurance industry a small fortune, is in reality something entirely different”.

Mr Whitston and other campaigners cited a list of areas in which the proposed mesothelioma compensation legislation fails to provide for many victims of asbestos related diseases. These include:-

  • the 70 percent cap on ‘average’ mesothelioma compensation settlements which will not allow each claim to be settled on its individual merits
  • the condition that only those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012 will be eligible for the proposed mesothelioma compensation legislation
  • the exclusion from the right to compensation of former employees suffering from the asbestos-related diseases asbestosis and pleural thickening

The British Lung Foundation also said it would seek to amend the proposed mesothelioma compensation legislation to ensure a “long-term, sustainable research fund” is set up to find a cure for mesothelioma.

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Man Dies after Making Claim for BT Engineer Mesothelioma

August 1, 2012

A former BT Building Contract Manager has died shortly after commencing a claim for BT engineer mesothelioma compensation against his former employers.

Derek Butler (74) from Weston in Somerset was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer earlier this year – an industrial disease caused by exposure to asbestos. At the inquest into his death, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing heard from consultant physician Dr Justin Pepperell, who confirmed Mr Butler had died as a result of malignant mesothelioma.

The court was also read a statement prepared by Derek prior to his death in which the deceased explained that he had worked for British telecommunications from 1967 and, in 1980, had been promoted to the position of Building Contract Manager. His new role included the preparation and remodelling of buildings which were transferring from mechanical to electrical telephone systems.

Although Derek´s major responsibility was in the planning of the remodelling, his work involved on-site supervision. While on-site – the statement continued – Derek was exposed to cables coated in asbestos and, despite the presence of plastic sheets, a significant volume of dust fibres were released into the atmosphere because of the scale of the project. This continued until Derek´s retirement in 1996.

The inquest was also told that Derek had commenced a claim for BT engineer mesothelioma cancer after his condition had been attributed to his exposure to asbestos while working for BT and, summing up the hearing, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said: “Mr Butler did not work directly with asbestos but when working with BT and working with buildings which were remodelled it was likely he was exposed to asbestos during that work. I accept the medical cause of death as being one due to industrial disease.”

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Fund Set Up to Provide Compensation for Mesothelioma Victims

July 26, 2012

The Government have announced that a 300 million pounds fund is to be created to provide compensation for mesothelioma victims unable to trace their previous employer or their previous employer´s insurers.  

The new scheme – which will be funded by the insurance industry – is anticipated to benefit approximately 3,000 victims of the industrial disease over the next ten years who would have lost out on compensation for mesothelioma victims. Although the scheme will take up to two years to pass through parliament, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012 will be entitled to claim compensation for diffuse mesothelioma cancer when it can be proven that they – or their solicitors – have been unable to trace the liable party or their insurers.

Announcing the scheme, Minister for Welfare, Lord Freud, said: “We have worked tirelessly together with the insurance industry to agree this package of measures on behalf of those who face this terrible disease. The new scheme will mean that, for the first time, sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma, who cannot trace either a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer, will have access to extra payments.”

Despite being welcome news for the estimated 300 people diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer each year who would otherwise be unable to claim compensation for mesothelioma victims, campaigners and members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have criticised the measures for not being more comprehensive. Those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer prior to 25th July will be excluded from the scheme, as will those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases other then mesothelioma cancer.

Former employees of companies still in existence – such as engineers employed by BT who were exposed to asbestos while installing new telephone exchanges – will not be affected by the change, and should claim compensation for mesothelioma victims against their former employer with the assistance of a solicitor.

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Farm Owners Exposed To Asbestos Claims from Farm Workers

July 16, 2012

Farm asbestos claims for compensation may potentially increase following new regulations introduced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Farm owners, and those who rent farms on a full repairing lease, could be liable to asbestos claims from employees and farm workers who develop asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer from the inhalation of asbestos fibres present in farm buildings.

The new regulations tighten up the existing Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 to take account of the European Commission’s view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).

Although the majority of changes to the previous regulations are limited, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 now makes it compulsory for farm owners and employer-tenants to record, and in some cases report, non-licensed work which was previously permitted.

In addition to the new working regulations, farm owners and employer-tenants (“duty-holders”) have been reminded by the HSE to:-

  1. Carry out a risk assessment of all non-domestic buildings which contain asbestos and “asbestos containing materials”
  2. Draw a plan of the farm and farm buildings – identifying where asbestos may be present and indicating each building with the appropriate sign
  3. If unsure about the type of asbestos present in farm buildings, the duty-holder must arrange for samples to be tested in an UKAS accredited laboratory
  4. Regularly check the condition of the asbestos and decide whether the asbestos needs to be removed or sealed to prevent the risk of injury
  5. Arrange for the removal of asbestos which poses a hazard to health only using a licensed contractor
  6. Inform employees, contractors and farm visitors (i.e. vets) of the presence of asbestos and make sure they do not disturb it.

A study in 2008 estimated that more than 50,000 farms in the UK (from a total approaching 300,000) had non-domestic buildings which contained asbestos or “asbestos containing materials”. Not all of these buildings are constructed with the dangerous amphibole (or “blue” and “brown”) forms of asbestos however, failure to adhere to the new regulations would expose farm owners and those with a duty of care for the health and safety to farm asbestos claims for compensation should a farm worker or farm visitor contract an asbestos-related illness due to the duty-holder´s negligence.

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Asbestos Fatal Injury Compensation for Boiler Engineer´s Widow

May 14, 2012

The widow of a man who contracted mesothelioma cancer from the lagging of water boilers has been awarded 290,000 pounds in asbestos fatal injury compensation one year after her husband´s death.

David Bean from Shepton Mallet in Somerset worked as a boiler engineer for Bristol Water until 1992; during which time his duties included visiting pump stations which housed water boilers protected by asbestos cement lagging.

In September 2010, David started to suffer from chest pains, coughing and breathlessness, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.

Within six months David had passed away at the age of 73 and, after seeking legal advice, David´s widow – Jean – made a claim for asbestos fatal injury compensation against his former employers.

It was alleged in the action that David was not provided with protective masks or clothing, or warned by Bristol Water of the risks posed by disturbing and inhaling asbestos fibres.

After an investigation into historic health and safety procedures, Bristol Water admitted liability for David´s exposure for asbestos and a settlement of asbestos fatal injury compensation was negotiated between the company and Jean´s legal representatives.

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Joiner to Receive Compensation for Exposure to Asbestos

April 27, 2012

An ex-joiner, who contracted mesothelioma cancer after being exposed to asbestos, has won his claim for compensation against his former employers.

Mohammed Najib (71) from Newham, London, worked as a joiner for the building company John Laing PLC between 1974 and 1980. During this time, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies heard at London’s High Court, he was exposed to asbestos and was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in 2009.

The court heard that Mr Najib is in constant pain from the cancer and the remaining moths of his life will be painful and distressing. Mr Najib is relying on vast quantities of morphine to get through each day, and is unable to attend the mosque.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies awarded Mr Najib 80,000 pounds for his pain and suffering, and further amounts to compensate for specialist equipment that has been purchased, alternative treatments Mr Najib has undergone and – as the judge phrased it – his “lost years”.

The total amount of the compensation package totalled more than 175,000 pounds, and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies commented that “the level of damages for mesothelioma reflects the exceedingly painful nature of the disease.”

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No Win No Fee Asbestos Claims to be Exempt from Changes

April 24, 2012

The government´s justice minister, Jonathan Djanogly, has announced that “No Win, No Fee” asbestos claims and claims for compensation for asbestos-related diseases will be exempt from the changes being introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill later this year.

Under the original plans to reform No Win, No Fee Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), the government was keen to remove access for all claimants to no-win, no-fee legal representation, but the Department of Justice has bowed to pressure from the Lords and from campaigners to exempt those suffering from mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Djanogly said there had been “careful reflection about the special case of mesothelioma sufferers”, and a delay would now be imposed to the removal of access to No Win, No Fee asbestos claims. Mr Djanogly also said the government was looking at ways of making it easier for sufferers and their solicitors to trace their former employer’s insurers.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan welcomed the concession for No Win, No Fee asbestos claims, telling the House “The key question here is should victims of industrial diseases like mesothelioma have to hand over part of their damages to their lawyers and insurer, or should the wrongdoers fund the cost of the successful litigation?”

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Compensation for Mesothelioma Cancer Paid to Former Miner

March 1, 2012

A former miner, who was exposed to asbestos fibres during an eighteen year period working in two Nottinghamshire collieries, has been awarded 73,890 pounds compensation for mesothelioma cancer by a judge at London´s High Court.

Dennis Ball (92) from Beeston, Nottinghamshire, worked at the Sutton Colliery and the Moorgreen Colliery between 1967 and 1985 where, it had been alleged, he was exposed to asbestos fibres which were responsible for the development of mesothelioma cancer.

Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court heard how Dennis had been in good physical health and living independently in his home, prior to being found lying on the floor of his flat struggling for breath in March 2010. Dennis was subsequently moved to a care home and diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.

In his claim for compensation for mesothelioma cancer, it was alleged that the National Coal Board failed to warn Dennis against the risk of exposure to asbestos and offered no form of personal protective equipment. Liability was admitted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change who now administer liabilities on behalf of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation.

Mrs Justice Swift awarded Dennis 73,890 pounds compensation for mesothelioma cancer, which included 50,000 pounds for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity and a further 20,000 pounds for the years of his life he will undoubtedly lose.  Commenting on the award, Mrs Justice Swift said “Mr Ball’s age means that he does not have the distress of knowing that many years, even decades, of his life have been denied him. Importantly, however, the onset of illness forced him to leave his home and thus to lose his independence.”

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Judge Awards Compensation for Mesothelioma to BT Engineer

November 28, 2011

A judge at Bristol High Court has awarded an interim payment of compensation for mesothelioma to a BT Engineer who had worked for the telecommunications giant for 27 years.

Frederick Vincent (76) from Torquay in Dorset was awarded the five-figure sum as an interim payment to provide him with the private care he requires immediately, pending a full settlement of BT engineer mesothelioma compensation still to be determined.

The court heard how Frederick worked as an installation engineer for BT between 1962 and 1989 and regularly came into contact with asbestos while working in telephone exchanges in Devon where he had to drill through asbestos insulation boards to gain access to telephone wires.

Frederick also explained that he worked in close proximity to asbestos-lagged pipe work and his exposure to asbestos had been attributed to his developing mesothelioma cancer – a diagnosis he received on his fiftieth wedding anniversary earlier this year.

The judge found against BT for negligently exposing their employee to asbestos dust and awarded the interim payment of compensation for mesothelioma to the BT engineer. The money will enable Frederick to pay for private nursing care and equipment to help him through the final stages of his illness, and also to purchase a car in order that Frederick´s wife – Jean – can drive him to medical appointments.

Update February 2012: Sadly, Frederick passed away due to malignant mesothelioma cancer on 31st January.

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Chef, Exposed to Asbestos, Settles 6 Figure Compensation Claim

July 5, 2011

A chef, who contracted mesothelioma cancer after being exposed to asbestos in the oven linings of the Italian restaurant in which he worked, has received a six-figure compensation settlement from his former employers.

Luigi Pes (60) of Salisbury, Wiltshire, had worked in the La Gondola Restaurant throughout the 1980s as a pizza chef for the restaurant. During his employment there, he was exposed to asbestos both in the linings of the ovens and in the ceiling of a storeroom.

In February 2008, Luigi was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer – a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs which is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. After seeking legal advice, he brought a mesothelioma cancer compensation claim against his former employers, claiming that were to blame for the working conditions that made him terminally ill.

In his action, Luigi also claimed that he was never given any warnings about the dangers of working in an environment which contained asbestos nor provided with any personal protective equipment.

His former employees admitted liability for his injuries, and agreed a six-figure compensation payment which was settled out of court.

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