Landmark ruling on legacy of Fibrecrete
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:27 AM
FAMILIES affected by industrial diseases caused by asbestos are delighted after a landmark Supreme Court ruling opened the door to compensation for the deadly legacy of Fibrecrete.
Solicitor Christiane Goaziou says relatives of victims could now continue their employers' liability insurance claims.
It was by a four to one majority decision that the highest court in the land found the trigger for compensation was the date of workers' exposure to asbestos.
Previously the date of diagnosis was the trigger.
But illnesses like mesothelioma can take as long as 40 years to produce symptoms.
That meant insurers at the time of diagnosis were no longer on risk to indemnify the victim's employers and no compensation was payable.
Ms Goaziou said the Supreme Court judgment had brought clarity to the issue.
"Claims which had been put on hold since 2006 as a result of the ongoing litigation will be pursued now that the balance of justice has been redressed," she said.
Fibrecrete in Chalford made drainpipes, gutters and other building products from asbestos from the 1930s to the 1970s.
Asbestos dust and fibres breathed in by its employees and their families when they washed work clothes caused a range of serious industrial diseases including potentially fatal cancers.
Ms Goaziou, who is a senior litigator with WSP solicitors in Stroud, said she had 14 such cases on her books.
Half a dozen of them had been held up waiting for the Supreme Court decision, she said.
Her clients were "very delighted" with the ruling.
"They are absolutely over the moon," said Ms Goaziou.
"It is not because they want the money. It is a very awful illness.
"Breath is life. So when you can't breathe people are suffering mentally and physically."
She added: "Many victims died without knowing whether any compensation would ever be paid to their kin."
To think we used to play in the piles of dust when were kids and chucked it around like snow !
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