Asbestos Exposure: Employers’ Liability Trigger Appeal

The Court of Appeal opens on Wednesday 11 November 2009 for what seems to be ‘round two’ of the Trigger Litigation Issue.

The Trigger Litigation concerns whether it should be the insurers who provided insurance at the time of the negligent asbestos exposure, who should be responsible for paying out mesothelioma claims to victims.

As Oliver and Co. highlighted in our May 2009 newsletter, the insurers in the so called “trigger litigation test cases” argued that it is the insurers on risk at the time the worker develops symptoms of asbestos related diseases, who should pay the mesothelioma compensation. In most cases involving asbestos related diseases this could be decades later when the company in question no longer trades and insurance is difficult, if not impossible to trace.

Six test cases were brought before Mr. Justice Burton, who held in the High Court that the insurer who provided cover at the time of the exposure should meet the asbestos claim. However, as anticipated, four of the insurers involved in the test cases appealed Mr Justice Burton’s decision, and now the cases have reached the Court of Appeal. Some Insurers are still refusing to pay mesothelioma claims pending the result of the Appeal.

Therefore the fight goes on, leaving the innocent victims of exposure to asbestos and their families in limbo about what the future holds for claims.