Who to claim compensation from?

Welcome news for claimants

When a person is diagnosed with an asbestos related condition such as mesothelioma, pleural thickening, asbestosis or asbestos lung cancer, there are many issues to come to terms with. Claiming compensation for an asbestos condition is one way that QualitySolicitors Oliver & Co can help.

The first step in pursuing a claim for compensation for industrial disease is to establish where, when and how an individual has been exposed to asbestos.

Once the companies that have exposed clients to asbestos have been identified we begin a number of searches to find out if the company is still trading or to find the insurers of the company at the time our client was employed. This can be a difficult task as the latency period between exposure to asbestos and a sufferer developing symptoms can be as much as 50 years or more so many polluting companies have long since disappeared.

Unfortunately we are not always able to locate a company or insurer and in these cases we are unable to pursue a legal claim for compensation. We can however assist in claiming a payment under the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979. This is an award paid by the Government in cases where an asbestos related condition has been diagnosed and is shown to have been caused by exposure to asbestos during employment but no civil legal claim can be pursued.

In many cases it can be frustrating as we are able to locate companies that are no longer in existence  and did not have insurance policies but that were a wholly owned subsidiary of a parent company which is either still in existence or did have insurance in place. Until recently, in cases such as this, we have been unable to continue in pursuing a legal claim. However, a recent ruling could be about to change this.

David Chandler was heavily exposed to asbestos between 1959 and 1961 by Cape Building Products Limited. The company manufactured asbestolux, an incombustible asbestos board.  In 2007 Mr Chandler was diagnosed with asbestosis. Cape Building Products Limited  was dissolved and no insurance policy could be found to fund a compensation claim. It was however found that Cape Building Products Limited was a wholly owned subsidiary of Cape Plc.

Cape Plc is a well known company in the asbestos industry and still trades.

The claim was brought against the parent company, Cape Plc. It was argued that the parent company were liable as they should have ensured Mr Chandler was not exposed to asbestos and it was shown that they had knowledge of his working conditions and were aware that he was being exposed to asbestos on a regular basis.

The Court agreed with Mr Chandler’s arguments and Cape Plc was ordered to pay £120,000 in compensation. The Court stated that the relationship between the parent company and the subsidiary was such that the parent company did have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of employees of the subsidiary company.

Cape Plc appealed the decision in the High Court but this was dismissed. An appeal has now been lodged at the Court of Appeal and Cape Plc is awaiting to see whether the High Court’s decision will be overturned.

Until the appeal has been heard Mr Chandler’s compensation is being withheld.

If the appeal is upheld, this case could open the doors for many more people to be able to claim for compensation even where no insurance can be traced for their immediate polluting employer.

If you have any questions about the newsletter or if you think you may have a claim for compensation please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 058 2737