UK’s Supreme Court to Determine Fate for Mesothelioma Victims

The Liverpool Daily Post, a news source serving the United Kingdom recently reported that “a test case with major implications for asbestos-related cancer sufferers on Merseyside is now under way at the UK’s highest court of appeal.” The Post reports that mesothelioma is one of “Britain’s biggest industrial killers,” and notes the importance of this particular case, which involves hundreds of mesothelioma victims “fighting the latest attempt by insurers to avoid paying compensation.” The articles states that the UK’s Supreme Court will be overseeing “arguably, the most important test case ever heard about mesothelioma claims.” Appeals will be heard from insurance companies “looking for loopholes in the small print of insurance policies to avoid paying compensation to people with asbestos-related cancer.” One of these victims, Joan Eddleston, has yet to receive “compensation she was awarded by a judge many years ago.” Despite Eddleston winning her claim before both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, insurers have refused to pay out her claim. According to the article this has been a trend over the last five years, during which a “number of insurers have refused to pay compensation for mesothelioma victims and their families.” The article states that Joan Eddleston is not alone; “a total of 435 men died from mesothelioma in Merseyside in the 10 years between 1996 and 2005.” Sadly, one of those men was Eddleston’s own husband Arthur, who according to the Post, died at the age of 58 as a result of asbestos exposure. The Post reports that this test case could have local and national consequences, “both with current claims and anyone who might develop mesothelioma in the future.” The article goes on to report the devastating affects appeals would have on mesothelioma victims and their families: “it could save the insurance companies many millions and leave some asbestos victims and their families in a black hole, with no chance of recovering compensation because their employer is out of business and the insurer at the date of exposure is refusing to pay out.” It is yet to be determined what the Supreme Court’s decision will be regarding insurance appeals. The Post concluded their article by stating, “Although the insurance companies involved took tens of thousands of pounds in premiums from companies they insured, they decided in 2006 to try to manipulate the words used in the policies issued to defeat these claims. If they are successful, it will leave many mesothelioma victims and their families uncompensated.”
  • Weston, Alan. (December 6, 2011) “Mesothelioma victims take fight for compensation to the Supreme Court.” Retrieved on December 6, 2011 from the Liverpool Daily Post.
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