One man’s fight for compensation has sparked new hope for sufferers of Mesothelioma as the Supreme Court rules in his favour, despite having never worked with the deadly substance directly.
Percy McDonald, who tragically died in February 2014 from mesothelioma, was exposed to asbestos at Battersea Power Station during his tenure as a lorry driver required to pick up waste products between 1954 and 1958. Although his official duties did not require him to be in direct contact with the toxic substance, he did enter areas of the power station where asbestos dust was generated and was therefore exposed to the deadly material.
Mr McDonald’s original trial in Bristol against National Grid Electricity was dismissed on the grounds that his exposure to asbestos was of a ‘modest level’ and it was unlikely to pose any significant threat to his health.
National Grid Electricity fought against his claim, stating that he was not eligible for compensation because he was not employed by the occupier of the site and his duties did not require him to work directly with the substance.
Mr McDonald appealed against the decision in Bristol on the grounds that working with asbestos even on occasion or for limited periods of time was a health risk.
The trial eventually went to the Supreme Court where three of five judges ruled that under the Factories Act 1961 the occupier of the premises is responsible for all people on site, not just direct employees.
Lord Kerr called NGE’s argument that liability was dependent on a ‘substantial’ quantity of the dust being inhaled as ‘fallacious’.
Mesothelioma kills around 2,500 people each year with figures expected to peak in 2020. Symptoms can take up to 30 years to develop and often victims of asbestosis may feel like it is too late to make a claim. Freeclaim Solicitors are advising those who have fallen victim to mesothelioma to come forward as help is readily available.
Natasha Ulph, a serious injury lawyer at Freeclaim Solicitors, commented on this judgment, “Mesothethioma and asbestos related diseases have devastating effects on peoples’ lives. Regardless of how or when someone has been exposed to asbestos, if they have developed one of these terrible diseases after some form of exposure, they deserve to be compensated. Someone should be held accountable for this regardless of whether the victim was in direct contact with the substance through their work or not.”
For advice and help on making an asbestos compensation claim, call 0800 612 7340 to speak to one of our specialist serious injury solicitors.
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