Claiming compensation for low level asbestos related illness and asbestos exposure claims
Mrs Willmore was exposed to asbestos whilst she was a school pupil whereas Mrs Costello was exposed to asbestos during the course of her employment. Both women were exposed to relatively low levels of asbestos dust yet both went on to develop mesothelioma which is an asbestos related disease. Sadly both women died as a result of their exposure to asbestos and claims for compensation were made.
When this matter first went before the Court, judgement was given in favour of the 2 women and it was ordered that compensation was payable. However the Defendants appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the original decision and as a result the Defendants appealed again, to the Supreme Court.
The Defendants’ solicitors argued that the Defendants could only be held liable to pay compensation for asbestos related illnesses if it could be shown that the exposure to asbestos had at least doubled the risk of contracting such am illness.
The Court rejected this argument stating that there was no minimum exposure threshold. The only way liability could possibly be avoided was if the Defendant could show that they had taken all reasonable steps to remove the risk. As part of the judgement Lord Brown stated “mesothelioma claims must now be considered from the Defendants standpoint, a lost cause.”
The ruling is good news for people seeking compensation for low level asbestos related illness.