Mesothelioma sufferers have won the latest round of a legal battle to make insurers pay out on cover that was in force when workers were exposed to the deadly disease.
In the latest legal decision, the Court of Appeal has ruled insurers should not only settle claims on policies in place when symptoms of the often fatal cancer developed, but on policies that were in force when workers were exposed to materials that led to the disease developing.
The decision marks passing another hurdle in the cancer sufferers battle to win compensation, but may not apply to all liability policies and is still subject to further deliberation by higher courts in the UK and Europe.
The ruling does mean that councils may have to make payments on policies dating from earlier than 1974 and private businesses might have to settle claims from earlier than 1972.
One insurer, Zurich, has already indicated that the case will go to the UK Supreme Court for further ‘clarification of wording’.
A representative lawyer said: “The next step is the Supreme Court for clarity on the wording of such policies as the outcome has massive implications for all employers, their insurers and most importantly the victims of this dreadful and fatal disease.”
The problem for many mesothelioma sufferers is these words mean nothing because they may not have the time to wait for the case to work through the courts. Many who have developed cancerous tumours may die before the insurance companies give up their legal challenges.
Taking an impartial view, the Insurance Blogger considers that the money insurers are spending on swish lawyers fighting mesothelioma claims in court might be better spent relieving the pain and suffering of those whose lives are blighted by this awful disease.
This case is just another example of how innocent victims who contracted a condition through no fault of their own cannot claim on insurance that employer’s have to provide by law for the express purpose of protecting their workers in such circumstances.