Exposure to Asbestos in the Workplace

In July 2020 BTMK were successful at trial in securing a substantial award of compensation for Mr S who had developed a serious illness, in the form of asbestosis, by reason of his exposure to asbestos particles during his work.

His case was that he was negligently exposed to asbestos in the course of his work for one employer in the period from the 1950s to around 1963 and that this was the only period when this exposure was possible. He therefore pursued a claim against the employer for whom he worked at this time.

The symptomatic condition arising from exposure to asbestos does not develop until many years later, and in Mr S’s case it was not until 2015 that he began to suffer from symptoms subsequently diagnosed as asbestosis.

The employer defended the case denying that Mr S was exposed to asbestos during the course of his work, or that, if he was the level of exposure was such that this would not have resulted in asbestosis and that his condition was pulmonary fibrosis and not asbestosis.

By reason of his medical condition Mr S ‘s evidence was taken on commission before the trial and he did not attend trial for that reason . The verbal evidence at trial was limited to that of occupational hygienists on the level of asbestos to which Mr S had been exposed, the medical experts having agreed that, if the court found that Mr S’s exposure to asbestos met the required levels, the diagnosis was one of asbestosis, . The two day trial was heard remotely in the High Court, during the Covid 19 pandemic.

This was a difficult case with a number of complex legal and scientific issues. When the Covid-19 pandemic made it clear the trial would not be heard in person, we decided that it was in Mr S’s best interests to proceed with the trial remotely rather than adjourn this to await a hearing in person. BTMK Injury are therefore very pleased on behalf of Mr S that his case was successful and that he has been compensated for this most horrible illness.

Exposure to asbestos in the workplace – addendum

BTMK Injury have recently referred to the case of our client Mr S who, in a trial in July 2020, was awarded a substantial amount of compensation for asbestosis caused by his exposure to asbestos particles during the course of his work in the 1950s/60s.

We were interested to see that the case has also been reported in the newsletter of a leading industrial illness defence practice and that this article points to the problems and difficulties which were encountered in the claim including:

  • The reliability of the evidence of a Claimant so many years after the work period in question
  • The threshold to link the development of asbestosis to the inhalation of asbestos particles (the Helsinki criteria)

We were pleased to see that the case of our client also appears to have offered some guidance on these difficult issues but most of all that we were able to achieve a good outcome for Mr S.

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