Indirect asbestos claims on the rise
Individuals who were indirectly exposed to commercial asbestos are pursuing compensation claims in greater numbers in 2017.
Who is claiming?
A majority of these victims are women who, it is believed, were exposed to asbestos fibres that clung to their spouse’s work clothes. Currently, these women are not entitled to any form of compensation, despite developing diseases such as mesothelioma decades after initial contact with deadly asbestos, which has been banned in the UK since 1999.
Spearheading the campaign is Euan Love, of Digby Brown solicitors, who recommends the government offer compensation to indirect sufferers of asbestos exposure.
Although they were exposed to asbestos because of an employer’s negligence, they were not an employee and, therefore, not eligible for this scheme… In our experience the majority of these individuals tend to be women – Euan Love
Trish Doig was exposed to asbestos in the 1960s when she lived with her uncle, a boiler engineer in Dundee. ‘He would give me a lift to work in his little van which was full of asbestos,’ she remembers. More than forty years later, Trish has been diagnosed with severe mesothelioma.
I’d never heard of this ‘mesothelioma’ – who had?… So it was quite horrifying, especially since I was getting breathless – Trish Doig
Many people suffering asbestos-related illnesses have been unable to claim because their previous employers ceased trading decades ago, or because old insurance companies cannot be traced. A government compensation programme was introduced to rectify this.
Is it discrimination?
However, many, including Mr Love, believe that the indirect asbestos exposure claims are a matter of discrimination.
Because women have been disproportionately affected by the inability to make claims, Mr Love will be presenting a case for discriminatory compensation practices. For many, like Trish, the compensation is welcomed to cover extra care costs; necessary disability equipment; and as a financial buffer for spouses and families left behind upon their death.
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