Mesothelioma expert urges insurers “to play by old rules”

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Mesothelioma expert urges insurers “to play by old rules”

19th October 2010

Insurers should "play by the old rules" regarding employers' liability compensation in mesothelioma cases until there has been a Supreme Court hearing, according to an industrial disease specialist.

Karl Tonks, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP and member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) executive committee, branded the recent Appeal Court decision on employers' liability trigger litigation "an obscene windfall for some insurance companies".

He was speaking after the Court of Appeal overturned the 2008 High Court decision that found insurers providing cover to the employer at the time of the asbestos exposure should pay claims to mesothelioma sufferers.

The court decided that in some cases the employers' liability insurance is actually "triggered" not by the exposure to asbestos but by the development of the disease itself, which is always many years later, and by which time there is often no insurance in place to respond to the claim.

The outcome means that in every case the exact words used in the insurance contract will have to be studied and could leave many victims with no compensation.

"This will only serve to cause chaos and more uncertainty in many claims, particularly those relating to mesothelioma," said Karl, who heads up the Employers' Liability department at Fentons. "It will leave some insurers who have received premiums able to get out of meeting claims on a technicality," he said.

"It is in the interests of injured people that this case now goes to the Supreme Court. The needs of injured people must come before that of insurance companies.

"The decision by the Court of Appeal has left many in a state of utter confusion. Dying people and bereaved families will effectively enter a lottery when claiming damages. Claims will be delayed which will mean additional costs and a deep unfairness felt by injured people, insurance companies and businesses alike.

"Liable companies could go out of business trying to meet the claims they always believed they had been covered for. What is needed during this chaos is leadership from the Association of British Insurers, which can ask its members to play by the 'old' rules until there is any hearing at the Supreme Court."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - Post Online, Post Online