Supreme Court makes landmark judgement on mesthelioma case

A significant asbestos case in the Supreme Court has resulted in compensation being awarded to a mesothelioma victim’s family, despite him working only indirectly with the substance.

Percy Macdonald, who died in February 2014, had worked as a delivery driver between 1954 and 1958. Collecting waste products from Battersea Power Station, he was exposed upon entering an area where asbestos dust was present.

The Supreme Court ruling followed an appeal by the Defendants; Mr MacDonald had originally appealed following a judgment in May 2013 which had ruled that his exposure to asbestos was not significant enough to be compensated, as he wasn’t working at the power station, or with asbestos, and was employed by another company. The Defendants then appealed to the Supreme Court, where judges concluded that the owner of the site was responsible for all persons on the premises, regardless of whether or not they were direct employees.

Anthony McCarthy, Head of Macks Industrial Disease Team, commented “Asbestos is not only potentially deadly to those that work with it but it can also kill those who come into contact with it indirectly. It was a shame that this case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court before Mr McDonald’s family were able to finally get the justice they deserved.” Rebecca Montague, Asbestos Litigation Specialist based in Redcar  added “This is a welcome victory for the Working Man and Claimant Industrial disease lawyers, over the insurance industry: who are constantly seeking to limit their liability. It will help more sufferers of this terrible disease and their families to seek the compensation they deserve.”

Around 2,500 people a year die of mesothelioma, a figure which Cancer Research UK is expecting to rise, due to the length of time since the incidences of asbestos exposure and the time it takes for the disease to develop.


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