Mr A was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2015. He contacted Fieldfisher in early February and Shaheen represented Mr A. Mr A was employed as a glass bender from 1950-1957 and 1959-1970 for a company which made neon signs. This was his only exposure to asbestos because he had to use asbestos paper which came in rolls.
The company was dissolved but we were able to trace an insurer from February 1965 to February 1966. Shaheen advised Mr A that if he pursued a legal claim against his former employer, it was unlikely to succeed because Mr A's exposure to asbestos would be considered "low level" exposure and it was not known until the end of 1965 that injury could be caused to workers who were exposed to low levels of asbestos dust. In addition, the company was a small family business and it was unlikely that the company would have had the requisite knowledge as early as February 1966, when the known insurance coverage expired.
Shaheen therefore submitted an application on behalf of Mr A to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) on the basis that even though an employer's liability insurer had been traced, it was unlikely that during the period of insurance (February 1965 to February 1966) the company would have had knowledge that exposure to low levels of asbestos could cause injury. It was Mr A's case that if he had traced employer's liability insurance for a later period then, on balance, his claim would be successful.
The DMPS dismissed his claim on the basis that employer's liability insurance had been traced and therefore the application fell outside the Scheme. Shaheen asked the DMPS to review their decision and put forward arguments about knowledge. Unfortunately, the DMPS rejected the arguments.
Shaheen then reported the claim to the insurer that had been traced and was able to persuade them to provide a timely response. The insurer's solicitor confirmed that the insurer would be denying the claim on the basis that the exposure was not negligent and the company was not in breach of any statutory duties. The company simply could not have foreseen that exposure to low levels of asbestos would be sufficient to cause injury.
Shaheen then submitted a fresh application to the DMPS advising that the insurer had denied liability. The DMPS confirmed that Mr A's new application was successful and he received a payment from the DMPS in June 2015.
Mr A was very pleased with the outcome and commented
"Thank you again for all the work you have put in to make this claim possible for me".
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