InsightsInsight - Industrial Disease Claims - POSTED: August 19 2015
Asbestosis claim – minor contributor must still pay its share of compensation
In asbestosis compensation claims the question sometimes crops up; how small a contribution does an employer have to make to the asbestosis before it is discounted from the Claimant’s compensation?
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According to Judge Gore that contribution must be rather less than 2.3%.
In Carder v DOH & University of Exeter (28/07/2015) Mr Carder, an asbestosis sufferer, brought a compensation claim against various previous employers who had exposed him to asbestos dust as an electrician. The medical evidence was that The University of Exeter had made only a small contribution to his asbestos exposure and asbestosis disease; 2.3%.
The University accepted it had negligently exposed him to asbestos. However, they denied they should pay him compensation for his claim.
They argued that their contribution to his asbestosis was so small the claimant would not have noticed any real difference to his asbestosis if they had not exposed him to asbestos.
Since their negligence caused no noticeable difference to his injury, they argued they should not have to pay the claimant any of his compensation claim, not even 2.3%.
The Judge accepted there were some contributions to asbestosis that might be so small they should be disregarded as “trivial” and not meriting compensation, e.g. 0.2% contribution by another of his employers. However, a 2.3% contribution was small but significant enough to deserve compensation. Even if the claimant was not actually aware of the difference such a modest contribution made to his asbestosis, he was still entitled to claim compensation for it. In this claim that amounted to compensation of just over £1,500.
Comment: This decision must be right. Take the University’s argument to its logical conclusion. If a man had asbestos exposure from 40 employers and they each contributed only 2 to 3% to his asbestosis, each could say they should not pay him a penny in compensation, because on its own each exposure made no noticeable difference. The claimant would be deprived of any compensation for his asbestosis. That cannot be right and it is not the law.
Jeremy Horton specialises in asbestos disease compensation claims in Kent and the Medway Towns. If you would like to ask a question about a potential claim involving asbestos-related disease, please contact Jeremy on 01622 680415.
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