Last week victims of asbestos cancers won a landmark victory in the Supreme Court after the panel of judges ruled that the family of a delivery driver who died earlier this year from exposure to asbestos in Battersea Power Station should now be compensated.
The decision of this case means that those who were exposed to asbestos in factories whilst working for another employer can still pursue the factory where they were exposed for compensation.
Exposure to asbestos kills up to 2,500 people each year. Those who inhale the fibres can go on to develop the cancer mesothelioma years after exposure.
Percy McDonald from Devon died aged 83 from the aggressive terminal cancer a week before the Supreme Court began hearing his case.
He was exposed to the dangerous material decades ago when he regularly visited Battersea Power Station to pick up waste products.
His widow, Edna McDonald decided to take up the battle in order to receive a fair settlement so that she could provide for her family after his death.
Mr McDonald’s son Eric said:
“As a family we wanted to carry on the case after dad's death because we knew how important it was to him and wanted to ensure that others would be protected in future. It was only because he went to work every day that he became ill, and that was extremely difficult for us to come to terms with.
I'm really pleased with the Supreme Court's judgment and thank the judges for taking the time to hear our case. I've seen first-hand how devastating mesothelioma can be and we were all distraught when dad died, especially as he didn't get to finish what he started in the courts.
We would rather have dad with us still, but hopefully other people affected will now be able to succeed in their legal battles too.”
The McDonald’s family lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, said that the ruling in the family’s favour clarifies the law and now gives greater protection to current and future victims of industrial diseases and accidents who are simply carrying out their daily jobs.
Irwin Mitchell further added that it establishes that under the Factories Act it is the occupier of the premises which is responsible for the welfare of the people on site, and not just those that it directly employs.
Secondly, the Asbestos Industry Regulations apply to all factories that have used asbestos and not just those involved in the asbestos industry.
The way is now open for the McDonald family to secure a fair settlement to provide financial support after Percy died through no fault of his own.
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