It was thought that the recent, 2016, Court of Appeal decision in the asbestos claim of Albert Victor Carder v University of Exeter would assist asbestos disease sufferers in claiming asbestos compensation to assist them throughout the course of their period of suffering.
Mr Carder is an ex-employee of the Defendant who was diagnosed with asbestosis, having suffered asbestos exposure when working for the University as an electrician. He worked in boiler rooms at the University between 1980 and 1994, where he encountered exposure to airborne asbestos dust. Whilst evidence obtained in support of his asbestos claim showed that most of his asbestos exposure occurred during the early part of his career with other employers, his specialist asbestos disease solicitors were able to calculate with the aid of evidence that his exposure with the University equated to 2.3% of his total dose of asbestos dust exposure.
The Defendant sought to argue in the Court of Appeal before Lord Dyson MR, LJ Gross and LJ Christopher Clarke that such a figure could not amount to any more than minimal exposure or de minimis exposure as referred to in law. The Defendant opined that the level of exposure Mr Carder experienced would not have made a material contribution to the development of his asbestosis which is the test of causation in this type of asbestos claim. They also suggested that the level of exposure he experienced would have made “no discernible difference to his condition”.
Such arguments were not accepted by the court which found in favour of Mr Carder, ordering the Defendant to pay him the sum of £1,552.00 based on a 2.3% total contribution to the total value of his asbestos claim.
Unfortunately, Mr Carder’s health has deteriorated slowly over time due to his diagnosed asbestosis and whilst such asbestos compensation awards seem low, the decision of the Court of Appeal is very welcome. On the basis of the reasoning set out in the judgement, many asbestos disease sufferers would be able to claim some asbestos compensation for short periods of exposure, providing it can be shown, with the aid of evidence, that such periods contributed to the development of the asbestosis. Many such asbestos claims we deal with as specialist asbestos disease solicitors settle on a provisional damages basis. This protects the sufferer in the event of their condition deteriorating in the future, leaving the door open for them to claim further asbestos compensation, should the need arise. This is often described as the “real prize” in an asbestos claim of this type, securing peace of mind for the sufferer and their family for the future.
Sadly however, this is not the last we will hear of Mr Carder’s case as the Defendant University is now appealing to the highest court, the Supreme Court, to overturn the decision.
We will continue to keep you informed on this very important asbestos claim and we wish Mr Carder all the best with his continued fight against the University and their insurers.
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