Only a small amount of asbestos exposure needed to bring a claim
Unfortunately many people may have been exposed to asbestos but remain completely unaware until decades later when the effects of the harmful substance sadly come to light. It is assumed by many that you need a significant amount of proven exposure to be able to bring about a claim, however recent case law shows that this is not the case.
In the case of Carder v University of Exeter, Mr Carder was exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician for the University of Exeter. Mr Carder was diagnosed with asbestosis but it was also known that he had been exposed to asbestos at other places of work. It was agreed by both parties that the University’s contribution to Mr Calder’s overall asbestos exposure was 2.3%, therefore contributing 2.3 % to his asbestosis.
The University admitted liability but argued that the contribution of 2.3% had not caused actionable damage to Mr Carder’s lungs.
The trial judge rejected the University’s arguments finding that Mr Carder was negligently exposed to asbestos and thus suffered from conditions which affected his lung functionality.
The University appealed the decision and, at the time of the appeal, conceded that the 2.3% exposure had contributed to the asbestosis. However, due to the scale of the exposure, they argued that the contribution had no impact on the respondent’s symptoms and the judge should have ruled that no material damage was suffered.
The medical expert confirmed that while there is no scientific basis to estimate the exact percentage of minimum exposure which could cause material damage, some individuals are sensitive even to relatively small amounts and that this needed to be taken into account.
It was concluded by the court that the claimant did suffer damage and so was entitled to compensation. As it was agreed the exposure was 2.3%, Mr Carder was entitled to an award of damages of 2.3% of the full liability value of his claim. The judge assessed the full value of the claim at £67,500 and, on the basis of 2.3%, awarded damages of £1,552.50.
This case demonstrates the importance of clear and professional legal advice at the outset, and the benefits of having a legal asbestos expert on your side.
Accredited by APIL as an Asbestos Disease Specialist, I have helped hundreds of asbestos victims all over the UK, securing hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation.