A New Wave of Indirect Asbestos Cases

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Indirect asbestos
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott In: Industrial Disease

As the generation of manual workers who handled asbestos died out decades ago, experts were predicting that these claims would die down around ten years ago. However, new claims regarding indirect asbestos exposure are beginning to surface from victims who believe they never had direct exposure to asbestos. As a result, lawyers are facing a new challenge of fighting for the client’s compensation while helping them understand the implications of having such a serious and sudden condition.

The Health and Safety Executive’s recent 2022 figures show there were 2,544 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2020. This is a rise of 6% in comparison to 2019. However, the figures are still similar to the average over the past eight years. Analysts are claiming that the rise could have been higher but COVID-19’s increased the mortality rate, meant there could be delays in the certification system.

What is Secondary or Indirect Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos is a mineral you can find in many soil and rock deposits. Historically, many industries such as shipbuilding and housebuilders found a use for asbestos. However, exposure over a period of time can cause disease. In many cases, secondary exposure is often just as lethal as first-hand exposure. Second-hand exposure to the toxin can lead to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Indirect Asbestos Exposure Proving A New Challenge for Lawyers

The increase of new mesothelioma claims provides new challenges to industrial disease lawyers. As well as tracking down the owners of the factories and shipyards, lawyers have to investigate where exposure to asbestos originated from for non-industrial workers.

How Indirect Exposure to Asbestos Can Cause Mesothelioma?

Lawyers agree that there has been an increase in mesothelioma cases relating to white-collar workers such as school workers and hospital workers. HSE statistics show that 459 women (who are more likely to work in these settings) died in 2020 due to mesothelioma. This is 7% higher than the eight-year average.

Asbestos can impact a much wider group than just industry workers. People such as family members and friends are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, years after washing the clothes of those who worked in an industrial environment.

Woman Who Contracted Mesothelioma by Washing Her Father’s Work Gear

In the last few days, a case has been brought to the court regarding a woman in her 70s. As a result of cleaning her father’s clothes and helping him comb dust out his hair, she contracted mesothelioma.

Christine Ann Davis’ father worked for the British Oxygen Company in Cardiff. On her father’s return from work, she would launder his clothes and brush the asbestos from his hair. As a result, Christine and her mother would breathe in the asbestos particles.

Christine’s father was never told that the dust in his work was dangerous.

In January of this year, Christine was diagnosed with mesothelioma. This required her lungs to be drained in the hospital on a weekly basis.

In March she became unwell and died on March 18.

A medical statement from Withybush Hospital stated that Mrs. Davies has symptoms that were consistent with a stroke. The statement gave the cause of death as a stroke and mesothelioma with ulcerative colitis listed as a secondary cause.

Paul Bennet, Pembrokeshire Coroner, stated he was ‘satisfied that the development of malignant mesothelioma had ‘clearly played a part in the events that sadly led to Christine’s death.’

He added that it was not unusual for a person to suffer a stroke because of malignant mesothelioma.

In addition, Mr. Bennet states he had dealt with several cases similar cases. In these cases, washing the clothes of workers had also resulted in malignant mesothelioma. Finally, he stated that there was a link between Mrs. Davies’ father’s employment and her developing malignant mesothelioma.

The Future of Indirect Asbestos Cases

It’s apparent that the nature of mesothelioma claims is changing even if numbers have not significantly changed. However, the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. Earlier this year, the House of Commons work and pensions committee made some recommendations. They stated that the government should create a national asbestos database listing all of the affected buildings. In addition, MPs have called for the removal of asbestos from at-risk buildings. However, last month, the government responded that there was no ‘compelling evidence’ to justify active removal.

Charles Pickles, founder of the Airtight on Asbestos campaign, said campaigners, patient organisations, and unions were ‘united in their disappointment.’

He concluded that the UK has ‘one of the worst asbestos legacies in the world’.

How Can Our Industrial Disease Solicitors Help?

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related condition through primary or secondary exposure, you may be entitled to compensation to pay for medical expenses and loss of income. You may receive compensation for:

  • Mental anguish from the loss of friendship, comfort, and support.
  • Expected loss of income from losing your loved one.
  • Expected loss of protection, care, and assistance.
  • Any medical treatment and care for the person who has sadly passed away.

Our solicitors provide compassionate and dedicated legal guidance. We work to get sufferers and their families fully compensated for the impact of mesothelioma.

It’s common for a mesothelioma diagnosis to come in the later stages of the disease. As a result, many sufferers choose not to pursue mesothelioma claims over concerns that the process will take too long. However, it is important to note that claims for mesothelioma sufferers are usually fast-tracked through the courts. Our solicitors pursue your compensation claim quickly, so you to access the financial support you require.

Get in touch today to learn more about how we could help you with a mesothelioma claim.

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