The Cost Of Asbestos Legal Representation: Explained – The history of asbestos continues to leave a devastating legacy. Thompson Solicitors has won more asbestos compensation claims than any other firm. In 1972, with the support of the trade unions, we brought the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords and have been involved in many court cases since then. As the timeline of major court cases shows, insurers have brought cases and had a significant impact on the UK legal system. But more importantly, asbestos cost the lives of countless innocent workers and their families who should not have been put at risk in the first place.
Asbestos is a natural mineral found on all continents of the world. Its use dates back to ancient times, when Egyptian mummies were wrapped in asbestos cloth, and some Roman-era cloth contained asbestos fibers woven into the material.
The Cost Of Asbestos Legal Representation: Explained
Even some Stone Age artifacts contain asbestos fibers. However, even in ancient times there was a link between asbestos use and respiratory disease, with the Greek geographer Strabo referring to “lung disease” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.
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Asbestos continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages, and Marco Polo recounts the wonders of the non-combustible fabric in 1280, but it did not become popular as a building material until the late 18th century, when large-scale industrialization began. . began to use the unique properties of asbestos. It is a material resistant to heat, water, rust and electricity. It has excellent insulating qualities and, most importantly, it can be ground into a powder to mix with water to make a paste, woven into fabric or mixed with cement to make hardened materials. Because it could be easily mined and transported, its use grew exponentially and became a vital component used throughout the Industrial Revolution and beyond.
As the use of asbestos has increased, the health effects associated with it have become more prominent. In the early 1900s, social historians and factory inspectors began to notice an increase in premature deaths and serious respiratory illnesses in areas and populations that worked closely with asbestos. These consequences were reported in the annual reports of His Majesty’s then Inspector of Factories.
In 1924, the first asbestos-related death was officially recorded. An English doctor interested in diseases among textile workers conducted an autopsy on the body of a deceased 33-year-old woman who worked in an asbestos textile factory. After his death, fibrosis and extensive lung damage as a result of his working conditions became apparent.
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Asbestosis in the lung tissue of South African miners was described by FW Simpson in the British Medical Journal.
The use of asbestos continued to increase as Britain fought in World War II and in homes and buildings in the post-war period. Asbestos was used as a filter in gas masks during the war and had many uses in buildings and military equipment. In the post-war period, asbestos was used as insulation in schools, offices, hospitals and new homes. Industry continued to make extensive use of asbestos for insulation, friction products, soundproofing, fire protection, and construction. Asbestos was widely used in factories, power plants, steel mills, railroads, shipbuilding, auto repair shops, and factories. The uses of asbestos were wide and varied, from being part of black toilet cisterns, to being sprayed on columns for fire protection, mixed with Artex plaster or used as insulation in railway carriages and boilers. The use of asbestos was endemic throughout Britain.
As the number of reported deaths and serious respiratory illnesses related to asbestos exposure increased, workplace regulations were introduced to limit workers’ exposure to asbestos with the hope that this would reduce the incidence of asbestos-related diseases. These regulations – the Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 – apply only to workplaces where asbestos is knowingly processed, ie woven, ground, mixed or otherwise used to produce asbestos products.
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The South African government appoints J.K. Wagner of the Pneumoconioses Research Unit to prepare a report that will determine for the first time that there is a risk of cancer for those who come into contact with asbestos products before, during or after their manufacture.
As the use of asbestos grew, factory inspectors began to express concern about the levels of dust and harmful fumes in the workplace. The Factories Act 1961 introduced controls on employers to reduce and control any dust emissions, including asbestos dust, that was visible in the air. At this point, employers should begin using available dust control measures, such as extraction equipment, ventilation, masks or respirators, or simply dampen the dust with water to prevent inhalation.
1965 was a turning point in the history of asbestos and awareness of its dangers. Newhouse and Thompson published a report titled Peritoneal Mesothelioma Following Asbestos Exposure in the London Area. In this report, the scientists explained that they were investigating a large number of deaths
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It is still found among workers in the asbestos industry, and it was concluded that there was no safe level of exposure to asbestos before workers were at risk of developing mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos.
Prior to this report, minimal exposure to asbestos was thought to be “safe”. After this report, employers knew, or should have known, that by not preventing their employees from being exposed to asbestos, they were increasing their risk of terminal cancer years later. The report was widely publicized and featured widely in The Times. Even today, we use this date as the “cut-off date” by which all employers must take steps to minimize their employees’ exposure to asbestos.
The House of Lords considered at what point an injured person became aware of his injury for the statute of limitations to start running in the case brought by Thompson Solicitors.
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Mr Margerson and Ms Hancock brought a claim against J W Roberts Limited for polluting an area in Armley, Leeds. J W Roberts manufactured asbestos textiles and was part of Turner & Newalls, also known as T & N Limited. The company owned and operated a number of asbestos factories in the 20th century, all of which left their mark on the surrounding communities. However, T&N has always maintained that they did not know and could not have known that the level of asbestos dust entering residential areas could harm residents of the area, specifically causing mesothelioma. .
Mr Margerson and Mr Hancock fought to prove that the company was indeed aware of the harm they were causing to the people of Armley and that the company should be held liable for that harm. Sadly, both Mr Margerson and Ms Hancock died before their case was decided by the House of Lords. In the end, JW Roberts and T&N were found liable for damages to the community after documents from the 1920s made it clear that the company knew it was polluting the area and that residents were getting sick as a result. The areas surrounding the T&N plants are still experiencing the devastating effects of this pollution. T&N has established a fund to compensate victims of its negligence who are still diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease as a result of the company’s actions. [Margereson v J W Roberts Limited; Hancock v JW Roberts Ltd]
Although imports of blue and brown asbestos, crocidolite and amusite were banned in 1985, the use of white asbestos, chrysatile, was permitted, usually in friction products such as brake pads. The asbestos industry lobby claimed that white asbestos was “safe”. However, despite incontrovertible evidence that white asbestos remains dangerous and a health hazard, all asbestos was finally banned in the UK in 1999.
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Thousands of tons of asbestos remain in public buildings, schools, hospitals, offices, factories, and homes that were built before, and continue to pose a danger to employees and residents of those buildings.
Mr Jeromson’s case, led by Thompson Solicitors, was brought under the Asbestos Industries Act 1931. Mr Jeromson argued that the regulations apply not only to the asbestos industry, but to any industrial site where raw asbestos is processed or produced. This was important because many industries used asbestos, exposing workers to asbestos that turned into a paste or was swept away at the end of the job.
In winning the case, Thompson argued that the regulations have a much broader application and apply to general factory processes and products using raw asbestos.
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If mesothelioma claimants can prove that their employer negligently exposed them to asbestos, they will receive 100 percent of their damages.
Mr. Fairchild worked for a number of employers
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