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Courts Agree to Asbestos Claim

Following the recent Court of Appeal Case of Sir Robert Lloyd & Co Ltd and others against Bernard Hoey, the Courts agreed that a Claimant can bring an asbestos case outside the usual three year time limit to bring a claim.

Mr Hoey had been employed by five Defendant companies in various jobs between 1947 and 1992.  During that time he had been exposed to asbestos.  By the time he went to see a solicitor he was suffering from pleural plaque and bi-lateral pleural thickening. 

He had first developed chest pains in 1984 and was referred to the chest clinic by his GP to do some investigations.  They had considered pneumonia, cardiac problems and mesothelioma.  It was spotted on the x-rays that there was pleural thickening which was the suspected cause of his chest pain.

In 1987 Mr Hoey was discharged from the chest clinic and his condition improved.  In 1992 he was having breathing difficulties and retired on grounds of ill health.  He was not referred back to the chest clinic until 2007.  On 17 December 2008 he was diagnosed with extensive calcified pleural plaque and some areas of course fibrosis. 

Mr Hoey went to see a solicitor; medical evidence was obtained which included the conclusion that the pleural thickening would have caused the chest pain in the mid 1980’s.  Court proceedings were issued, the Defendants raised a defence that the Mr Hoey knew in 1984 – 1986 that he had a significant injury that was attributable to asbestos.  It was successfully argued that the Mr Hoey did not know.  He found out in 2008 that he had significant injury.  Therefore he was within the three year time limit for bringing a successful case.

It is extremely important therefore to consider very carefully the medical evidence in asbestos related injuries in order to successfully bring a case which may appear to be well out of time.  The significance being ‘date of knowledge’.

If you feel you may have a claim for an industrial disease such as asbestosis, then contact me on 01743 280280 or email dawn.humphries@lblaw.co.uk.