Many Barking and Dagenham victims lose out on asbestos case victory

Families of people who contracted asbestos-related cancers may have won their long fight for compensation but there are fears that some sufferers of a related disease may never even have the chance to claim.

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that insurance liability was triggered when employees were exposed to asbestos as opposed to when symptoms occurred.

But Jimmy Parish, president of the Dagenham GMB laggers branch, said those who have suffered from pleural plaques – an asbestos-related illness – may not benefit.

He said: “If you are diagnosed with pleural plagues, you may never get a chance to make a claim anything until you’re dead.

“I come from a family where all my uncles and my dad died of asbestosis. I’m one of many.”

In 2007, the House of Lords ruled that people who had been exposed to asbestos could no longer claim compensation for pleural plaques, often a precursor for mesothelioma or asbestosis.

However, by the time the more serious conditions appear, it is often too late to benefit from any claim.

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Mr Parish added: “A lot of people are disillusioned with what’s going on. They got us into a position where we just can’t claim.”

In Barking and Dagenham the death rate from mesothelioma – a terminal cancer of the lung wall caused by exposure to asbestos – was nearly double the national average between 2006 and 2010, according to figures from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

In the borough 4.7 out of every 100,000 people died as a result of the disease, compared to the national average of 2.5.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas welcomed the ruling.

He said: “It’s shameful that it has taken so long to get here, but hopefully this compensation will provide some relief to those in our constituency who need it so badly.”