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In a breakthrough decision for asbestos victims, the High Court in Liverpool has awarded damages to the family of a man who died from lung cancer on the grounds that he had been sufficiently exposed to asbestos in the course of his working life for asbestos to have contributed to his death.

The case is novel in that the deceased did not suffer from asbestosis which traditionally has been a requirement to establish that the lung cancer was connected to asbestos exposure. The Court focussed instead on how much exposure to asbestos there had been.

The judge also took into account that the victim had been a smoker and discounted the award by 15%. Nevertheless, previously, a smoking history may well have prevented the case form progressing at all in the absence of asbestosis, so this is another positive indication of a change in the Courts' approach.

Judgement of Mr Justice MacKay

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