Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors today welcomed an English Court judgment rejecting a bid by insurance companies to avoid paying out in cases of long-term industrial diseases and deaths.
Mr Maguire said: "This was another attempt by some insurance companies to try to find loopholes to avoid paying out to the victims of asbestos.
Thankfully the judge quite rightly rejected the argument.
We have around 50 cases which have been affected because the insurance companies refused to pay on employers liability policies while arguing the point in court.
In some cases victims have died without receiving compensation, and in others their families are still fighting for their compensation.
The insurance companies say they will appeal but having lost the case they should now pay out and not put the victims and their families through more suffering."
The case revolved around the wording of the employers liability insurance policies which covered shipbuilders and other major employers many of who recklessly exposed their employees to asbestos when they knew the consequences.
The insurance companies tried to argue that they were only liable for injuries that occurred when the policies were in force, and not for conditions like mesothelioma where the fatal cancers can take decades to strike.
Mr Maguire said: "The judge ruled that the insurance companies had been accepting responsibility and paying out in these cases for the last 30 and 40 years, and that the right question for the policy to apply was not when the injury occurred but when it was caused. We all know that was when asbestos was inhaled through the negligence of the employer.
It was particularly important because so many of the shipbuilding and engineering companies involved have since gone out of business, and the victims only recourse is against the insurers who are still very much in business.
My message to them is 'stop trying to avoid your responsibilities and pay the victims now."