A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

Change needed for workers with asbestos cancer

26 Apr 2024
APIL news

Industrial disease experts are united this International Workers’ Memorial Day (Sunday 28 April) in a call for a simple change to the law so that all victims of asbestos-related lung cancer contracted at work can obtain full compensation.


Asbestos remains the biggest contributor to workplace-related deaths in the UK*.


“It can be many years after contact with asbestos in the workplace that symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer begin to develop, and often people will have worked for several employers responsible for their exposure to the dust. In that time, businesses may have folded, and insurance records may have been lost or destroyed,” explained industrial disease expert Daniel Easton from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) which is working with the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum (AVSGF) to campaign for change.


“If former employers whose negligence is partly responsible for causing the illness can’t be traced, injured workers are denied full compensation because each employer only has to compensate for his own part in causing the disease,” he said.


In 2006, Parliament passed the Compensation Act, which allows sufferers of work-related mesothelioma to receive full compensation, even if not all former employers can be traced. Lung cancer claims were not considered at the time but the judiciary has since commented that mesothelioma and lung cancer cannot be distinguished legally. APIL and the AVSGF say this inconsistency needs to be addressed.


“There is absolutely no justification for treating sufferers of asbestos-related lung cancer any differently from sufferers of mesothelioma,” said Mr Easton. “The symptoms can be the same, the cause through negligent exposure to asbestos is the same, and the prognosis is the same. Each disease kills around 2,500 people a year, although only a fraction of these result in a compensation claim for lung cancer,” he said.


“People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma only need to find just one of their negligent former employers to claim full compensation. The responsible insurer can then continue the search for the others in order to recover the money. People with a terrifying, terminal illness obviously do not have the luxury of time to find the records themselves,” said Mr Easton.


“MPs recognised the need to help people with mesothelioma with unanimous support at the time the Compensation Act was passed. Victims of asbestos-related lung cancer need and deserve the same consideration.”




Notes to editors:

  • *Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/
  • Read APIL’s briefing on asbestos-related lung cancer here: https://www.apil.org.uk/files/online-files/696-269103/AsbestosRelatedLungCancerBriefing.pdf
  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is a not-for-profit organisation, formed by claimant lawyers, which has campaigned for the rights of victims of negligence for more than 30 years. APIL’s vision is of a society without needless injury but, when people are injured, a society which offers the justice they need to rebuild their lives. Members include solicitors, barristers, legal executives and academics.
  • Any queries about this press release should be directed to APIL’s press and communications officer Julie Crouch on t: 07808 768623, e[email protected] or communications manager Jane Hartwell on t: 07541 490 988 e: [email protected].
  • Follow @APIL on X: https://X.com/APIL and on LinkedIn

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