Those suffering from mesothelioma in Boston should be encouraged by news that has just come out of London, where thousands of families will now be able to file insurance claims for their conditions.
Our Boston mesothelioma attorneys have been closely following the news from across the pond, where the nation's supreme court ruled that the insurance liability was induced at the time that the individual was exposed - not when the disease was first discovered.
This is crucial in mesothelioma cases because, as we've discussed on our Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer's Blog, this is a cancer that often doesn't reveal itself for years - usually decades - after the initial exposure. By that time, it is often too late for individuals to seek any kind of effective treatment. In fact, patients usually have less than a year to live.
That leaves their loved ones to pick up the pieces.
In this case, medical insurance companies in England took a gamble by filing the case in the first place, asking the court to make a decision. The companies argued that they shouldn't have to cover someone from the time they were exposed to the asbestos that caused the cancer, but rather from the time the symptoms first began to appear. Of course, that is the difference between a years-worth of coverage and a few decades-worth.
Instead of ruling in their favor, however, the country's supreme court has set a precedent for the victims - and rightly so. In fact, the court noted that there is a clear link between the person's employment and the asbestos exposure that caused the sickness -- that if the courts were to agree with the insurance companies, it would mean huge coverage lapses for workers, particularly those individuals who aren't employed by the same company anymore.
Attorneys for the victims were quoted by CNN as saying they were overjoyed with the court's decision, adding that it will provide comfort to victims and their families, as well as clarity and consistency for individuals who will discover the cancer in the future. That's going to equal financial security for the families of those affected by this awful - and preventable - illness.
In Britain, disease resulting from asbestos exposure is said to be by far the biggest killer in the workplace. In fact, some 5,000 people die of it in England annually. The numbers continue to rise there, as more people discover they have been impacted. It's expected to peak by 2015.
While the ruling doesn't affect Boston mesothelioma patients, we can stand in solidarity that a victory for even one patient is a victory for all patients.