Mesothelioma Cancer Claims in France

Mesothelioma Cancer Claims in France

In France the problem of asbestos exposure is rather important as still over 1,000 companies use or manufacture products that contain this harmful material. Employees who work in such places retire at the age of 50 due to the hazardous industry.

Such workers are not the only claimants, because such claims are also filed by companies that use asbestos in materials. This can be shipbuilding or railway building companies, plumbing services, etc. In the past asbestos was mined in Corsica. As asbestos is contained in old buildings, some public institutions like schools or universities are also a source of exposure and additional claims.

In general the number of related cases grows. For instance, in 1999 there were filed twice more cases than in 1996. In 2000 the number of asbestos claims raised up to almost 3,000. The majority of them was compensated by Social Security department. This statistics is for people who became victims of asbestos effect and got occupational diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, etc. Until 1975 there were problems in recognizing such diseases as occupational. But in 1976 the list of occupational diseases was formed and clear requirements for the admission of diagnosis helped to resolve such issues.

In 1985 the list of occupational diseases was reduced again, while in 1994 these limitations were dismissed. The procedure of recognizing conditions as occupational became easier in 1996 that caused significant increase in number of filed claims. However, the number of deaths from mesothelioma is significantly bigger than the number of mesothelioma claims. This means that many asbestos victims didn’t file claims for compensation.

There was a range of laws adopted in France to regulate the process of using asbestos in various industries and the order of processing claims. The latest one was adopted in 2003 and stated the rates for compensation depending on the claimant’s age. The type of disease also influences on the amount. Considering a mesothelioma cancer claim or any other asbestos-related claim, the court usually considers a few factors. The first one is the period of exposure: first limitations regarding the use of asbestos were adopted in 1977 in France, and these regulations became stronger and stronger within the lapse of time. If exposure took place earlier than 1977, in many cases employer is considered as not guilty in consequences. However, sometimes the claim can be satisfied for the claimant, as the law making employers protect their workers from inhaling the dust was adopted in 1913.

The second factor to consider is the safety measures adopted on the workplace. If employer doesn’t follow the regulations since 1977 (when the first asbestos limitations were declared) it is considered as the direct violation of the law. Before 1977 there were also some rules for safety measures on the workplace adopted, and they also play role in considering the case details. Sometimes companies were notified about the danger and didn’t react on this by any of methods: notifying workers, protecting them from risks of exposure, etc.

The type of employer’s activity also plays important role. Usually companies that produce or deal with asbestos products are aware of possible risks and must deal adequately to provide their workers with safe conditions of work. A kind of company’s activity defines if it should be aware of that or not.

The court decisions vary according to the facts collected during the process. Most often the verdict is positive for claimants who suffer from asbestos-related injuries. Lawsuits often result in compensations paid by the companies from their insurance coverage.

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