An asbestos victim who was awarded compensation faces uncertainty about whether it will ever be paid because of a legal battle by insurers.

The 74-year-old, originally from Manchester, but now living in Canada, was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2008. Fortunately he has recovered but there is a risk the cancer may return. He also suffers from pleural thickening caused by exposure to asbestos.

He worked with asbestos as a lagger for F Leroy & Company in Manchester in 1952 and 1957. The company is no longer in business.

Never warned of dangers of asbestos

He was never warned about the dangers of asbestos and was not given adequate protective equipment.

Following his diagnosis he instructed asbestos compensation claims experts Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons reached an out of court settlement for provisional damages of £11,500 with the employer’s insurers. But the client is unlikely to see a penny because the insurers are waiting for a Court of Appeal decision which, if they win, will mean the compensation will not be paid.

Insurers are refusing to pay compensation

In what is known as the "trigger issue" test case a number of insurers argued in the Court of Appeal that the policies they sold, to insure employers against liability for workers who were injured or suffered illness due to work, are "triggered" by the development of the disease rather than by the exposure to asbestos.

The time lapse between exposure to asbestos and the development of disease is on average between 30 and 40 years.

The insurers’ case was rejected by the High Court and they are now awaiting a decision from the Court of Appeal. Those insurers are refusing to pay compensation in asbestos cases until the result is known.

Joanne Candlish from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This client is being made to wait to find out if he will receive his compensation pending an appeal court decision in which the insurers have argued that they should be let off the hook.

“If we are successful in resisting the insurers' appeal many asbestos victims will receive the compensation they are entitled to. It will also pave the way for this client to be paid his agreed provisional compensation and to bring a further claim in the future if he suffers serious deterioration in his condition due to asbestos related diseases.”