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Personal Injury Claims Involving Insolvent Defendants: Selecting the Correct Statutory Scheme - Andrew Burns QC & Jonathan Butters, Devereux Chambers

13/08/17. Redman v Zurich Insurance plc [2017] EWHC 1919 (QB) analyses the circumstances in which a claim for personal injuries where an insured defendant is insolvent should be brought relying on the old statutory regime provided by the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930 (“the 1930 Act”) as opposed to the new regime provided by the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”). It is of particular importance in industrial disease claims where the date when a liability for an injury is incurred is medically uncertain.

The claim was brought by Mrs Redman for damages in relation to the death of her husband from asbestos related lung cancer. Her claim was brought on two bases: against Zurich Insurance directly under the 2010 Act and against his former employers (then called Humber Electrical Engineering) so she could recover damages against Zurich under the 1930 Act.

Zurich said that the only avenue open to Mrs Redman was against Humber and only against Zurich under the 1930 Act if and when liability had been established.

Background Facts

Mr Redman was exposed to asbestos fibres during 30 years’ employment by Humber as an electrician. He died in 2013 just over a year after cancer symptoms developed. Humber became insolvent in 2014 but had an employer’s liability insurance policy with Zurich. Breach of duty was admitted, but causation and quantum remained in dispute. Mr Redman issued a claim against Zurich under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and Humber was added as a defendant after being restored to the register of companies. Zurich then applied to strike out the 2010 Act claim against it...

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