A woman whose dad died after being exposed to asbestos when he worked as a paint sprayer for a Chiswick firm has welcomed a High Court ruling which backed her right to claim compensation.
The landmark decision means that Ruth Durham will be able to receive compensation as a result of her father Leslie Screach's death, including for the pain and suffering he endured throughout his illness.
Mr Screach, who lived in Chiswick, was diagnosed with the mesothelioma, a deadly cancer which affects the external lining of the lungs, in April 2003.
He immediately launched a claim against the insurers for G & C Whittle Ltd, where he had worked from 1963 to 1968, and following his death seven months later his daughter took up the case.
But BIA (Run Off) Ltd argued it was not liable to pay because its insurance policy only covered the point at which the cancer emerged, rather than when Mr Screach was employed and exposed to the deadly asbestos.
However, following a nine week trial this summer, Mr Justice Barton announced he was rejecting the argument on Friday.
Mrs Durham, whose father died aged 73, said: "I am hugely relieved to hear of today's court decision, which will see justice done for my father and thousands of other mesothelioma sufferers now and in the future.
"I miss him every day and no sum of money will ever compensate for the terrible suffering that my father endured. However, I am pleased that by pursuing this legal action, we will have helped many others in future."
Guy Darlaston, of Mrs Durham's solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said the key issue at stake has been whether the insurance was triggered at point of exposure or when Mr Screach's cancer developed much later.
Had the claim succeeded Mr Screach's family and thousands of other victims would not have received any compensation where the employers themselves no longer exist, he added.
The High Court battle ensued after the Court of Appeal ruled in 2006 the mesothelioma injury did not occur until the cancer had emerged.
Until then it had been the responsibility of insurers who provided the policy to the employer at the time of wrongful exposure to asbestos to pay compensation.
This Court of Appeal Court ruling related to a different form of insurance covering members of the public who suffered injuries.
But four companies, including Whittle's insurers BAI (Run Off) Ltd, decided to argue the same decision should apply to their employer's liability insurance policies.
Mr Justice Burton's ruling against their claim, known as the Employer's Liability Insurance Policy 'Trigger' Litigation, will affect thousands of asbestos cancer victims.
G & C Whittle Ltd, a large firm of painting and decorating contractors, owned a depot at Cleveland Way, Chiswick, and employed up to 2,000 painters, sprayers and paper hangers.