Asbestos: The Court of Cassation extends compensation of the ‘pain and suffering’ head of loss
In a decision of 5 April 2019 (no. 18-17.442), the Assemblée plénière of the Haute jurisdiction [High Court] reversed case-law by recognising pain and suffering of all workers exposed to this substance, and not just of those employees benefitting from the “asbestos early retirement” arrangement provided for by the law of 23 December 1998.
Up until now, only “employees of establishments manufacturing materials containing asbestos, establishments manufacturing asbestos flocking and insulation or for naval construction and repair” therefore were able to claim compensation.
Now, the Court of Cassation is of the opinion that “even if he has not worked in one of the establishments mentioned in article 41 of the law of 23 December 1998, an employee exposed to asbestos and having, therefore, a high risk of developing a serious illness, may claim compensation for pain and suffering, on the basis of common law governing the employer’s safety obligation. He must furnish evidence of this”.
This decision represents progress for the rights of victims of asbestos.