Solicitors in the case believe the Government could now face a bill of up to pounds 50m as the ruling clears the way to a further 500 compensation claims against British Coal by thousands of former pit men.
However, two of the nine men who had brought the case for Vibration White Finger - which involves damage to the hand's circulation and nerves from vibration and can cause loss of grip and sensitivity - failed to convince the judge at Newcastle High Court that they qualified for damages.
British Coal said it was considering launching an appeal. In a statement it said: "The court rejected two of the nine cases. This is significant. The judge has recognised British Coal's concerns and the substantial difficulties in assessing VWF cases."Reuse content