05 July 2022

Making an asbestos claim after being diagnosed with mesothelioma

Ruth Craven Senior Associate
Old, rust corrugated roof

Mr Z was 72 when he received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

His consultant broke the devastating news that his condition was terminal and he had a limited life expectancy. Mr Z sought expert advice. After taking a detailed witness statement our solicitor identified that he was exposed to asbestos when he worked as an electrician in the 1960s.

The company responsible for his exposure no longer existed, but our specialist asbestos solicitor identified that they had insurance in place when the negligent exposure occurred. The witness statement was sent to the company’s insurer, together with a letter of claim detailing the allegations.

Shortly after, we received an admission of liability and the defendant’s insurer agreed to make an interim payment of £50,000. This allowed Mr Z and his wife to pay for the additional costs associated with the illness, such as a stairlift and holistic therapies. Mr Z was keen to have immunotherapy (a treatment which was not available on the NHS). Unfortunately he was not a suitable candidate, however had he been suitable, this is something our asbestos specialist solicitor could have supported Mr Z in accessing.

Once liability was admitted the rest of the case focused on valuing the claim (i.e. calculating the financial losses incurred as a result of the illness, and the value of the illness itself).

Mr Z lived in a rural location and his wife did not drive. He was concerned that she would not be able to manage and would become isolated after his death. Mr Z was also very good at DIY and they rarely had to rely on tradesmen to help maintain their Victorian property. Mr Z knew that maintaining the property after his death would be burdensome on his wife. Our solicitor explained that a claim can be made for ‘loss of services’, so we would be able to build in the cost of taxi fares for his wife, and the additional cost of employing tradesmen to maintain the property.

The loss of services would be substantial however they can only be claimed in fatal cases (i.e. when a case settles after a patient’s death). The claim would be worth more if settled after his death. With this knowledge our client decided to put the claim on hold until he had passed away at which point we settled the case on behalf of his wife and the estate for the sum of £154,000.

Ruth Craven, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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