Case Study: Chemical Industry Worker Claims After Contracting Mesothelioma

JMW successful secured a £526,000 out-of-court settlement for a man after he was exposed to asbestos during his working years.

The Case

Dr N, a doctor and professor working in the chemical industry, was diagnosed with mesothelioma after he developed breathing problems that led to pleural pneumonia and ultimately, asbestos-linked cancer. He found out about making compensation claims through his local asbestos support group and got in touch with JMW Solicitors, where Andrew Lilley, head of industrial disease, handled his claim.

The Claim

Dr N was diagnosed in his early 50s. After taking a detailed witness statement from him about his working life and possible sources of exposure to asbestos, we highlighted two likely sources of exposure. The first was during his work as a chemist at the University of Cambridge, and the second was during a brief period of work at Guys and St Thomas’s hospital London. Our asbestos disease team immediately sent a letter of claim to both, which the NHS Trust effectively ignored, whilst the insurers for the university admitted negligent exposure.

Establishing Appropriate Compensation

Since the exposure to asbestos, Dr N had moved on and established his own business, where he worked as a lecturer and consultant within his specialist area. Unfortunately, after he contracted mesothelioma, he had to fold the company, but in its final year before folding, it made a substantial profit, and was on course to make more the following year due to overseas contacts that involved him lecturing and teaching in several universities both overseas and within the UK.

Due to the complex tax arrangements that Dr N had used in managing his own affairs, determining an appropriate amount of compensation was not straightforward, so our team issued court proceedings against both defendants in the Fast-track Mesothelioma Courts at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Dr N sadly passed away at this point and the proceedings were continued on behalf of his estate, with his wife Ms M pursuing the claim on behalf of the estate.

The Court Process

At this point in the claim, the university’s solicitor retracted their admission of liability and provided cogent evidence that Dr Newton’s recollection of exposure was incorrect. The NHS Trust also denied exposure. The matter proceeded to a contested show cause hearing where judgement was entered for our client against the NHS Trust, who were ordered to pay Dr N’s widow a substantial interim payment.

As a result of this decision, we agreed to discontinue the proceedings against the university on the basis that they paid our client’s unnecessarily incurred legal costs. The matter proceeded towards an assessment of damages hearing and the NHS Trust’s representatives made a number of offers that the client rejected on our advice, before agreeing to settle for £526,000 shortly before trial.

This case showed the importance of obtaining full details of the exposure against all possible defendants rather than relying on the admission of liability received. We were also able to obtain a high level of compensation for the client by ensuring that a claim was submitted for every aspect of support provided by Dr N to his wife, whether financial, emotional or practical.

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Talk to Us

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you think it is due asbestos exposure at either a current of previous job, contact us on 0800 054 6570 or fill out a contact form to talk to one of our team about whether you have a claim.

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