Case Study: Claim After Contracting Mesothelioma from Environmental Exposure

With JMW's help, a widow has received £715,000 compensation after her husband was exposed to asbestos in his youth, which led to him contracting fatal mesothelioma.

The Claim

Mr F, a chartered loss assessor, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos during two spells of summer work in his youth. He was put in touch with JMW Solicitors by a friend, where Abigail Morrison, Associate, handled his case.

The Case

Mr F was diagnosed at the young age of 57, after two periods of summer work as a teenager, when he was involved in recommissioning and decommissioning boilers at power stations by stripping off and re-instating their asbestos-made lining with a jackhammer.

Gathering Evidence

Abigail requested copies of all of Mr F’s medical, social security and employment records, as well as information about his pension plan, so she could build a picture of his health, his employment and understand his potential losses. His medical records showed a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Abigail also took a statement from Mr F, outlining his work experience, exposure to asbestos and family situation. He told us he was the main carer for his arthritic wife, and we were therefore aware that her care would make up a key element of his compensation. Mr F was also undergoing chemotherapy, and participating in Phase 3 and Phase 2 clinical trials.

Finding the Right Insurer

Mr F’s former firm was no longer trading, and despite finding information on its previous directors and possible accountant, we were unable to unearth their employers liability insurer. This was a problem; without an insurer, there would be nobody to pay Mr F’s claim.

After significant further research, Abigail was able to locate the occupiers liability insurers who insured the power station at the time of Mr F’s employment.

Continuing the Case

Abigail took a witness statement from Mrs F, highlighting how Mr F’s illness had affected their lives. Abigail also instructed an independent consultant chest physician to prepare a report on Mr F. She got Mrs F’s medical records and asked an expert to draw up a specialist care report outlining her ongoing needs.

The power stations’ insurance firm responded, confirming they would be the defendant in the case, but requested confirmation of the current work Mr F undertook, and whether he had been exposed to asbestos in any subsequent employment. Using a supplementary statement, we confirmed he hadn’t.

Abigail drafted a particulars of claim document in preparation for issuing court proceedings against the defendant, who passed the case to their solicitor to deal with. The defendant’s solicitor then made an offer of £250,000 to settle the case. Abigail thought this was low, particularly as the case’s evidence was incomplete, and the offer was rejected. Although Abigail requested an interim payment, this was rejected, and Mr F’s case would proceeded to a show cause hearing, where we had to prove the power stations were the source of Mr F’s asbestos exposure.

Mr F’s Death

At this stage, Mr F sadly passed away. The claim carried on in Mrs F’s name. The coroner returned a verdict from Mr F’s inquest stating that his death had been due to his contracting mesothelioma.

The defendant’s solicitor admitted liability for Mr F’s exposure and agreed to make Mrs F an interim payment. Abigail drafted a Schedule of Loss document, outlining all of Mrs F’s past, present and future financial losses as a result of Mr F’s illness and death.

Proof of Care Requirements

The defendant’s solicitor wanted proof of Mrs F’s care requirements. They requested she be examined by an independent consultant rheumatologist and by their own care expert, which Mrs F agreed to.

Abigail also took statements from Mrs F’s family. We received the medical report from our consultant rheumatologist, which confirmed Mrs F’s arthritis. We exchanged medical reports with the defendant’s solicitor. The two medical experts had different opinions, so we arranged for them, and the care experts, to present joint reports.

Joint Settlement Meeting and Final Settlement

We held a joint settlement meeting to try and settle the case outside of court. Unfortunately, we were unable to settle the claim in the joint settlement meeting. Afterwards, we held another meeting with our medical experts and the barrister. Meanwhile, the defendant’s solicitor made an increased settlement offer, starting a rigorous negotiation. We were ultimately able to arrive at an agreed figure of £715,000, which Mrs F accepted. Mrs F was extremely grateful for all the hard work Abigail, her colleagues, the medical experts and barrister had carried out, and was relieved to conclude this emotional claim.

Talk to Us

If you or someone you know has contracted mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at work, you may be able to make a claim. Contact us on 0800 054 6570 or fill out a contact form to speak to one of our team.

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