Case Study: Retired Shipyard Labourer's Mesothelioma Claim

Mr L's family were awarded £81,625.09 due to fatal exposure to asbestos at work causing mesothelioma.

The Claim

Mr L worked for Cammell Laird as a labourer, working on new ships being built in the 1950s and 1960s, where he was regularly exposed to asbestos powder, which was then mixed and used to coat pipes and boilers. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in October 2014, Mr L and his family decided to make a claim. They were put in touch with JMW Solicitors where Abigail Morrison, Senior Associate, handled their claim.

The Case

Abigail visited Mr L and his daughter at home in order to take down detailed information about his working history, his diagnosis and state of health. She then used that information to put together a witness statement and a plan to take the case forward. She contacted his GP and hospital to obtain his medical records, and HMRC to obtain his employment records so that she had the appropriate evidence to build a strong case on his behalf.

Letter of Claim

Abigail submitted a letter of claim to Mr L’s former employer, Cammell Laird – the defendant in the case. She outlined Mr L’s intention to make a claim and their role in his exposure to asbestos, as well as her intention to have an independent medical report prepared by a consultant chest physician, on Mr L’s behalf, which would support his claim as it would highlight the most likely route of exposure for Mr L and provide an independent prognosis.

We also assisted Mr L with reviewing what benefits he was entitled to as a result of his illness – such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit – and assisted him to apply for them.

The representatives of Cammell Laird then contacted us to advise that responsibility for dealing with Mr L’s claim would lie with VSEL, so Abigail re-sent the letter accordingly.

Admission of Breach

VSEL’s insurer contacted Abigail to confirm that they would deal with Mr L’s claim, and to request that she send them details of Mr L’s employment history and medical records, with Mr L and his family’s consent. In a sign of good faith, Abigail forwarded these to them, to encourage them to deal with Mr L’s claim quickly, in view of his failing health.

The insurer responded just before Christmas, and confirmed that they were able to concede that Mr L’s former employer was in breach of the law and had been negligent during his employment. They confirmed that, ahead of settlement of Mr L’s claim, they would be able to provide Mr L with a £50,000 interim payment, which would allow the family to make some much needed modifications to their home for Mr L.

However, Mr L sadly passed away during the Christmas period, less than two weeks after the insurer had contacted Abigail with this positive news. Mr L’s interim payment was therefore to go to the executor of his estate, which, after sight of Mr L’s will, we established was Mr L’s daughter.

We also received the independent medical report, which confirmed Mr L’s exposure to asbestos through his former employer, and that on the balance of probabilities, his exposure had reached a level typical of the amount required to cause mesothelioma. It also suggested that Mr L could have reasonably expected to have lived at least another four years were it not for his diagnosis.

Schedule of Loss

Abigail then prepared a Schedule of Loss for Mr L’s claim – a document that outlined all of the financial expenses Mr L and his family had been subject to as a result of his disease. This would help settle the claim for the appropriate amount.

We asked Mr L’s daughter to review the schedule of loss. She confirmed she was happy for us to use the Schedule of Loss, which included an allowance for the cost of Mr L’s funeral.

Settling the Claim

Abigail then sent the Schedule of Loss to the insurance company, who wished to arrange a meeting to discuss settling the case. At the meeting, they negotiated a total settlement offer of £81,625.09, which would be the sum Mr L’s daughter would receive, minus any deductible state benefits Mr L had received in relation to his illness, and the earlier interim payment. Abigail discussed the offer with Mr L’s daughter, and both agreed that it was a fair offer on the case. Mr L’s daughter, therefore, authorised Abigail to accept the offer.

Mr L’s daughter was happy to resolve the claim on behalf of her father, enabling her to move on from a tough chapter in her family’s life.

Talk to Us

If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma and you wish to make a claim, the team at JMW Solicitors can help you. You can contact us on 0800 054 6570 or leave your details on our contact form, and one of the team will come back to you at a time you state is convenient.

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