New Court of Appeal mesothelioma case - exorcising an asbestos ghost but resurrecting an old spirit
Medway plumber’s industrial disease claim
Gerald from Rochester, Medway, Kent was a fit 61 year old when he was tragically diagnosed with mesothelioma at Medway Hospital. He only suspected something was wrong when he felt more tired than usual after completing a triathlon. The mesothelioma was thought to have been caused by unprotected exposure to asbestos lagging in his employment as a plumber/central heating installer for United House between 1975 and 1985 working in Kent and south east London. Gerald also had later asbestos exposure from his own plumber’s business. He was keen to pursue whatever treatments he could to prolong his quality and length of life.
Gerald instructed us in November 2014, agreeing ‘no win no fee’ terms. At that time the prognosis was just over 12 months and he was still working as a self-employed plumber. This made it more complicated to prove his loss of earnings. He had no partner or dependents, therefore, if his mesothelioma claim was not settled in his lifetime, the claim’s value would be halved for his sisters as next of kin, Marie, Tricia and Catherine.
We immediately requested his revenue employment history and made companies house and insurance enquiries before sending an initial letter to his former employer. Having promptly obtained full medical records, we instructed an independent asbestos disease chest consultant to examine and report. We took early full statements concerning his asbestos exposure/mesothelioma from the client and a supporting witness from Barry his former supervisor. We then sent a full letter of claim in January 2015, pressing for an early admission and interim payment.
After chasing, the insurers, Zurich, admitted liability in early March 2015. However, the insurers argued for a 10% reduction for his own business’s contribution to his asbestos exposure/mesothelioma. Gerald’s instructions to us were delayed by his further treatment. However, we then disclosed the medical report and a detailed further statement taken from him. This estimated the minimal number of asbestos exposure incidents from his business compared to his employment.
To save time we chose not to involve forensic accountants to assess Gerald’s loss of earnings and pension. Instead, we analysed the accounts ourselves and identified reasonable assumptions for projected losses. A schedule and supporting documents were disclosed to the insurer’s solicitors in June and an offer invited.
In July we received an initial compensation offer of £255,000. After deduction of welfare benefits and 2.5% for contributory negligence, the net offer was £200,000.
Following further negotiations, in August we agreed compensation for his mesothelioma claim for an increase of £20,000; £275,000 gross. After deductions, including a reduced 1% for contributory negligence, Gerald’s compensation totalled £220,000 net.
Settlement included full recovery of the private medical treatment for Gerald’s mesothelioma. As a mesothelioma claimant, Gerald kept 100% of his compensation with no costs deductions.
Gerald’s acting lawyer Jeremy commented, “It is tragic that this dreadful fatal disease should have taken hold of Gerald when he was barley in his 60s and was especially fit and active for his age. No money can make up for that. However, we were very pleased to obtain full and fair compensation for him within nine months of instruction and whilst he was still fit enough to enjoy that compensation. By settling in his life time we also ensured compensation for his lost years’ income which amounted to about half of his compensation; over £100,000.”
Gerald was very happy with the service he received and recommended us to other asbestos disease victims he knew. Gerald commented, “I much appreciate your commitment to my case”.
This mesothelioma compensation claim was dealt with by Jeremy Horton, a Solicitor and Partner in the firm, specialising in mesothelioma and other asbestos compensation claims in Kent, Medway, Essex & beyond. Jeremy is passionate about helping asbestos disease victims and their families achieve fair compensation as quickly as possible. He is the only APIL Accredited Occupational and Asbestos Disease Specialist solicitor in Kent, Medway, Essex, Surrey or Sussex. Jeremy can be contacted on 01622 680415 or at JeremyHorton@brachers.co.uk.
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