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Written on 2nd March 2022 by

Boyes Turner Asbestos Disease Team represented for Sidney* who was diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma of the pleura.  Sidney is a 75 year old gentleman who leads a very active life.  He lives alone, but walks his dog daily and has a close relationship with his son and four grandchildren, taking them surfing in Devon regularly (where he has a holiday home).  He enjoys cooking Sunday lunch for his four grandchildren every week.  Before the onset of mesothelioma, his plan was to retire to one of his properties in Devon.

He began feeling unwell with a persistent cough in April 2021, following which he was referred for a chest x-ray.  He subsequently developed a pleural effusion, where the lining of the lung had filled with fluid, requiring drainage although was still  walking 4-5 miles per day at this point.  A biopsy though sadly confirmed mesothelioma of sarcomatoid type.  He was fortunate enough to be considered for a clinical trial and he embarked upon immunotherapy (a treatment which uses the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells).  Sidney’s response to immunotherapy was positive, although this treatment has stopped temporarily.

Sidney was an electrician between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, during which time he worked on the docks.  He went into engine rooms where he recollected pipework that was covered with what he described as “asbestos flock”.  He also made face plate starters for motors and he needed to cut, drill and fix asbestos sheets as part of the process without warning or protection. 

Sidney has a partner of around 30 years, although they do not live together.  He and his partner talked about marriage but have decided not to take this step. It was really important to Sidney to settle his claim as swiftly as possible.  Laura visited Sidney as soon as she was instructed; following which she obtained a supportive report from a medical expert.  It is clear that Sidney may benefit from further immunotherapy treatment but this will no longer be available as part of a clinical trial so needs to be funded privately by the Defendants in Sidney’s claim.

Often cases are more valuable when someone passes away if they are married because there are some additional items of loss that are available to a spouse that we cannot claim for in a living claim.  Conversely, if someone is not married, their case can be worth a lot less.  Sidney wanted to settle his claim as swiftly as possible because the value of his claim dropped by about £200,000 if it became a fatal one. He also wanted certainty that if he does require immunotherapy treatment that is not available on the NHS, he has the reassurance that an agreement will be in place for the Defendants to fund it.

Sidney is pragmatic about his position and whilst he feels well at the moment, knows that his condition will deteriorate and he is likely to need requiring some care towards the end of life.  His preference is for him to move into an annex (he has commenced a garage conversion).  His son and daughter-in-law would then move into this five bedroomed family home (with their four children) to be on hand to provide him with reassurance and a level of care and assistance.  However, as his condition progresses, he would prefer professional carers coupled with some family care during the final stages of his illness. 

Sidney commenced and Laura instructed a nursing care expert who provided a detailed report setting out the future care needs of Sidney, prioviding costs estimates.  There were two scenarios though as sadly, Sidney had a limited prognosis.  The hope is that the work to the garage will be completed so that Sidney can make use of it with accommodation all on one level, but there is, of course, a possibility that the work is not completed for Sidney to make good use of it.  The care expert therefore put forward the alternative scenarios and calculations so that they could be included in the claim.

Laura acted without delay, visiting Sidney as soon as she was instructed (July 2021).  Laura pushed for an admission of liability and an interim payment of £50,000 which came from the Defendants just over three months later.  The claim was financially valuable and quite complex, but nevertheless, the parties reached agreement of in excess of £335,000 gross just over seven months from first instruction. 

Laura is in the process of protecting Sidney’s position so that any future treatment that is not available on the NHS will be funded by the Defendants and says:

Sidney is a man who embraces life to the full and has such a positive attitude to his condition. I am delighted that we swiflty obtained a signifcant sum for him which included the future costs of professional care so that now he can concentrate on spending time with his family and pursuing the best possible treatment with the reassurance that this will be funded by the Defendants”.

For more information about how the mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims team can help you or your loved ones after a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, please contact the team by email on idclaims@boyesturner.com or by telephone on 0118 952 7199.

*anonymised for client confidentiality