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Written on 26th March 2020

I was contacted by Jim who was suffering with Mesothelioma. Very sadly Jim had always been worried about contracting the deadly asbestos cancer having worked as a lagger’s mate and then a lagger for many years and having had friends that died from the same condition. He detected a lump on his side but did not go to the GP straight away – understandably he was very concerned for the future and did not want to hear the words that he was suffering from a fatal asbestos related cancer, which inevitably he was.

Jim had worked with asbestos for the following companies:

  • McAndrew Wormald
  • Darlington Insulation
  • Wrights Insulation
  • Premier Asbestos
  • Joseph Madin
  • Bersil Limited
  • Thermac Insulation

All of the above we have pursued previously.

Original diagnosis

Jim had been diagnosed in 2003 with pleural plaques, scarring on the lungs caused by asbestos exposure and had achieved a small lump sum by way of compensation. Pleural plaques was previously a condition that attracted compensation but following an important case in 2007 called Rothwell v Chemical Engineering the House of Lords held that pleural plaques were no longer compensatable in England and Wales. Jim had secured a provisional award which compensated him for the plaques but allowed him to come back to Court to claim further damages if he were to develop a new asbestos condition such as Mesothelioma.

Claiming for Mesothelioma

He contacted me as the law firm that handled his previous case was no longer in existence. Jim had kept a copy of the Court Order and some of the papers which was very fortunate, I immediately contacted the Wandsworth County Court for the original papers but the Court informed me that the whole Court file had been destroyed as the case had concluded so long ago!

The seven defendants were informed of the new diagnosis and I instructed the same consultant/ physician that did the report back in 2003. I went to see Jim at home twice as the defendants were not satisfied with the exposure evidence in Jim’s statement and had further questions to put to Jim. The medical report was supportive but sadly Jim died just two months after contacting me, just before the report was received. I attended the Inquest with the family following which the claim was continued by his daughter who was also the Personal Representative of the estate, his daughter would bring the claim on behalf of the estate, but also on behalf of Jim’s wife who was dependent on Jim for his pension income and on the jobs that he did around the home.

Multiple defendants and valuing

The claim was valued and an offer put to the defendants of £165,000 with supporting documents. No substantive response was forthcoming from the defendants partly because of the number of defendants involved. To force matters I therefore made an application to resurrect the previous provisional damages case and transfer it from the Wandsworth County Court to the Royal Courts of Justice in London where there is a specialist Court and Judges that deal with Mesothelioma cases speedily. The Court agreed the application and the defendants came forward with an offer of £150,000 and the defendants indicated (after some to-ing and fro-ing in negotiation) that they would offer £155,000 which the daughter accepted. The case was settled within 14 months of Jim instructing us, about a year after he passed away. Whilst no amount of money can compensate Jim’s wife and family for all they have been through and their loss, Jim’s family are pleased that the companies that exposed him to asbestos all those years ago have acknowledged they were at fault by paying further compensation