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Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team have secured a provisional damages award of £140,000 for a former bus company electrician who has been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

At the time of his diagnosis, our client, David*, an avid walker, felt fit and well and found it difficult to believe that he was suffering from terminal asbestos-related cancer.

Asbestos exposure

David told us that he had worked with asbestos during his almost continuous employment with the Reading bus company known as Thames Valley Traction Company/Thames Valley and Aldershot Omnibus Company from 1948 to 1973. He had begun as an apprentice and then qualified as an electrician. His work had involved using asbestos rope on the buses to protect cable from burning and his colleagues worked on asbestos brake linings nearby.

Admission of liability and Interim payment

We put David’s claim and supportive medical evidence from our expert respiratory physician to his former employers’ liability insurers. They admitted liability for his condition and we obtained an interim payment for David to enable him to benefit from compensation as quickly as possible whilst we worked on valuing the full claim. To avoid delays whilst medical expert evidence was sought in relation to the likely course of David’s condition and his life expectation, we issued court proceedings. We also made an offer to settle the claim at £140,000, which the defendant rejected.

Medical condition and cost of private treatment

In addition to mesothelioma, David was suffering from renal carcinoma which the defendant argued could reduce his life expectation and his loss of pension claim for the “lost years” of his life. Reports were commissioned from expert oncologists to clarify the implications of the co-existing renal cancer. Our expert concluded that the renal cancer would not impact David’s life expectancy but that chemotherapy and possibly immunotherapy might be recommended in the future. Neither treatment was needed at present. David was keen to pursue these treatment options in future if his treating consultant agreed.

Chemotherapy is available on the NHS but unless David was able to participate in a clinical trial, his immunotherapy would need to be funded privately. In order to preserve his right to be compensated for the costs of private immunotherapy treatment in the event that it will be needed, we withdrew the offer of £140,000 and asked the defendants to consider this point.

The defendants increased their settlement offer to £140,000 and, immediately before the assessment of damages court hearing, they put forward a draft provisional damages settlement order which, if agreed, would give David £140,000 now and allow him to return to court in the future to apply for the costs of necessary private treatment, supported by medical expert evidence if that treatment is not available on the NHS. Having produced the draft order, the defendant then refused to meet our deadline for signing the order, so we applied, successfully, to the court to approve the draft order.

David received his compensation of £140,000 within six months of instructing us. Whether or not David will ultimately need private treatment, he has the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if it is needed in future, additional funding will be available from the defendant and will not need to come out of the compensation he has received for other aspects of his claim.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos related lung cancer we may be able to help. Contact us by email at idclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.