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Written on 26th March 2020

Laura Magson, Head of the mesothelioma and asbestos claims team represented Stan, a former pipe fitter and later his widow in this difficult mesothelioma case.

Stan’s mesothelioma exposure

Stan, a former pipe fitter worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board. His story was one that is completely familiar to the specialist asbestos disease lawyers at Boyes Turner. He worked alongside laggers who he mixed up asbestos for on a daily basis. Whilst mixing the asbestos the dust would fly into the air around them and with no face masks to protect them they would breathe in the fibres.

Stan’s description of the asbestos exposure was supported by his brother-in-law who also worked at the same power station.

The mesothelioma claim

The defendants delayed their response to the competitive offer that was put forward to the defendants in the sum of approximately £135,000. Court proceedings were issued in May 2019 and the defendants made a formal offer of just £50,000 on 16 May.

Laura made arrangements to visit Stan the day the offer was received (with a view to visiting him the very next day). Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos team believe that it is better to meet with their clients as much as possible face to face to help explain offers and actions with them.

He was incredibly unwell by this point and in effect on his deathbed. It was therefore extremely important that Laura took instructions from him face to face and advised him that the offer was too low in the circumstances. Very sadly, just before she set off to advise Stan and the family she was told that Stan had passed away a few hours earlier.

Defendants’ stance

The defendants were unwilling to accept the diagnosis of mesothelioma during Stan’s lifetime and insisted on a post mortem examination at a suitable time in the future. Of course, this was unacceptable to the team, given that they had already been provided with the supportive medical report. Therefore Laura issued proceedings at the High Court without delay during Stan’s lifetime.

Fatal claim

Stan’s widow took over the claim and stepped into her husband’s shoes the personal representative of his estate. A post mortem took place and confirmed that the cause of death was mesothelioma so Laura immediately withdrew her earlier offer as, now the case was a fatal one, it was more valuable.

fatal claim is worth more as there are more elements to think about when someone passes away, not least bereavement damages which is set at the level of £12,980 for the death of a spouse. Whilst £12,980 is an incredibly minimal amount of compensation and is not enough, in the team’s view, to compensate anyone for the loss of a spouse, it is nevertheless enshrined in statute and is a head of loss that is not available if the case is pursued during a mesothelioma patient’s lifetime.

Home Visit

Laura went to visit Stan’s wife at home soon after Stan passed to take further details from her about the financial loss. She was able to assess Stan’s wife’s loss of dependency on him for his income and services around the home and updated the financial value, making an offer of £150,000 gross.

The proceedings at the High Court needed to be temporarily stayed whilst the Grant of Probate was obtained and during this period negotiations ensued with the defendants.

Seven months after Stan’s passing, the defendants increased their first offer by a further £87,500 which Stan’s wife was happy to accept. Whilst no amount of money can compensate the family for the loss of a wonderful husband and father. Nevertheless, the family are pleased that the case has been brought to a successful conclusion and the defendants have paid the full value of the claim within twelve months of Stan’s first contact with the team.

Hospice claims

Stan had some respite care from the St. Wilfred’s Hospice and we were pleased to be able to include a contribution to the hospice in the compensation claim for the non-NHS funded part of the care costs to Stan.

Hospices of course rely very heavily on donations as well as being partial funded by the NHS so it is really important that we include the hospice costs in the claim so that these can be repaid to the hospice so that they can continue the important work that they do.

For more information about how the Mesothelioma and Asbestos claims team can help you or a member of your family please contact them by email on idclaims@boyesturner.com.