£140,000 lump sum payment secured for RAF veteran with mesothelioma

Boyes Turner’s specialist asbestos disease lawyers were instructed in March 2017 by a gentleman who had sadly been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Exposure

He was able to recall two instances of asbestos exposure. Firstly, when he left school, he did an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery with a small building firm. He used to cut asbestos sheets to size in the workshop, using an electric saw. There was no ventilation, so the dust would build up very quickly. By the end of the day, his clothes and hair would be covered in asbestos dust. He also cut and fit corrugated asbestos sheets to garage roofs.

The building firm that he worked for have long since dissolved and we were unable to trace any insurance that they may have had in place at the time. This is a common problem as asbestos diseases are ‘long tail diseases’; that is to say, they manifest themselves a long time after the exposure to asbestos took place. Thankfully, the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) has been set up. This is to compensate people with mesothelioma who have been negligently exposed to asbestos by their former employer, but are unable to bring a claim due to the employer being dissolved and no insurance policy having been in place.

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme

The DMPS is calculated based on an age based tariff. As our client is 80 years old, he would have been awarded £123,874 if a successful DMPS application was made. This is inclusive of legal costs of up to £7,000, so it is possible that the amount the client would have received would be reduced to £116,874 once the legal costs have been paid.

The second source of exposure to asbestos occurred when he finished his apprenticeship and was called up to the RAF for his National Service. During his posting in the RAF, he helped to build huts for himself and the other servicemen to live in.  They built the structure with wood and then cut and fit corrugated asbestos cladding to the walls and ceilings. 

He is unable to make a civil claim against the Ministry of Defence as they are protected by Crown Immunity. This was introduced by the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. While it was repealed by the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987, it is not retrospective. This means that a civil claim cannot be made if the asbestos exposure occurred prior to 1987. As our client’s National Service was prior to 1987, he was unable to claim from the Ministry of Defence.

War Disablement Pension

However, he was eligible to apply to Veterans UK for a War Disablement Pension. In December 2015 the rules were changed to allow mesothelioma sufferers to claim a lump sum payment of £140,000, instead of the usual weekly payments of up to £178.20.

Claim

We explained the options to our client and advised him to apply to Veterans UK for the lump sum payment of £140,000, as this is more than he would receive in the event of a successful DMPS application. Unlike the DMPS scheme, Boyes Turner would not receive any payment in the event of a successful application to Veterans UK. However, it is important to act in our client’s best interests and ensure that he secures the maximum compensation to which he is entitled. 

We visited him and assisted with completing the application to Veterans UK. This was done free of charge. 

In April 2017, he was contacted by a representative of Veterans UK and subsequently awarded the lump sum payment of £140,000. While no amount of money will make up for what our client and his family are going through, we were pleased to assist them at such a difficult time.

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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