Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Claim for former lagger who developed biphasic mesothelioma settles three weeks before the assessment of damages hearing
Mr L was only 68 when he developed mesothelioma in the summer of 2018.
He described exposure to asbestos at three or four lagging companies in the 1960s. Mr L was incredibly fit and well before his diagnosis. Not only was he working full time, but he had a very active social life with many friends. He regularly used to go and work out at the gym/boxing club and used to boast that he had no plans of giving up work because he loved the fact that his younger workmates couldn’t keep up with him! His plans were to continue working until at least 75, not least because he and his wife were the carers for their student grandson, following the tragic death of his mum a few years before.
Mr L had private healthcare insurance and this funded his treatment. He was keen to explore the possibility of alternative treatments including immunotherapy but did not want to delay the settlement of his claim and was very keen to settle it personally.
Individuals who are seriously ill always have a dilemma about how to settle their claim. The way compensation is awarded for the individual themselves in their lifetime differs from the way it is awarded for their dependents and their estate if the claim is concluded after their death. Typically, for someone with dependents, the claim on behalf of the estate is more valuable and Mr L was no exception to this. However, he did not wish to bequeath his family the burden of sorting out his claim and instructed us to approach the defendants to attempt to agree an enhanced lifetime settlement including provision for future immunotherapy treatment. Proceedings were issued, judgement entered and a timetable put in place for an assessment of damages hearing in March 2019. In January 2019 the defendants made an offer in settlement on the assumption Mr L would not carried on working. Substantial work was done with regard to the witness statements to demonstrate how extraordinarily fit and well Mr L was prior to his diagnosis to establish that he would have carried on working. We even obtained a statement from the owner of the boxing club where he used to work out. Just three weeks before the assessment of damages hearing was listed the defendants made a further offer which represented £105,000 increase on their earlier offer and this was accepted. They also agreed to indemnify Mr L for the cost of any future immunotherapy treatment and to indemnify him for any claim his private health care insures wished to make for the treatment he had received so far. Mr L is still receiving immunotherapy, which the defendants are funding privately.