Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Settlement secured for out of time mesothelioma claim
We were approached by Sandra in January of 2018 following the death of her father 5 years earlier. Sandra’s father had worked for Morfitts of Leeds in the 1950s and was exposed to substantial asbestos.
The normal time limit for bringing a claim for compensation is three years from an individual’s death, but we were able to obtain a witness statement from one of his former work mates who could confirm the circumstances of exposure and that other workers had also developed asbestos related illnesses. We also knew that another claim for compensation for asbestosis against Morfitt’s had gone to trial.
When claims are brought beyond the usual three year time limit the court has a discretion to allow the claim to proceed if the defendant is unable to establish that the delay has caused them prejudice in investigating the claim.
In view of the other claim that had gone to trial for exposure in the same job also in the 1950s, we were confident we would be able to persuade the Court to disapply the normal three-year time limit because the defendants would be unable to establish that they were any more prejudiced in investigating the claim now than they would have been if it had been brought in time.
Some solicitors will not accept out of time cases, but we assess each one on its merits.
We were able to offer a no win no fee agreement to Sandra to pursue her claim which gave her the piece of mind of knowing that she could do so without financial risk. However we needed to obtain specific authority from our Insurers to go ahead with the claim given that it was out of time. This authority was initially refused but we were then able to persuade them to grant an indemnity. Proceedings were immediately commenced, and an offer in settlement was received just before the first Court review hearing at which a timetable would have been put in place to conclude the claim.
Sandra was delighted. She had lost her mother, her father and her best friend all within a few months of each other, and had then been treated for health problems herself. She had been unable to face the prospect of bringing a claim for compensation arising out of the loss of her father any sooner. She was pleased that we were able to help her to pursue it even though the normal time limit had expired.
At Royds Withy King we frequently act for individuals whose claims are out of time. The Court allows claims to proceed beyond the normal time limit if the defendants are unable to establish prejudice, and we have developed a real expertise in investigating this element and successfully pursuing these cases.
If you want to find out more about making an industrial diseases compensation claim, please contact our specialist team.
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