This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Chemical Poisoning & Asbestos team who recently recovered a provisional settlement for a client with pleural thickening. The provisional settlement allows him to seek further compensation if he later develops mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer.
From 1963 to 1973 Mr S was employed as a plumber and plumbing foreman by the same employer. During the course of this employment Mr S worked at various construction sites where major refurbishment works were being undertaken.
Asbestos in various forms was used by Mr S and his colleagues who inevitably inhaled asbestos dust throughout the working day. As a result of this exposure to asbestos, Mr S developed pleural plaques and diffuse pleural thickening affecting his right lung base, a mild lung abnormality causing him some symptoms of breathlessness. It was not disputed that because of his occupational asbestos exposure, Mr S had risks of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer (the latter due also to his previous smoking habit).
Choosing a provisional settlement
In this case, a variety of issues remained contentious, not least the reasons for disability. The claimant could not say that his disability was purely due to asbestos exposure because of his smoking history so he had to accept compensation would be proportionate to the disability due to asbestos exposure alone. The claimant might have decided to settle his claim on a full and final basis, but the defendant could not make a sufficiently tempting offer in this regard. Accordingly, the case settled on a provisional basis for a fair amount consistent with the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines.
Options for the future
We very much hope that Mr S will not go on to develop mesothelioma, asbestosis and/or lung cancer in his lifetime, but if he does, he will be entitled to return to court and seek further compensation. He will be safe in the knowledge that he already has a judgment in his favour and all issues regarding employment history, asbestos exposure and a defendant able to meet a further claim are resolved already. A later claim will be able to proceed more quickly.
Read more about our experience in chemical poisoning and asbestos and pleural thickening cases.
Jonathan Herbert specialises in asbestos cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case or you have a general query about chemical poisoning & asbestos, contact Jonathan on 01892 701226 in confidence.