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Former ship worker’s widow wins damages

The widow of a former welder has received compensation after he died from mesothelioma

Photo of a ship's welder by istock

25 August 2009

welder who sustained the majority of his asbestos exposure while working in boiler rooms on ships died following development of a terminal asbestos related cancer called mesothelioma.

He worked in the vicinity of laggers who applied asbestos insulation to pipes. The work they did generated large quantities of asbestos dust which he inhaled.

In around July 2006, his family saw a downturn in his condition. His medical records noted that he had suffered chest pain (a common symptom of mesothelioma) in around December 2006. He sadly died from the disease on 7 February 2007.

His widow brought a claim on behalf of his estate. The defendants admitted liability, but argued she should be entitled to reduced damages because her husband only suffered mesothelioma for a period of two or three months.

These arguments were strongly resisted by Leigh Day & Co on grounds of recent case law and also because there was evidence he experienced the symptoms for longer.

The defendants initially argued that the widow should only be entitled to £25,000 on account of general damages for mesothelioma. Following negotiation with the other side, a gross settlement of £90,000 was agreed, of which approximately £55,000 related to general damages. The claim settled before commencement of Court proceedings.

Where the duration of symptoms for mesothelioma is for a short period, defendants often seek to argue that only reduced damages should be paid. It is clear however that in most cases, whether the duration of mesothelioma is for two months or four years, the suffering experienced is considerable. We consider therefore that any attempt to reduce damages on account of the pain and suffering endured by these claimants is unjustified. Therefore, in this case and following the client’s instructions, it was decided that this issue should be fought until a reasonable offer was made.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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