This post was written by Aliyah Akram, who acted for the Claimant in this case.
This was a claim brought under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.
The Deceased, Mrs Weyer, was exposed to asbestos through washing her husband’s overalls. Mr Weyer worked for the Defendant, formerly known as Kitsons Insulations Limited, for almost 20 years. He was a thermal insulation engineer, or lagger, and so he worked extensively with asbestos insulation.
In this assessment of damages, judgment having previously been entered against the Defendant, Michael Ford QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court awarded the sum of £90,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
In determining quantum the judge heard that prior to the onset of the disease the Deceased had been fit and healthy. He found that she was a brave and stoical woman who first saw her GP many months after she began to experience symptoms as a result of the disease. In total she suffered from symptoms as a result of the disease for around 14 months.
She underwent chemotherapy but was not fit enough to continue with her treatment. Towards the end of her life she suffered from severe weight loss and struggled with intense pain. The judge noted that there were difficulties with controlling her pain and she struggled to sleep. He also commented on the tragic family circumstances, her husband had himself died as a result of lung cancer. Two of their children had also worked for the Defendant and been exposed to asbestos. The Deceased had lost around 10.6 years life expectancy.
The judge also made awards for care (£9,250), travel expenses (350), miscellaneous expenses (£560) and funeral expenses (£4,284).
The case will be on Lawtel shortly.
This is an excellent result. It seems to me that there has been a real shift in PSLA damages for mesothelioma, which is not fully reflected in the JC guidelines. The entry point seems to have changed and all the recent decisions place general damages in the upper quarter of the guidelines. The JC guidelines need to be amended in my view.
We are currently seeking an uplift in GDs for those isolating as a result of Covid by virtue of their mesothelioma diagnosis – this cannot have been forseen when the JSC guidelines were published!