Due to the often devastating effect on the patient and their loved ones of a diagnosis of mesothelioma there is general widespread public awareness about mesothelioma. Furthermore, if you type “asbestos claim” into any of the popular search engines, a plethora of firms of solicitors offering their legal services would be found. Often with what appears a bias towards mesothelioma claims.
HASAG and its panel of accredited solicitors do of course offer support and assistance to victims of mesothelioma. Equally and importantly, they offer an equal level of support and assistance to victims of all asbestos diseases no matter the type. Conditions such as asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis, asbestos related pleural thickening can in themselves lead to a life shorting prognosis and debilitating symptoms of breathlessness. Cruelly, symptoms from such conditions typically manifest themselves several decades after exposure to asbestos, stealing the enjoyment from even the most carefully made retirement plans.
What might come as a surprise, is that not all asbestos related conditions are treated the same in terms of the hurdles that must be overcome when making a claim for compensation. By way of an example mesothelioma claims are unique in that they are treated as indivisible conditions. This means that if a mesothelioma victim was exposed negligently to asbestos by more than one employer, he can recover 100 % compensation by pursuing his claim against only one Defendant, providing it can be shown that such exposure materially contributed towards his risk of developing mesothelioma.
For all other types of asbestos conditions, the cards are stacked less favourably in victims favour. Often a victim of an asbestos disease will have a long work history, sometimes with many short periods of employment where there was likely to have been exposure to asbestos. In such circumstances, to recover 100 % compensation all potential defendants must be pursued successfully. If a Defendant is no longer trading and their insurer cannot be traced, then a reduction is likely to be sought by the remaining Defendant(s)/insurer(s). This may in part explain the apparent search engine bias towards mesothelioma claims.
HASAG and its legal panel tirelessly fight for justice for victims of all asbestos diseases and wherever possible, strive to achieve recovery of 100 % compensation. We tirelessly face down the obstacles and hurdles that Defendants place in our way that seek to limit full compensation recovery.
In assessing the correct level of compensation for asbestos victims, legal professionals are often forced to rely on historical reported Judgments which were made many years ago. Defendants are keen to avoid authoritative up-to- date Court Judgments from being entered, in the knowledge that such Judgments will be used by Claimants in support of large awards of damages being made.
We are pleased to be able to report that Slater and Gordon Lawyers have recently had notable success in the fight to recover maximum compensation for asbestos victims. We acted for a HASAG patient whose asbestosis claim for compensation went before His Honour Judge Blair KC, in November of this year. This is important as it is the first reported Judgment in respect of an asbestosis case for 15 years. It is also the highest reported general damages Judgement in respect of our client’s level respiratory disability and can now be used as a case authority in subsequent cases to assist in securing higher awards of compensation.
A particularly pleasing fact of the case, was that the Learned Judge agreed entirely with our assessment of the value of the injury element of the claim, as well as agreeing with all additional pleaded heads of loss (subject to recalculation of the hourly rate for gratuitous care and assistance). It is also encouraging, in light of the cost-of-living crisis, that the Claimant’s claim for increased gas and electricity usage, including incremental increases due to the rise in the energy price cap, was allowed in full.
The Judgement was also on a provisional damages basis, this means should our client be unfortunate enough to suffer a significant deterioration in his asbestosis or any other type of significant asbestos related condition in the future then he will be able to seek additional compensation. In such circumstances, liability would never be in issue and the only matter the Court determined would be matters of quantification.
The case also demonstrated the importance of putting in a timely Part 36 offer to settle the claim. The Claimant having made a Part 36 offer to settle the claim of £72,500 was awarded Judgment in the sum of £91,438.54. As a consequence of the fact that he had beaten his offer to settle the claim, the Judge awarded an uplift on damages and interest totalling £11,343.85
The Claimant will also receive 100 % of the compensation recovered, by virtue of the fact that Slater & Gordon Lawyers do not apply any deduction to damages in relation to all asbestos related diseases.