Asbestos Compensation After Death Guide 2018

Asbestos Related Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis Claims

A Family Guide 2018 for victims to support those who have lost a loved one following asbestos exposure at work.

Asbestos compensation after death guide for families; Often arises when dealing with this asbestos related claims. Death is caused in the is a form of asbestos related lung cancer that is related to the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which once diagnosed, will often result in death in just a few months.Usually a compensation claim is made on behalf of the deceased’s family members by solicitors acting on their behalf through the courts.

The three main causes of death for an asbestos related condition due to work in the United Kingdom are:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos Related Lung Cancer
  • Asbestosis

The majority of mesothelioma cases affect the lungs.  In cases of asbestos-related lung cancer, the fibers from asbestos become lodged in the lung tissue causing irritation and scarring over time. This irritation and scarring can then also develop into tumors. But in the case of malignant mesothelioma, the asbestos fibers scar and lead to tumors in the lining of the lungs (the mesothelium).

R James Hutcheon Solicitors Experts in dealing with Asbestos Claims

 

Research according to the Health and Safety Government Website concerning asbestos related deaths there were about 2,500 deaths resulting from asbestos-related mesothelioma in 2015. Such deaths are recorded as the inhalation of asbestos fibers that can cause cancer such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.

The statistics may however be more complex than that suggested when considerign lung cancer in particular were exposure to asbestos and smoking collaborate significantly to increase the risk of lung cancer. This then translates into the fact that a lot of cases of lung cancer will result from both smoking and asbestos exposure, rather than by one of these factors.

Asbestos Compensation Amounts

The courts in the UK consider various factors before deciding on the compensation claim payout for an asbestos related disease. The following actors are will be considered.  It must be remembered that every case will be decided on its own particular facts.

  • The type of asbestos related disease – mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis?
  • The age of the deceased (or living victim). The younger the person the greater the compensation.
  • The length of suffering – the longer the pain and suffering the court will award more damages. In many studies of workers exposed to asbestos, asbestos-fiber Inhalation is currently proven to lead to an increased risk of lung cancer. In general therefore, longer exposure to asbestos puts an individual at higher risk of developing lung cancer. Most medical cases of asbestos-related lung disease in workers occurs at least after 15 years of first asbestos exposure.
  • The courts will take in to account the level of smoking the victim had consumed if lung cancer is diagnosed where there has been exposure to asbestos at work.
  • The average life expectancy for a mesothelioma victim is just 12 -21 months, but some may survive by up to 5 years.

Compensation for Asbestos Related Disease

As a general guide, the courts will award the compensation to the worker according to the severity of the disease.  The greater the suffering the more compensation will be awarded.  Most compensation is awarded to the severe forms of the disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.  Mesothelioma once diagnosed is a death sentence often within months.  Asbestos related lung cancer and asbestosis often take a longer period before it if fatal.  All  asbestos claims including fatal compensation claims are handled by only our experienced GRADE A Solicitors with a minimum of 15 years experience in disease and asbestos related compensation payout claims.

 

Compensation for Asbestos Related Diseases

General Compensation Payouts for Asbestos Deaths UK

  • Mesothelioma, Serious disability leading to premature death; up to £105,000. Please note that some asbestos related lung cancers and asbestosis may also be awarded compensation at this level.
  • Lung cancer, usually older person and fatal, symptoms not generally as painful as mesothelioma; to £86,000.
  • Asbestosis, (pleural thickening of the lungs). Disability, shortness of breath, prolonged coughing, sleep disturbance, restriction of mobility.  The top level award will be for victims where the disease is progressive, showing a significant impact on quality of life; to £95,000.
  • Asbestosis and pleural thickening where Breathlessness, frequent use of inhaler, unable to tolerate smokey environment to £35,000. 

The above figures are for general guidance.  In addition to the above asbestos compensation claims payouts there other heads of damages that expert asbestos solicitor can claim on behalf of the victim and their family.

Asbestos compensation after death – real payouts by the Courts

Below are a selection of real compensation payouts for asbestos claims decided by UK Courts

McCarn v Secretary of State 2014 [Scottish Case]

Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 s 4(3)(b) close family members of the deceased can claim compensation. In this case the father of the five adult children who were making a claim received £35,000 each for the death of their father who died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos whilst working for a Ship Building Company.  The damages awarded reflected the fact that their mother had died of cancer earlier and as a result were all particularly close to their father, who as a very fit man before the disease too over.  There is no similar law to compensate victims in England and Wales for bereavement compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Knauer v Ministry of Justice [2014] £642.972.51 (46 years old)

The deceased was only 46 years old when she died of mesothelioma.  She was employed as an administrator at a Dorset. The prison included many old buildings to she was required to go in the course of her job. Many of these buildings contained asbestos which resulted in her untimely death.

The general guidance for asbestos related compensation (see above) at the time the Court was deciding on the amount to be awarded was between £51,500 and £92,500.

In determining the amount, the court reflected on the pain and suffering she had to endure before death. Mesothelioma causing both severe pain and impairment of both function and quality of life. This may be of the pleura (the lung lining) or of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity); the latter being typically more painful. There are a large number of factors which will affect the level of award within the bracket. These include but are not limited to duration of pain and suffering, extent and effects of invasive investigations, extent and effects of radical surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, whether the mesothelioma is peritoneal or pleural, the extent to which the tumour has spread to encase the lungs and where other organs become involved causing additional pain and/or breathlessness, the level of the symptoms, domestic circumstances, age, level of activity and previous state of health.”

Asbestos compensation after death awarded was £80,000 (for the injury, pain and suffering only). The full award after death for the asbestos claim was £642,972.51, this award was mainly for the family of the deceased under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Zambarda v Shipbreaking (Queenborough) Ltd. Total Award: £98,723 (75 years)

In this case a very experienced judge decided in 2013, that the pain and suffering of a male worker due to mesothelioma was valued at £75,500 for the suffering he went through before death. He suffered slightly longer in duration compared to Kauer above, (seven months from first symptoms,six months from diagnosis), but he was a lot older, 70 when he died.

The compensation payment was broken down as follows:

Past care and assistance £ 4,406
Past case management £ 3,674
Inability to provide services to others £ 3,656
Miscellaneous expenses £ 750
Bereavement damages £11,907
Funeral expenses £ 3,801
Loss of dependency on Income (past and future) £70,529
Overall total compensation payment: £98,723

Wolff v John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Ltd 2012 – £104,500

In this case it is reported that the deceased died from mesothelioma aged 67 in 2007. The awards made by the Judge in 2011 under section 1(4) of the 1976 Act were as follows:

  • £50,000 to the widow;
  • £15,000 to each of two adult daughters who lived away from home but had regular contact with the deceased;
  • £18,000 to the youngest daughter aged 32 who lived at home and had relied on the deceased to a much greater extent than her siblings; and
  • £6,500 to the granddaughter, on the basis that the bond between a grandchild and grandparent was less strong than the bond between child and parent.
  • Total award asbestos compensation payout £135,000

McGregor v Genco (FC) Ltd [2014] £135,000

A case decided in the Manchester County Court.  The asbestos victim was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. A claim was brought against her former employer for damages for personal injury, alleging that she had contracted the illness due to asbestos exposure during her the course of employment.

The claimant’s was aged 58, developed she malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. She began suffering with symptoms of mesothelioma in May 2012 with shortness of breath and lethargy and was diagnosed in August. The prognosis was poor.

Total award for the asbestos compensation after death £135,000

International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance plc UK Branch £250,000

A case that involved death due to exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma where the employee inhaled asbestos fibers in course of employment over many years.

The employee retired in April 2008, but he did not enjoy a long retirement.  In the same year, July 2008 he was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma and he died within about a year from diagnosis.

Before he died his solicitor took legal action for compensation for his asbestos-related condition. he claimed his illness was caused by its negligence and breach of statutory duty in exposing him to asbestos dust and fibres.

The claim was settled for £250,000 plus solicitors legal costs.

Passmore v Evan Cook Ltd 2012 – (£192,437)

The employee contracted mesothelioma, due to exposure to asbestos at work. He was diagnosed in February 2011 by the presence of a large right pleural effusion and pleural plaques, from exposure to asbestos during his employment. He had a life expectancy of six months, with a likely range of three to nine months, from September 2012.

The employee claimed damages for mesothelioma, which he alleged was caused by negligent exposure to asbestos in the course of his employment by the defendant. Between 1961/1962 and 1981, the claimant was employed and responsible for the supervision of the packing, removal and installation of industrial plant and equipment. In 2011, the claimant was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The claimant’s evidence was that while employed by the defendant, he had been exposed to asbestos dust from the dismantling of pipework from factory equipment.

At court his health had deteriorated and towards the end of the one hour questioning he required morphine as pain control. From time to time he lost concentration. Under cross-examination, some of the claimant’s answers to questions suggested that exposure to asbestos during the relevant period of time could not be demonstrated.

Whilst the defendant submitted to the court that his evidence was unreliable, the Judge dismissed the claims and found in, fact, he was a reliable witness and established to the satisfaction of the court relevant exposure levels and working environment to prove a case. He was truthful and a careful witness and therefore liability was proven against his employers.

Asbestos compensation after death was agreed between the solicitors at £168,000.

Eric Ward, the Widower and Executor of the Estate of Valerie Ward v RWE Npower PLC and Associated Electrical Industries Ltd [2012] £113,000 (80 years old)

The Deceased first experienced symptoms in July 2007 he sadly died in April 2011, shortly after being diagnosed in March 2011. The Deceased contracted mesothelioma as a result of ‘secondary’ exposure. The Deceased washed her husband and son’s overalls, which were covered in asbestos dust and fibres because of their work at the Aberthaw Power Station. Proceedings were issued and the matter settled.

The case was ‘Fast Tracked’ due to her condition under the mesothelioma scheme.  Her family were awarded compensation in the sum of £113,000.

Baker v Tate & Lyle PLC [2012] –  £205,000

The Employee’s symptoms began in January 2011. At the time of the Trial, he was dying of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos with a life expectancy of 2 to 6 months. He was 65 years old at the time when at court. He was only in his teenage working years when he was exposed to the deadly dust fibers.

The judge found that under Regulation 1 of the Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 and section 29 (1) of the Factories Act 1961 imposed a duty upon the Defendant as occupier.  The Defendant company did not come up with any evidence to suggest they supplied their employee with effective breathing apparatus and effective mechanical ventilation, so as not to expose the Claimant to asbestos.

As the Defendant failed to provide this evidence, Judgment was entered and the case settled in the sum of £205,000, with £80,000 allowed for general damages (that is for the asbestos related condition alone, pain and suffering).  The additional about of £125,000 was paid in accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, for the dependents of the deceased.

Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2012] £73,980/ £58,920.38 (pain and suffering)

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura was diagnosed.

The employee was alive when the case came to court. Often quite unusual for a mesothelioma case, as often the victim of asbestos exposure has sadly died.

Between 1967 and 1985 the claimant was exposed to asbestos dust in the course of his employment with the National Coal Board. He started to experience chest symptoms in January 2011. His condition deteriorated and he was diagnosed as suffering from a malignant mesothelioma in March 2011.

In September 2011 the claimant’s estimated life expectancy as a result of the malignant mesothelioma was between one to five months.
Facts

In April 2011 a left thoracoscopy was performed to remove the pleural effusion and to relieve the claimant’s breathlessness.

The prognosis was for inevitable deterioration probably with worsening pain, increasing breathlessness, loss of appetite and weight and progressive debility.

It was likely the claimant would become completely incapacitated and in need of constant nursing care towards the end of his life.

Had it not been for the mesothelioma his life expectancy would have been 2.9 years.

Damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity were awarded at £50,000.

Asbestos compensation after death – here the Court awarded damages for lost years were agreed at £19,376 and care and miscellaneous expenses were agreed at a further £4,179.16.

Further reading on asbestos related lung cancers.

Mesothelioma on Wikipedia

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

Fatal Accidents Claims Guide

Compensation Calculator

Dependency Claim

Asbestos Related Deaths in the UK

 


%d bloggers like this: