Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer Claims
Welcome to our 2023 claims guide for mesothelioma victims after death and other related conditions. Following a mesothelioma diagnosis, we will support those who have lost a loved one.
Mesothelioma compensation after death often arises when dealing with asbestos-related claims. Death is caused by lung cancer due to inhaling asbestos fibres, which, once diagnosed, will often result in death in just a few months. Usually, a claim is made on behalf of the deceased’s family members by solicitors acting on their behalf through the courts.
Our professional solicitors have 30+ years of experience with mesothelioma compensation claims. We have produced a video of the five most common questions about mesothelioma. It is worth a view.
The majority of mesothelioma cases affect the lungs. In lung cancer cases, the fibres from asbestos become lodged in the lung tissue, causing irritation and scarring over time. This irritation and scarring can then also develop into tumours. But in the case of malignant mesothelioma, the fibres scar and lead to tumours in the lining of the lungs (the mesothelium).
According to the Health and Safety Government, in 2015, about 2,500 deaths were from asbestos-related mesothelioma. Such deaths are recorded as the inhalation of fibres that can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
However, the statistics may be more complex than suggested when considering lung cancer, mainly where exposure to dangerous minerals and smoking significantly increase the risk of lung cancer. This means that many lung cancer cases will result from smoking and exposure rather than one of these factors.
You can proceed with a mesothelioma compensation claim in a few situations. A mesothelioma claim can be made when someone has been exposed to asbestos, such as in the workplace, and they have contracted a related disease.
If someone is diagnosed with the condition while alive, they can pursue compensation damages themselves. A successful mesothelioma claim, in this case, will usually require presenting evidence that demonstrates how and when they were exposed. A family member can make a mesothelioma death claim if a person has died following a diagnosis.
The courts in the UK consider various factors before deciding on the compensation claim payout for mesothelioma. Typically, judges use the Judicial College Guidelines and experience of previous cases to reach their decision. We are aware of the Judicial College Guidelines and can estimate how much you may receive.
The following points will be considered, but every case will be decided on its own particular facts.
- The type of related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer
- The age of the deceased (or living victim). The younger the person, the greater the mesothelioma compensation claim.
- The pain and suffering, including length of illness, symptoms and treatment received. The longer the pain and suffering, the court will award more significant damages.
- Bereavement damages (see bereavement award).
- Costs of medical treatment, nursing care and hospice living.
- Requirement of extra equipment to support the victim’s care, including mattress protectors, walking sticks and stairlifts.
- Loss of function to do hobbies and house tasks, such as gardening and driving.
- Loss of earnings and expenses, such as travel expenses and funeral expenses.
- Loss of dependency (see dependency claim).
- The courts will consider the level of smoking the victim had consumed if lung cancer is diagnosed.
- The average life expectancy for a mesothelioma victim is just 12 -21 months, but some may survive by up to 5 years.
As a general guide, the courts will award 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. Lung cancer and asbestosis often take longer before it is fatal. All mesothelioma compensation claims are handled by only our experienced GRADE A Solicitors with a minimum of 15 years of experience.
Generally, mesothelioma that has caused severe disability leading to premature death can award up to £105,000 in compensation damages.
Below is a selection of real compensation payouts for mesothelioma claims after death as 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 was making a claim received £35,000 each for the death of their father, who died from mesothelioma caused by exposure whilst working for a Ship Building Company. The damages awarded reflected that their mother had died of cancer earlier and, as a result, were all particularly close to their father, who was a very fit man before the disease took 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  £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 which she was required to go during her job. Many of these buildings contained asbestos which resulted in her untimely death.
The general guidance for compensation (see above) when the Court decided 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 causes severe pain and impairment of function and quality of life. This may be of the pleura (the lung lining) or the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the latter is typically more painful. There are a large number of factors that will affect the level of the award within the bracket. These include but are not limited to the duration of pain and suffering, the extent and effects of invasive investigations, the 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.”
Compensation after death awarded was £80,000 (for the injury, pain and suffering only). The total award after death for the claim was £642,972.51, mainly for the deceased’s family 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 were valued at £75,500 for the suffering he went through before death. He suffered slightly longer in duration than Kauer above (seven months from first symptoms, six months from diagnosis), but he was a lot older, 70, when he died.
The mesothelioma compensation payout 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 the 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 weaker than the bond between child and parent.
International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance plc UK Branch £250,000
In a case involving death due to exposure causing mesothelioma, the employee inhaled fibres 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 suffering from mesothelioma, and he died within about a year of diagnosis.
Before he died, his solicitor took legal action for compensation for his condition. He claimed his illness was caused by its negligence and breach of statutory duty in exposing him to dust and fibres.
The claim was settled for £250,000 plus solicitor legal costs.
Cancer Research UK on Mesothelioma have provided some information on the minerals likely to cause this condition:
This mineral is similar to asbestos and can also cause mesothelioma. Evidence comes almost exclusively from one region in Turkey, where erionite is used as a building material, and mesothelioma rates are incredibly high. Because erionite occurs elsewhere in the world (e.g. parts of the US) without similarly high mesothelioma rates, it has been argued that the situation in Turkey indicates genetic susceptibility to erionite-associated mesothelioma in this population, however evidence for this is weak.
Mineral Wool and Silica
Occupational exposure to asbestos and other fibres or particles could modify the carcinogenicity concerning pleural mesothelioma (NCBI)
The most common types of fibres are:
Have you recently lost a family member due to mesothelioma caused by exposure? We know how difficult life may be for you right now. You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence or feel hopeless. You may be able to pursue a claim on behalf of your deceased relative. Mesothelioma compensation for family members can bring justice to the deceased and help the family cope with any financial burden placed on them.
As most exposure occurs in workplaces, the first step to claiming a loved one is to piece together their employment history. Solicitors will work closely with the family members to track the relative’s previous employers and pinpoint where the exposure occurred. A compensation claim still be pursued even if the employer is no longer operating. Evidence will be collected, including witness statements, to determine how the exposure occurred and whether anyone else has also suffered.
To make a UK mesothelioma compensation claim on behalf of a family member, please get in touch with us today.
The previous section talks about making a mesothelioma claim on behalf of a loved one, but what about if you were a dependent of the deceased? Being dependent means that you were reliant on the deceased before their death. Before the person died, you may have depended on them financially or for support services like childcare. Examples of a dependent can include a partner, child, parent or sibling, to name just a few.
Whether you can make a mesothelioma claim as a dependent depends on several factors relating to how the death occurred. If someone dies because of exposure at work, their loved ones may suffer due to financial loss or other loss of dependency. Discussing your options with a solicitor is essential if you have suffered from dependency loss. Dependency claims will typically help loved ones receive compensation that helps them recover lost services and financial loss.
Please view our dedicated dependency claims page to learn more about making a mesothelioma claim as a dependent.
We have several more articles on mesothelioma to help you and your family to consider choosing the right solicitor to help you through this difficult time. You must not delay, however, as this could be a bar to making a claim and being in no doubt that despite the hardship and pain you and your family are enduring. The employer’s insurers and legal advisers will take the matter to court to decide if there was a delay in taking court action.