Mr W instructed Hugh James in August 2019 following his late wife’s death from peritoneal mesothelioma, a terminal cancer affecting the lining of the abdomen. Although the illness remains very rare, it is associated with harrowing symptoms, and asbestos exposure is the only known cause of the condition.
Mrs W had been exposed to asbestos dust whilst working for the housing department of Southwark Council in a clerical role. Asbestos was present within many of the Council buildings, and workmen were exposed to dust released from asbestos containing materials when carrying out routine repair and maintenance tasks within these buildings. As these men were not advised to take precautions when handling asbestos materials, they unwittingly transferred asbestos dust into Mrs W’s breathing space when updating her upon completion of their tasks. Medical evidence confirmed that such exposure was sufficient to have increased the risk that Mrs W would develop mesothelioma.
Despite this, the Council did not accept responsibility for Mrs W’s illness and so court proceedings were initiated in June 2020. Shortly before the initial hearing, in November 2020, the Council finally admitted that Mrs W’s working conditions had caused her to develop mesothelioma.
Evidence was accordingly obtained in order to value the case. Extensive documentation was required in this respect as Mr and Mrs W are relatively young, and Mrs W was still working at the time of her diagnosis. Following exchange of valuations between the parties, and shortly before the final hearing in this matter, which was listed for May 2021, settlement negotiations were entered into. Through these, we were able to agree a settlement of £200,000 for Mr W, which should help to secure his financial position into the future.