1 March 2021 | Case Study | Article by Lauren Bull
Hugh James were instructed by Mrs T, a 65 year old lady who had worked for the NHS as a nurse for 43 years. Mrs T was negligently exposed to asbestos whilst working at H.M Stanley hospital and Glan Clwyd hospital. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2019. Liability was admitted early on in her claim and only the issue of quantum remained.
Given the age of Mrs T and her significant likely loss of life expectancy, this was a high value claim. Hugh James endeavoured to claim services within the lost years which, in this case, were significant but not technically recoverable during the claimant’s lifetime under the current law.
Due to the value of the claim, a settlement agreement could not be reached outside court. Court proceedings were commenced and, following Case Management Conference, the Master ordered future treatment costs and services in the lost years to be dealt with on a posthumous basis. This was a positive step for Mrs T and will allow her executor to recover further compensation for a head of loss which is usually only recoverable in a fatal claim.
Hugh James made an offer of settlement in the sum of £350,000 gross, with the costs of private treatment and services in the lost years to be dealt with in addition posthumously. This was later accepted by the defendant.
Mrs T commenced private paying immunotherapy during the claim before progressing to immunotherapy which became available on an NHS trial. The associated private costs will be recovered on a posthumous basis.
Lauren Bull, Solicitor in the Specialist Asbestos team at Hugh James, said:
This lovely lady sadly developed mesothelioma after working as a committed NHS nurse for the whole of her working life. As a point of law, you area not allowed to recover services in the lost years for a claim which settles in life. However, this head of loss was very valuable for this lady. I am so pleased that we were able to get the Specialist Asbestos Master to agree that this head of loss could be assessed on a posthumous basis instead, which means that her husband will be able to secure further compensation in due course.