£32,690 for 50% loss of lung function

Compensation for an asbestos related claim of £32,690 was awarded in 1999 to a 61 year old man suffering from a 50% loss of lung function.

Injury details:

The Claimant worked in a shipyard for a period of 6 years from 1953 to 1958 Merseyside. During the course of his employment the Claimant was exposed to asbestos. It wasn't until 1995 that the Claimant's symptoms started to show. By that time the Claimant was 57 years of age. Following admission to hospital suffering from pneumonia the Claimant was diagnosed with pleural plaques and asbestosis. Symptoms continued following the Claimant's recovery from pneumonia.

Allegation:

It was alleged that the defendant was negligent insofar as they failed to provide a safe working environment for the claimant resulting in asbestosis.

The claimant alleged that his respiratory function had been decreased by 50% and that there was a risk that the asbestosis could progress and he may develop lung cancer in the future as a result of the defendant's negligence.

A medical expert was instructed to examine the Claimant to assess the level of disability arising out of the asbestos conditions.

The medical expert concluded that there was hyperventilation some of which was caused as a result of the Claimant's anxiety around his condition and the fact that there was a greater chance that he would develop cancer later in life.

It was accepted that the Claimant's condition would deteriorate in the future but the experts were unable to say how quickly that might happen. Estimates around the impact on the Claimant's life expectancy ranged from 1 to 2 years on a best case scenario and 5 years at worst.

Like many of the asbestosis claims this matter came to Court many years after the alleged negligence. The matter was adjudicated by the Oldham County Court who made an award of £28,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenities. A further £4,690 was paid by way of compensation for past and future losses. The total value of the claim in today's terms was £52,873.53.