£60k awarded when man exposed to industrial air pollution

The widow of a 34 year old engineer worked on a tanker received on behalf of her late husband £60,000 in an industrial pollution air pollution case.

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Case details

Specifically the engineer suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury due to suffocation.

The deceased worked as a second engineer on-board a liquefied gas tanker. As a result of inhaling liquefied gas whilst working on a tanker he suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury due to suffocation and was left in a vegetative state.

He died two years and four months later from his injuries which was so severe that he was never aware of them and suffered no pain whilst in his vegetative state.

The Court (London Queen's Bench Division) awarded a payment to his estate of £60,000.00 for pain and suffering and loss of amenity and taking into account the increase in the retail price index it was now worth £85,681.

This is a most unusual decision because where a person dies as a result of an accident there are two claims that can be made on his behalf.

One claim is for the pain and suffering that he endured between the accident and his death whilst the second is a claim that is brought on behalf of anyone who is dependent upon the deceased such as his or her spouse and/or children.

In this particular case as he was never aware of the injury and suffered no pain the Court had to in some way find a figure to compensate the deceased for the fact that for 2 year and 4 months he was in a vegetative state, although he suffered no actual pain.

Having died as a result of his injuries the claim was brought by his widow who first had to be appointed an administrator of the Deceased's Estate because he had not made a Will.

Technically speaking although the widow brought the claim she brought it on behalf of her late husband thus the compensation would have been part of his estate which is then distributed between his family under certain Rules that apply to a person who dies without making a Will.

If the Deceased had made a Will then whoever had been appointed an Executor under the Will would have brought the claim and then distributed any compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Will itself.

Read more: industrial disease compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher