An asbestos cancer claim (mesothelioma) has been won by Corries specialist claims team. The case, for a man who had pleural plaques for over 13 years has been hard fought but won this week.

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The Background

Our client Mr N was diagnosed with asbestos pleural plaques in 2005. He came to Corries in 2006 and we investigated a claim for him.  We did some research and drafted a long statement about his work. Unfortunately the law changed. Compensation for asbestos pleural plaques was stopped by a court judgment in the House of Lords. Therefore we could do no more for him then.

asbestos cancer school

Asbestos cancer was caused by making equipment for schools.

The Case Facts

The story did not end there.

We revisited his case in 2010 and secured a one off £5,000 payment under the temporary Ministry of Justice scheme.  We kept Mr N’s file in our review system

What happened next?

In Autumn 2016 it became clear that Mr N was not well.  He and his family were seeking medical advice to see what was wrong. They contacted us and we got our papers out of storage and waited for news.

In April 2017 Mr N was given a diagnosis of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma.

Mr N was born in 1940.  From leaving school in 1956 to 1964 he worked for a local company in Enfield making school equipment.  This included making fume cupboards which were made of asbestos.

During the course of his work he was regularly exposed to asbestos.  It was this exposure that caused him to develop mesothelioma.

Having done the ground work we were able to quickly resurrect his file.  We checked his employers details to see if any of the claim could be made. His medical records were quickly gathered and one of our panel of medical experts was instructed.

By August 2017 we were able to put an extensive bundle of evidence to the defendant. We hoped to settle the case whilst Mr N could enjoy it.

Sadly at that time the defendants would not meet the claim.  They argued that his exposure to asbestos was not enough. Events took over and Mr N died in October 2017 at the age of 76.

Was that the end of the claim?

No it wasn’t.  Corries were not prepared to accept the case should fail.

We gathered together more evidence after the death including the post-mortem.  In addition we kept a close eye on legal developments. During this time judgments in early 2018 showed a change in the way courts were treating mesothelioma claims. These can be seen on the link here.  Because of these cases the landscape for mesothelioma cases is better.

We put the case back to the defendants, pointed out the changes in the law and invited them to settle the case.

Within a few weeks we got a letter confirming that they would admit the claim and made a payment as part of the claim.  Within four weeks after that final settlement terms were agreed very close to the full of the value that we had put forward.

Our comment

The Corries team are very pleased with this result.  The key issues that will come out of it are

  1. That having a pleural plaque register where we take people’s details and statements and look into the employers has proved vital in cases such as this
  2. Getting good quality evidence from victims whilst young and able to remember it is absolutely imperative and;
  3. The case shows that some insurers are taking a sensible approach to dealing with this cases.

Howard Bonnett, Corries Director who won the case added

“ I always look to see how others can benefit when we fight and win a claim.   Mr N’s case disappointed me when we could not settle it during his lifetime. However his death gave me and my team fresh impetus. We would not let things lie.

Firstly his case had shown clearly that the pleural plaques system that we operate is such a great help to those that may need it.

Secondly I would like to commend the insurance company who dealt with the case.  Sadly they rejected the case in the first instance and Mr N did not see his settlement in lifetime. However when re put it back to them they took stock of the law admitted the case and have settled the case promptly.

Finally the dangers of school equipment made with asbestos is a scourge and a problem which may affect many others in years to come.

I truly hope that other insurers follow their lead.  I suspect that some may but some may still argue the case but we shall see”

If you have asbestos disease do not leave it to chance. Get an expert in your corner. If you or a family member have been affected by asbestos disease then contact our team FREE on (0800) 083 7839. There is no obligation. If we can help you we will do our best – that’s our promise.