Compensation for the Elderly in Mesothelioma Cases

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The claimant in this case was 92 years old and at the time of trial had been suffering from mesothelioma for 12 months and had a projected life expectancy of another two months from trial.
Compensation for physical injuries is valued by reference to Judicial Studies Board Guidelines. The most recent edition is the tenth edition.

The defendant argued that because of the claimant's age and the fact that he was largely housebound prior to the diagnosis he would recover towards the lower end of the bracket at between £35,000.00 to £40,000.00.
Solicitors for Mr Ball argued that he should be awarded damages of £60,000.00 to £65,000.00 with only his age being a consideration.
The Court said that simply looking at the duration of symptoms when assessing damages for compensation in mesothelioma cases was not sufficient. The Court went on to set out a non exhaustive list of the factors to take into account which included the following:
-    Whether the mesothelioma is peritoneal or pleural;
-    What treatment the Claimant has had to undergo, eg. radical surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy;
-    Level rather than duration of symptoms;
-    The extent to which the pain associated with the diagnosis can be managed;
-    Domestic circumstances of the claimant prior to the diagnosis;
-    State of health prior to diagnosis; and
-    Age/ life expectancy of the Claimant.

Mr Ball was ultimately awarded £50,000.00 for his physical injury and his financial losses totalling £23,555.16 were paid in addition to this.
Before the diagnosis Mr Ball was able to live in his own flat with some assistance with shopping and 'meals on wheels'. The diagnosis meant that he was forced to leave his home and go into a nursing home to receive the care he required. He lost his independence in this respect which the court felt was an important factor when considering general damages. This may have wider application when considering other general personal injury cases when an elderly claimant as a result of injuries caused by the negligence of the defendant forces them out of their home and into nursing care that would not have happened but for the accident.
Ruth Johnson
Solicitor - Personal Injury team

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