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Case Study

Six-figure settlement for family of mesothelioma patient suffering psychosis

Dushal Mehta was instructed by Leanne*, the executrix of her father's Estate. Peter* suffered peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of his asbestos exposure in 1965 working for Cape Distribution Ltd. Damages of £150,000 were achieved for the Estate.

Peter worked in the premix department at Cape and in the fibre and board cutting departments. Working in the premix department involved loading large bags of asbestos and cement onto pallets, which often opened and released asbestos dust and fibres into the air, which Peter inhaled. He was also required to cut asbestos boards which released asbestos dust and fibres into the air.

Ultimately, the environment Peter worked in meant he was regularly exposed to large quantities of asbestos dust and fibres, which he frequently found embedded in his clothes. He did not receive any protective clothing nor any pre-warning of the dangers of asbestos. Peter described the asbestos in his work environment as 'you could see it floating around in the factory atmosphere. It just became part of our day to day life.'

The Defendant contested the deceased's mesothelioma claim, asking for proof of the injury that Peter suffered and the damage caused. Dushal pursued the evidence needed to settle the claim quickly due to Peter's rapid deterioration over 6-7 months, impacting his physical and mental health.

As a result of the mesothelioma spreading to his brain, Peter suffered psychosis which transpired into a delusional schizophrenia-like disorder, described by experts as 'it is hard to believe that there could be a more serious case in terms of symptoms of mesothelioma than the present case.'

This was a particularly rare and unusual case due to Peter's mental deterioration which meant he needed constant care from his family, which was very difficult and distressing for them.

Expert medical evidence showed that the asbestos was a material contributor to Peter's death and likely shortened his life by nearly 10 years. Sadly, Peter died during the early stages of the claim.

The case was made more complicated because Peter's partner had to be considered part of the settlement since she was entitled to a bereavement award. She lacked capacity due to Alzheimer's and Peter had been her main carer until his own illness progressed. Dushal ensured that she had a deputyship order through the London Borough of Hillingdon and that she was awarded an appropriate sum in damages for the loss of care and support Peter would have provided.

Following settlement, the family said:

'Thank you for your help over this time we are grateful to you for all you have done to support us through this.'

* names changed

Contact us

For further information about mesothelioma claims, please call Dushal Mehta on 03304606751 or email dushal.mehta@fieldfisher.com.

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