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Family of Businessman Killed by Asbestos Awarded £2.6 Million Damages

Setbacks in litigation are far from rare but that does not deter personal injury lawyers from battling on to achieve a positive outcome for their clients. Persistence paid off in one case in which the family of a successful businessman who died as a result of asbestos exposure received over £2.6 million in compensation.

The man was just starting out on his working life when he was exposed to asbestos between 1974 and 1979. Through a combination of talent and immense hard work he established a highly profitable family business in later years. The past came back to haunt him in his 50s, however, when he developed mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer which is almost invariably caused by asbestos.

After he launched proceedings, his employer at the time of his exposure admitted liability to compensate him for the consequences of his illness. Following a trial, however, he was awarded just £176,281. The judge accepted the employer's argument that he had suffered no net financial loss during the period of time by which mesothelioma had shortened his life.

That was on the basis that the business would continue to thrive under the direction of his sons and that dividends would continue to be paid to his estate following his death. Although he would have been entitled to draw his relatively modest salary during the lost years, there was no net loss when account was taken of living expenses that would be saved as a result of his death.

Following his demise, however, his widow pursued the case and successfully challenged the judge's ruling on the lost years issue before the Court of Appeal. After a further hearing, the High Court upheld the lost years claim and awarded a total of £2,621,786 in damages and interest.

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