Court ruling gives hope to elderly mesothelioma sufferers

1st March 2012

Neille Ryan

A High Court decision to award £50,000 to a 92-year-old former miner should pave the way for higher damages for other elderly asbestos-related cancer victims, says a Kent lawyer.

Neille Ryan, a specialist in industrial disease compensation claims who has acted for thousands of former Kent miners, said the ruling gave hope to other mesothelioma sufferers in their 80s and 90s that they could be entitled to more substantial compensation.

The recommended payout in the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines is only £35,000 – but in what has been described as a landmark judgment, Mrs Justice Swift decided that Dennis Ball deserved more to compensate for the suffering he had endured after developing mesothelioma.

Neille, a partner with leading south east law firm Furley Page, says: “The disease has a devastating effect on the victim’s life and it’s right that the award should reflect the pain and distress it has caused, irrespective of his age.”

The now defunct British Coal had argued that because Nottinghamshire miner Mr Ball was 92 and had a short life expectancy, his damages should be reduced. But Mrs Justice Swift rejected this and ruled that victims should be appropriately compensated regardless of how long they were expected to live following diagnosis.

“Mesothelioma claims are often settled before a trial,” adds Neille, “and this decision should help older victims to swiftly negotiate higher settlements.”

Neille worked on behalf of the very first successful chronic bronchitis and emphysema claimant against British Coal, Jackie Tanner from Aylesham, Kent, in 1991, forging strong links with mining unions and communities across the county. He has acted for thousands of former miners or their families pursuing claims, as well as investigating claims that have been under-settled by other firms.

For further information about making a claim for mesothelioma or other industrial diseases, please contact Neille Ryan on 01227 763939.

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