Following a recent asbestos case in High Court*, Claimants are now able to claim for the costs of caring for a loved one in a hospice from the former employers who are responsible for the asbestos injury.
This case was brought by the daughters of James Wilson, who died at the age of 75 from mesothelioma (an asbestos related lung cancer). He had been exposed to asbestos whilst working for Foster Wheeler in the early 1950s, at Dartford Power Station as a Boiler Erector.
Mr Wilson was exposed for only around 18 months to asbestos dust created by the work of nearby laggers. He also had to cut sheets of asbestos to make asbestos covering for new boilers. After leaving this job he worked for 26 years as a Postman.
Finding in favour of Mr Wilson’s daughters by concluding the recovery of hospice fees was consistent with already established principles of law, HH Judge Anthony Thornton QC commented:
‘ … it is only relatively recently been possible to recover damages on behalf of a deceased whose lingering and painful death has been caused many years previously by unwarranted exposure to asbestos dust or similarly noxious substances.’
The average cost of caring for a terminally ill person in a hospice is around £600 per day. Hospices receive some funding from their Primary Care Trusts, but it is insufficient to meet full running costs. Around 60% of funds are generated by campaigning by volunteers, and generous donations or legacies left by the patients, or their friends and families.
This landmark case comes as great news and will hopefully be huge boost to the finances of hospices all over the country, and Claimants cared for in hospices are delighted to know that they can give something back after all the care and support they receive.
If you are a hospice employee or considering making an asbestos claim and would like further information, contact our helpline on 0151 236 8840.
*Drake and Starkey v Foster Wheeler  EWHC 2004 (QB)