WE Solicitors have recently been contacted by two former clients who had brought successful claims against their former employers for asbestosis illness some years ago. Both cases had been settled on what lawyers call a “provisional Settlement” basis. This is very different to most cases which are settled on a full and final basis.
You may ask what the difference is – surely a settlement is a settlement?
A full and final settlement, once agreed and concluded, does not allow the claimant to reopen a claim. If there is a deterioration in health or a claimant develops another asbestos related illness he/she will be unable to reopen the claim.
A provisional settlement however is entirely different. This allows the case to be partially concluded and the claimant to be awarded with some compensation but leaves the opportunity for a case to be re-opened in years to come should there be a significant deterioration in the medical condition or the claimant develops another asbestos related illness.
To put this into some form of context, we represented a client who had been employed by a number of companies in the steel making industry. He had been diagnosed with pleural thickening caused through asbestos and the case had been concluded on a provisional basis in 2012 for a five figure sum. Over the years, our client’s condition had deteriorated and this had left him significantly more disabled by 2018. Our client contacted us at that time and the case was reopened. The claimant was then awarded a further amount significant of compensation.
In another recent case a client who had asbestosis was awarded compensation having been exposed to asbestos whilst working in the heating industry as a pipe fitter. The case had been settled on a provisional basis and, at the time of settlement, he was still working and had relatively modest breathing relating symptoms. By 2019 he was reliant upon oxygen to breathe and was unable to leave his home without a mobile oxygen tank. Thankfully the client can reopen the matter and can now be compensated again for the substantial injuries he has sustained.
It is crucial that if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness you seek specialist advice. Provisional settlement are not appropriate in every situation or for every type of asbestos related illness but specialist solicitors are able to ensure these avenues are let open when appropriate.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related illness please call us today on 0800 294 3065 to discuss how we can assist you.