80-90 year olds suffering from Mesothelioma have a new hope they may be able to claim substantial compensation following the case of Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The case concerned a 92 year old suffering from mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos during his employment with British Coal. He was awarded £50,000 for pain suffering and loss of amenity. Mrs Justice Swift said ‘None of the cases to which I have been referred involve a claimant in his 80s, let alone his 90s.’ ‘The issue is what effect this should have on the award of damages’
The Judicial Studies Board gives the starting point of damages for pain and suffering at £35,000, for those victims who suffer for a very short period of time. The Defendants in the case had argued that Mr Ball should only be entitled to £20,000 due to his age, that he should not have compensation at the same level as a younger person who could have expected to live longer.
Mrs Justice Swift stated in her judgement ‘It is important to remember, however, that a person of any age who is informed that his or her life will be cut short by the effect of a harmful substance to which he or she has been wrongfully exposed is likely to suffer a good deal of distress…’