Mr N, Lagger

Posted: 10th Apr 17 12:02 PM

Mr N was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2005. He had been a lagger in the 1950s and he had been exposed to substantial amounts of asbestos dust lagging. Mr N was very significantly disabled with his breathlessness and was on oxygen. He found it difficult to leave the house without assistance.

The difficult issue in the case was one of limitation, or time periods. He had been diagnosed with asbestosis in 2005 and by the time he approached us in late 2010 his claim was out of time. There is a 3 year time period in which to have court proceedings commenced. Nevertheless, the court does have a discretion to allow claims to proceed out of the 3 year time period if it is fair to do so having regard to all the circumstances. Mr N’s breathing had deteriorated very considerably since the time he had first been diagnosed, and our solicitors’ view was that there was no prejudice to the defendants as they had dealt with many claims against them in the past. However, the first barrister who was asked to act for the claimant in the matter was not prepared to act as he considered that the prospects of success were too uncertain. Not to be deterred our solicitors continued to pursue the claim. The defendants resisted the case on the grounds of limitation and court proceedings were commenced.

The trial on limitation was heard in October 2012. The Judge found that there was no prejudice to the defendants and that the balance of justice was in favour of Mr N being allowed to pursue his claim although it was outside the 3 year time period.

After losing the trial on limitation, the defendants then settled the claim shortly thereafter in December 2012.