Victory for victims of pleural plaques

The Judgment in this landmark test case was handed down on 15 February 2005. The insurance industry had argued that the men who were suffering from pleural plaques should not be compensated because they had suffered no injury. The Court, however, ruled in favour of the claimants which will mean that thousands of workers who have been exposed to asbestos will be eligible to compensation. It was upheld that the physiological damage caused by permanent penetration of the chest by asbestos fibres, the risk of the future onset of symptomatic disease, and the anxiety engendered by the physiological damage, gave rise to a cause of action.

However, Mr Justice Holland reduced the levels of damages from that which claimants had previously been awarded, and instead awarded between £4000 for a provisional award and £6000-£7000 for a final award where there was a low risk of future disease.

Grieves & others -v- F T Everard & Sons & others. Manchester Crown Court 15 February 2005

Award for cauliflower ear

A thirteen year old claimant had her left ear pierced. Soon after the piercing, the ear became very red and swollen. She went to hospital where the stud was removed and they gave her medication but this did not help. She returned to hospital and suffered a severe infection. She was admitted to hospital for 10 days so that the ear could be drained. She developed a cauliflower ear and a deformity to the left pinna. Expert evidence called on behalf of the claimant concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, the infection and subsequent deformity was caused by the defendant; he accepted that he never wore gloves when carrying out piercing nor had any training to carry out piercing.

The Judge concluded that the defendant was negligent for not carrying out hygienic practices when piercing. He awarded £12,000 general damages and £16,183 special damages.

Page -v- Initial Ideas. His Honour Judge Simpson, Mayors and City of London Court 26th January 2005.

Good award for modest claim

The claimant suffered soft tissue injuries to the chest and neck in a road traffic accident. Liability was denied throughout, and an offer of 50/50 was rejected, as was a later offer of 2/3.  Payments into court totalling £1,410 were rejected.

The evidence was that the chest injury exacerbated an existing chest injury limited for a period of six months, In respect of the neck injury, most of the symptoms had settled within three weeks. The claimant said that the symptoms had not resolved completely and he said that he still suffered nuisance level symptoms occasionally when doing certain tasks. He also claimed that there had been an exacerbation of anxiety/psychiatric symptoms for a period of about three months. He was on medication, but no longer on it at the date of trial. He still had occasional flashbacks.

The claim succeeded in full and an award of £3,200 general damages was made.

Rustell -v- Wells. Southampton County Court 3 February 2005-02-28