Update on pleural plaques cases

For those involved in asbestos cases please note that the defendants appeal to the Court of Appeal will be heard between 14-17 November 2005. A report on the decision will follow.

No reduction for sick pay and wages

in acceleration case


The purpose of damages is to put the claimant in the same position as he or she would have been had the injury not occurred. Where medical evidence limits a case to a two-year acceleration and we claim two years of loss of earnings, the defendants will argue that we should give credit for sick pay and wages during that period to reduce the claim. This of course is not logical, as the following case illustrates.

The claimant suffered a back injury after slipping on oil. The medical evidence was that, had the accident not occurred, he would probably have had disabling pain within two years. Following the accident, the claimant had a period of absence and sporadic return to work until he resigned about 18 months after the accident unable to continue due to his back condition. During that period he was entitled to sick pay and earnings and received about £13,000.

He claimed loss of earnings for two years, which came to about £35,000. His argument was that he would have worked for about a full two years and then, at that point, would have had the same working pattern as he did post accident i.e absence and sporadic return to work followed by resignation. He should therefore be entitled to a full two-year period in respect of loss of earnings and should not have to give credit for the wages and sick pay received during that period.

The judge held that it was a matter of common sense and logic that the claimant would have continued to work in the same manner at the end of the two-year period. It was not logical to say that the claimant would have woken up at the end of the two-year period and then immediately ceased working. Taking a broad brush approach it was not unreasonable for the claimant to say that he would have been in the same position two years on from the date of the accident. The medical evidence was not disputed. He was therefore entitled to claim the full two-year loss of income.

Evans -v- Weldex International Offshore Limited. Swansea County Court 16 September 2005.