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‘Landmark Agreement’ To Provide For Cancer Treatment In Mesothelioma Legal Case

Agreement is The First Time A Mesothelioma Sufferer’s Treatment Will Be Covered By A Periodical Payments Order

24.10.2017

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

Specialist industrial disease lawyers acting for a Leeds man, who suffers from mesothelioma due to being exposed to asbestos during his employment decades ago, have secured a landmark agreement with the defendant insurers to cover the future costs of his cancer treatment.

The claimant, who is to remain anonymous for legal reasons, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. It takes decades before symptoms begin to show but once they do the disease is very aggressive causing much distress to those affected and their family and friends.

The landmark agreement in this case creates a Periodical Payments Order and means that a settlement did not have to wait until the claimant’s treating doctors actually advised that he should receive immunotherapy treatment, thereby avoiding the need to estimate treatment costs ahead of time in an area of breath-taking change both in terms of the drugs available and their cost.

It will ensure he will have enough funds to cover the cost of any such treatment in future, no matter what that treatment is and no matter how long it lasts for. This is the first of its kind for mesothelioma cases.

Ian Toft, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell and the asbestos-related disease specialist representing the man, said:

Expert Opinion
“This is a landmark agreement which provides security for a man who needs it due to his devastating mesothelioma diagnosis.

“Sadly this is one of numerous cases where an employee has been failed by their employer by not being provided with the necessary safety equipment to protect them from the harmful asbestos dust and fibres that were present during parts of their working life many years ago.

“The Order helps eradicate some of the uncertainty that comes with settling this type of claim. Treatments are constantly developing and with this, so are the costs. Unfortunately none of the treatment available to this Claimant can be obtained on the NHS, free of charge.

“This Order has now put the structure in place to ensure that whenever the treatment is needed, it is covered. It gives our client some much needed peace of mind at such a difficult time of his life.”
Ian Toft, Partner

The key features of the landmark agreement are:

  • It was recognised that there was a realistic risk that at some time in the future the Claimant ’s condition would advance to the point where immunotherapy (or biological therapy) was deemed suitable for him
  • That the Order would not trigger until such time as his treating oncologist recommended its provision
  • Once the Order is triggered, the insurer would commence quarterly payments at a rate assuming the most expensive of the immunotherapy drugs available. However once treatment had begun, the actual price would be worked out and parties would work together to ensure either shortfall was covered, or excess was returned
  • If different drugs were recommended then the payments would change to match the new therapy cost

The claimant is believed to have been exposed to asbestos while working with asbestos insulation board sheets when employed by John Atkinson & Sons Limited. These would need to be cut, by hand, to size which created dust that would linger and leave him exposed.

Jeremy Roussak, at Kings Chambers in Manchester, who was instructed by Irwin Mitchell as their Junior Counsel (together with Michael Rawlinson QC), added: “It is pleasing to see that the insurers involved in this case have taken the pragmatic step of agreeing a form of Periodical Payments Order.

“If this agreement is used regularly it will help both sides involved in asbestos litigation. Victims will be given the assurance that should they need immunotherapy or biological therapy in the future then the funds will be made available for it indefinitely.

“Insurers will benefit from it because it will save them from making any payments at the time of settlement towards the anticipated costs of immunotherapy which may never in fact occur if the victim is not considered suitable for it. It will also speed up claims by removing any need to wait to see whether immunotherapy (or biological therapy) is to be provided and if so, in what form.

“Overall we think this is good news for both victims and for those who meet their claims.”

If someone close to you has been affected by an asbestos related disease, our Personal Injury solicitors will provide you with free initial advice on your claim. Visit our Mesothelioma Claims page for more information.