Monica Haxton’s husband died from mesothelioma in 2009 after several years working near asbestos in his job as an electrician.
Two years later, Mrs Haxton started to suffer from acute breathlessness just as her husband had done. She too was diagnosed with mesothelioma. It became apparent that she had been exposed to asbestos by hand washing her husband’s dusty overalls for many years.
Her life expectancy was ‘drastically curtailed’ by her illness. A doctor estimated that she had six to twelve months left to live.
Her husband’s employers tried to reduce the compensation by arguing that she wouldn’t need such a large sum because her life expectancy had been reduced.
The High Court agreed to the reduction of compensation on the basis that after her death she wouldn’t need money for ‘loss of dependency’ on her husband.
However, three appeal judges overturned the decision. They said there was “no reason of policy or principle” to say that Mrs Haxton should be denied the compensation.
She was awarded a total of £705,000. This included £195,000 to compensate for her husband’s death, £310,000 for her own illness and £200,000 for ‘loss of dependency’ following her husband’s death.
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