Personal injury bulletin: costs and procedure
Collins v (1) Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills (2) Stena Lane Irish Sea Ferries Ltd (2014) EWCA Civ 717
The claimant had been a dock worker from 1947 to 1967 unloading asbestos. In 2002, he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Radiotherapy however, was successful. The claimant was examined numerous times by his doctors between 2002 and 2008. He did not instruct solicitors until 2009 and proceedings were not issued until 2012. The judge found the claimant had actual knowledge of the possible link in 2009 but that he had constructive knowledge under section 14(3) in mid-2003. It had been reasonable for the claimant to make enquiries as to the cause of his cancer by mid-2003 and it was inconceivable that, if asked, the claimant would not have mentioned his asbestos exposure. It was found, therefore, that limitation expired in mid-2006. The judge found that it was not equitable to dis-apply this when applying the criteria in section 33 and took into account the prejudice to the defendant.
The claimant appealed. It was held that by applying the objective test under section 14(3), the judge was right that the reasonable person would have asked about the cause of his cancer by mid-2003. The claimant’s medical records showed that in 2002 he was asked about his lifestyle and former employment. Those questions were asked for a purpose and any reasonable person would have been prompted to inquire what light that shed on the possible causes of his cancer. The judge was right to find the claimant had constructive knowledge in mid-2003 and the district judge’s decision not to exercise his discretion under section 33 was upheld. In the judgment, Jackson LJ said that there was a balance between the needs of the claimants who, ‘having suffered latent injuries, seek compensation late in the day’ and tortfeasors who, ‘despite their wrongdoings, ultimately need closure’…
Click on the link below to read the rest of the Eversheds briefing.
Sign in or Register to continue reading this article
It's quick, easy and free!
It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.Register now
Why register to The Lawyer
In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.
Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.
Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.
More relevant to you
To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.
News from Eversheds
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Eversheds
The forthcoming Consumer Rights Bill will introduce changes to consumer laws, including those dealing with the provision of goods, services and digital content.
The Ombudsman is currently investigating one complaint from a member whose transfer was executed but, in the member’s subsequent view, should have been blocked.
Analysis from The Lawyer
Eversheds is no stranger to an international tie-up but now it’s in the market for the jewel in its global crown
Which firms are cutting it in this era of slimline rosters, and who are the GC new brooms making clean sweeps? The Lawyer can reveal all