Glasgow & West Scotland

Widow Elizabeth Wolff compensated over asbestos death

Asbestos leaflet
Image caption Mr Wolff's former employer admitted he was exposed to asbestos dust

A woman whose husband died from an asbestos-related cancer has been awarded £258,520 in compensation.

Elizabeth Wolff, 69, from Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, raised the action for damages after her husband William, 66, died from mesothelioma in March 2007.

His former employer, Weir Construction Ltd, accepted that the condition was caused by negligent exposure to asbestos during his work with them.

Judge Lord Doherty set the compensation at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The court heard how the couple planned to spend time together exploring Scotland and taking a trip to Australia.

Damages action

About a year after he retired, Mr Wolff was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was told he had less than a year to live. He died seven months later.

The court was told that Mrs Wolff had retired from her job as a social worker at a hospital to care for her terminally ill husband.

Following his death, she and other family members raised an action for damages against his former employer.

Weir Construction Ltd accepted liability but it was left to Lord Doherty to assess the level of compensation that should be paid to Mrs Wolff and family members.

The judge described Mr and Mrs Wolff, who married in 1962, as "a devoted couple", who had three daughters, a son and three grandchildren.

Recognising the level of care Mrs Wolff gave her husband in the final months of his life, Lord Doherty said: "It is very clear to me that she did her utmost throughout the deceased's illness to meet all his needs; and that as the illness progressed this became increasingly demanding.

"Other family members did what they could to assist her but she bore the brunt of it."

Following expert medical evidence Lord Doherty said he proceeded on the basis that, but for the condition, Mr Wolff could have expected to live for another 17 years.

Mrs Wolff sued both as an individual and as executor following the death of her husband. The judge granted her a total award of £258,520, including £65,000 for the suffering of Mr Wolff - who had experienced "exceptional pain".

The judge also awarded damages to the couple's three daughters totalling £52,317. The couple's granddaughter was awarded £7,084.

Claims made by other family members have already been settled.

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