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In M v. Charringtons Fuel Oils Limited, instructed by Irwin Mitchell, Stephen acted for the family in respect of a fatal mesothelioma claim where the widow of the deceased had to go into residential care because of aggressive dementia. Her husband would not have been able to look after her even if he had not developed mesothelioma. However, following his death and the widow’s inheritance of the matrimonial home she was assessed by the local authority as having a liability pay all her care home fees.
The family home had to be sold and the equity used by the family to pay for the care. Had the deceased not developed mesothelioma she would have had no assets or income sufficient to trigger a liability to pay as a jointly owned home is disregarded. The defendant disputed the claim but settled shortly before trial. The family recovered nearly £100,000 in care home fees. This is a novel area of dependency law but is an increasingly common issue in fatal claims involving the elderly.