Mr Smith was born on the 29 December 1930 and died on the 27 November 2003 from malignant mesothelioma caused by negligent exposure to asbestos dust and fibre during the course of his employment with Gough Cooper and Company Limited.
Mr Smith worked for the company for the majority of his life. He started with them in or around 1947 and was initially taken on as a pupil quantity surveyor. He became a surveyor and rose through the ranks to latterly become Director and Managing Director prior to his retirement in 1989.
Mr Smith was exposed to asbestos when inspecting and overseeing building sites and in particular when construction was taking place on the power station at the Isle of Grain in or around the 1950s. Laggers had a permanent presence on the site and Mr Smith was working in their vicinity when undertaking inspections.
Mr Smith first developed pain over his left ribs in July 2003 and by October his lungs had started to fill with fluid, which had to be drained. Following further investigations, he was told that he had developed mesothelioma, probably as a result of his work in the construction industry.
Mr Smith underwent radical surgery in an attempt to remove the tumour which was growing around his lung. Sadly his left lung collapsed and he subsequently died from a cardiac arrest.
An inquest was held on 2 June 2004 and a verdict of industrial disease was recorded. Some months later, Irwin Mitchell were approached by Mr Smith’s widow to investigate a claim.
Although only a low level of asbestos fibres were found within Mr Smith’s lungs, medical evidence confirmed that the type of fibres found were indicative of them being occupational in origin. It was concluded that Mr Smith had had low level but significant occupational exposure to amphibole asbestos and that his malignant mesothelioma was caused by the occupational exposure.
A six-figure compensation settlement was agreed before Court proceedings began.
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