Our specialist Asbestos Related Illness team has successfully secured £90,000 in compensation for our client, Mr A, a widower from Merseyside who was suffering from asbestosis.
Exposure to Asbestos
Mr A was exposed to asbestos when he worked for a company that made equipment for the newspaper printing industry. Mr A came into contact with asbestos through removing insulation from pipework and boilers and insulating pipework with asbestos. He also worked next to laggers and had no idea at the time that he was putting his health at risk. He said: "There was no such thing as Health and Safety in those days, we had nothing like that and now we are paying for it."
Diagnosis of Asbestosis
Mr A was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2011, some 22 years after he left the job. His most troublesome symptom is the breathlessness for which he uses an oxygen mask at home. He finds that he gets very tired because of the breathlessness and is much less active that he used to be.
Battle For Justice
Irwin Mitchell started a court action against Mr A’s past employer in early 2012 and judgment was entered at a court hearing in December 2012 in Mr A’s favour. The final hearing was fixed for May 2013 but Mr A’s solicitor in our asbestos-related-illness team was able to negotiate a settlement before the hearing. Days before the final hearing when his case settled, Mr A said he was relieved that he did not have to go to court, despite being prepared to do so in order to get justice.
His claim settled for £90,000 in compensation. He was also granted a court order, which allows him to return to court for additional compensation, without having to prove negligence again, if he develops a more serious asbestos disease such as mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer.
Mr A will be able to use his settlement to improve his quality of life and to pay for any extra help he needs at home.
Geraldine Coombs, an expert in asbestos related illnesses and Partner at Irwin Mitchell commented:
"Mr A was heavily exposed to asbestos during his working life. The consequences of this for his health have been terrible and there is no cure for asbestosis. Many, many people in Merseyside have been affected by asbestosis and it’s so important they are supported financially.
"Coping with the illness itself is hard enough, without worrying about being able to afford some extra help at home, such as a gardener to mow the lawn or a cleaner to do the housework or, in some cases, provide professional care.
"Another feature of Mr A’s case was that his employer did not honour the settlement agreement straight away. They sent part of the settlement funds but not all. When the agreed time limit for payment had passed and one excuse followed another, we moved quickly to send them formal notice that we would petition the Companies Court to ask them to wind their company up if they did not pay what they owed.
"Mr A felt very let down by his employer. Their behaviour shows how important it is for sufferers of asbestos related diseases to have easy and immediate access to the courts, as well as good legal representation. People like Mr A can’t always rely on their past employer to do the right thing."
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