Widow of youngest mesothelioma sufferer wins legal battle

Inhaling asbestos claim


The widow of the youngest mesothelioma sufferer, a 32-year-old man who died after inhaling asbestos on his stepfathers work clothing as a child has succeeded in her legal battle for compensation.

Claire Welch from Braunstone in Leicester continued the legal action originally launched by her husband Barry after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2004. Mr Welch died on 27th April 2005, after an 11-month battle against the illness.

Irwin Mitchell settle inhaling asbestos claim

Leading asbestos solicitors Irwin Mitchell, acting on behalf of the family, launched the civil action against Eastleigh-based Palmers Limited, former employers of Barry Welchs stepfather, Roger Bugby. The defendants insurers, Zurich, conceded negligence and judgement against them has now been entered by Master Whitaker in the High Court in London. The level of damages will be decided at a separate hearing in early 2007.

Barry Welch is believed to be the youngest person to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. He contracted the illness after being exposed to asbestos dust and fibres brought home on work overalls by his stepfather Roger. Mr Bugby, who worked as a scaffolder at Kingsnorth Power Station, Kent between 1977 and 1979, would return from work covered in asbestos dust on his overalls, his skin and in his hair. Before changing out of his overalls he would relax and young Barry would often sit on his lap. This exposure to asbestos dust as a child led to Barry contracting mesothelioma in later life.

Leading asbestos solicitors

Adrian Budgen, one of the leading asbestos solicitors and partner with national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said: Claire was determined to carry on the legal fight which Barry himself launched when he discovered that he had contracted the fatal disease. He was only too aware that mesothelioma is an aggressive illness for which there is sadly no cure at present and one can only imagine how devastating this diagnosis was, given that he was just 32 years old, with a young family. This judgement is a testament to both Claire and Barrys determination to fight for justice.

This was a particularly unusual case and possibly even the first of its kind. Although a number of previous mesothelioma cases have involved the wives of workers who have been exposed to asbestos whilst laundering their husbands asbestos contaminated work clothes, it is extremely rare to come across a case like Barrys where a child was exposed through asbestos dust carried home on a parents clothing.

As a result of a public appeal a number of important witnesses came forward and their evidence was key in helping us to prove that Barrys exposure and illness were a result of negligence by Palmers Ltd.

Barrys widow, Claire Welch, commented: I am so relieved that the legal fight is now over. No amount of compensation can make up for the loss of Barry.

I still miss him terribly as do our daughters, Natasha (13) Samantha (11) and Letitia (8) who have lost a much loved father. However, Barry would have been pleased that we successfully fought for justice on his behalf and the judgement means that we can now try to move forward with our lives.

Can we help you? If you or someone you know has been effected by a similar incident, our solicitors can help. Visit our asbestos related diseases section for more information.