Devastated Widow Gains Justice For Lung Cancer Caused By Deadly Dust

Former ICI Oil Worker’s Wife Speaks Of Relief After Receiving Settlement


The widow of a former oil plant worker, who died from lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos during 15 years of work at ICI at the Billingham Oil Plant, has spoken of her relief after securing justice over his illness.

Frederick Simpson, who worked as a fitter at Billingham Oil Works between 1966 and 1981, died aged 85 in May 2009, less than two years after developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

His widow Alma, 79, turned to legal experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office for help in launching a legal bid against ICI over concerns that more should have been done to protect Frederick from inhaling the deadly asbestos fibres at the Billingham oil plant during his career.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist asbestos-related disease team has now helped Alma Simpson, from Darlington secure a five-figure out-of-court settlement because of the health and safety failures which led her husband to be exposed to asbestos.

Despite the association with the exposure to asbestos dust being well known in respect of certain diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell believe that many people do not realise that there is a link between lung cancer and exposure to the deadly dust and may be missing out on funds and government benefits they are entitled to.

Although Frederick was a smoker, which can increase the risk of developing lung cancer, his years of asbestos exposure will have increased that risk many more times.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Alma, said: “It has been a tragic five years for the Simpson family.

“It is sad enough to lose your partner after all these years but to discover that he had a life threatening illness because of exposure to asbestos dust 40 years ago, while simply doing his day-to-day work, have proved nigh-on impossible for the family to come to terms with.

“Unfortunately Alma and her family can’t turn back the clock and nothing will ever make up for them losing Frederick to such terrible circumstances, however we hope the settlement received will go towards providing his family a happier future.

“The more common diseases generally associated with asbestos exposure that our clients have suffered are asbestosis and mesothelioma. However there are many people who have had the misfortune to develop lung cancer as well as being exposed to asbestos dust who may not link the two together.

“Victims could be missing out on funds that they are entitled to which would help provide treatment in their final months and potentially provide their families with more security.”

Widow and grandmother to 10, Alma said: “Losing my Frederick to asbestos-related lung cancer was utterly devastating.

“When we found out that his lung cancer was probably caused by asbestos, my family and I just wanted find out the answers to questions that would bring justice for Frederick.

“The fact that the terrible illness he suffered was down to asbestos exposure and that the risks were actually known by employers is a very bitter pill to swallow indeed as all Frederick wanted to do was work hard to support his family.

“It has been a very difficult few years but we are relieved this legal battle against ICI is now over. Nothing will ever bring our Frederick back to us but now we have gained the answers we need and the justice my husband deserved.”