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Roger had gone to his GP after experiencing an unfamiliar discomfort behind his right lung. The doctor immediately sent him for tests to determine the cause of the discomfort and shortened breath. From the outset Roger was asked if he had worked with asbestos but he couldn’t recall if he had. Over the next few months he underwent a series of investigations that proved inconclusive until additional biopsy results finally confirmed that he had mesothelioma.
From the very beginning Roger received specialist support from Lung Cancer Nurses and his local mesothelioma support group. It was during this time that he began to investigate how he had developed the disease, soon discovering that it can only be caused by exposure to asbestos. After initially having thought nothing of the question posed earlier by his consultant about working with asbestos, Roger began to think back and realised that he had worked with the material 32 years previously.
At this point Roger began to investigate the possibilities of claiming compensation for his negligent exposure and to make provision for his wife.
Roger instructed Irwin Mitchell to pursue a legal claim against the company who exposed him to asbestos.
Mesothelioma has a very poor prognosis and short life expectancy. Our initial concern was to secure a significant Government compensation award and benefits to help Roger and Jane with immediate expenses, as well as providing the reassurance that Jane would be looked after following Roger’s death.
We soon discovered that Roger had previously been a development manager for a company that created, designed and manufactured display units for the cosmetics industry. During the construction phase Roger would cut up blue asbestos sheets with a circular saw. He was offered no personal protection and there was no extraction or ventilation in the workshop. As a result, unbeknown to Roger, he was being exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.
Adrian Budgen a specialist in mesothelioma from Irwin Mitchell commented: "To begin we had to understand where the asbestos exposure came from. Quite commonly this takes place many years before the presentation of the disease, between 10 and 50 years prior to diagnosis. This meant we had to investigate Roger’s working history in detail, as it was very much a detective exercise."
Security and provision
During the legal case the insurer for Roger’s former employer denied cover and his employer argued he was never exposed to asbestos at work. However, through a determined legal battle, Roger was successful in his case and the compensation allowed him to be secure in the knowledge that there was provision made for Jane.
Adrian commented: "I feel a very great relief that we were able to reach a successful conclusion for someone who was an extremely deserving client. Roger was in this position through no fault of his own. He was given no warning about working with asbestos.
"There were no precautions taken, he had no mask, there was no dust extraction or damping down and there was no selection of an alternative material for him to use. Unwittingly, Roger was exposed to what is an extremely dangerous toxin, something which led to an awful disease and a terminal prognosis which considerably shortened his life."
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