Our expert asbestos lawyers secured a settlement of £21,500 for a former carpenter from Bristol who developed pleural thickening after years of exposure to asbestos dust.
Our client, Mr A, worked for the shop-fitting company Parnall & Sons throughout the 50s, first as a shop boy, then as an apprentice carpenter. As a shop boy he was running errands across all floors of the factory, which involved going into rooms where sheets of asbestos were being cut on a daily basis. Clouds of asbestos dust were churned out by the circular saws, and Mr A wasn’t given any protective face mask to stop him inhaling it.
Mr A then worked in the Assembly Department as an apprentice carpenter. As part of his work assembling cold rooms and fridges, he would sand down sheets of asbestos to be fitted into the units. This created clouds of asbestos dust – as did the sanding of the 30 or so other workers on the floor around him. Without protective gear, it was impossible not to inhale the harmful particles.
After working at Parnall & Sons, Mr A worked in two other jobs that further exposed him to asbestos. Sadly many employers did not provide their staff with adequate training or protective gear for working with asbestos before it was banned. The physical damage can be devastating, only starting to show decades after the exposure has taken place.
Now 81, Mr A suffers from diffuse pleural thickening, a lung condition where the build-up of scar tissue on the pleural membrane causes chest pain and respiratory problems. The condition is common for people who have had prolonged exposure to asbestos and can develop into more serious illnesses such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Mr A contacted the Asbestos Related Disease team at Irwin Mitchell to see if we could help recover compensation for the damage to his health. We investigated his case and quickly tracked down the insurers of Parnall & Sons, who were held accountable for almost half of Mr A’s asbestos exposure.
We secured a settlement of £21,500 for Mr A. We commissioned medical evidence which showed the extent of damage to his lungs and the likelihood that it would get worse. The settlement also took into account the fact that he could go on to develop cancer or mesothelioma later on.
Pleural thickening has depleted Mr A’s quality of life considerably, at a time when he should have been enjoying a restful retirement. We were unfortunately unable to track down the other two companies Mr A worked for, despite extensive enquiries. However, the compensation from his time at Parnall & Sons has provided Mr A the support he needs to help make his life easier with this debilitating condition.
Mr A was represented by Laura Wilkinson, a specialist solicitor in asbestos-related disease claims. Laura said of his case: "Diffuse pleural thickening can cause a significant respiratory defect and is likely to worsen over the remainder of a person’s lifetime. This was the case with Mr A – I was pleased to be able to secure compensation for him that took this into account. There's also the risk – though thankfully very small – that he could go on to contract mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer. The final settlement reflected this – and the money we were able to secure will allow him to get help around the house for those jobs that he now struggles with because of his condition.”
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