Our Asbestos Related Disease team secured compensation for the wife of a former laboratory technician who died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the 1960s.
Alan was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2015, after suffering from indigestion and stomach pain. He died less than six months later. Before his death he contacted our team to see if more should have been done by his former employer to protect him from asbestos exposure.
Asbestos used to be known as the “miracle mineral” for its durability and natural resistance to heat, fire and many chemicals. However, exposure to it can be fatal, with symptoms often only showing decades after a person has come into contact with it. The dangers of asbestos have been known for years, but many companies failed to make sure working environments were safe for their employees, with the result that many now are suffering the tragic consequences.
Between 1965 and 1970 Alan worked for Tioxide Europe, a chemical manufacturer, at the company’s Billingham site. His role included conducting experiments on titanium pigment, a chemical used in toothpaste, white bread and plastics. Alan handled asbestos on a regular basis at work, using an asbestos robe during experiments. However, the facility was also lagged with asbestos, and when repair work was done on site, asbestos fibres would be released into the air, leaving Alan and other workers covered in the harmful dust.
Alan's widow Jennifer continued his fight after his death, putting an appeal in the local newspaper to ask any former colleagues of Alan to come forward with information about the Tioxide Europe facility. Co-workers from the time came forwards and confirmed there was asbestos at the site and that the company had supplied little or no protection.
Despite this, Tioxide refused to admit any responsibility for Alan's death. The case went all the way to the High Court and we secured an undisclosed settlement for Jennifer on her late husband's behalf.
Roger Maddocks, a specialist Asbestos-Related Diseases lawyer in our Newcastle office, represented Alan and Jennifer. She said of the case: “Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can cause a number of serious and sometimes fatal diseases, but all too often we see instances where employees were not given the correct information or protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the deadly material.
"Alan’s diagnosis had a huge impact on his life and he wanted to know why he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed.
"We are pleased to be able to support his family by achieving justice for his exposure to asbestos and securing them a settlement. It is however disappointing that despite the evidence the case was fought by the other side to the bitter end and we were forced to issue High Court proceedings in a bid to get them the answers they deserve about Alan’s death."
Speaking about her late husband's battle with the disease, Jennifer said: "Alan’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a terrible shock to us all and it was terrible to see him in so much distress and losing so much weight.
"We are still struggling to come to terms with his death and while we know nothing can ever bring him back we feel that the settlement gives us some comfort that we have received some justice for what Alan endured.
I’m very grateful to his former colleagues for helping support us in our legal battle, especially as the other side disputed what had happened for so long.”
If you, or a loved one, has suffered from an asbestos related disease then please get in touch with the team today. Either call us on 0800 056 4110 our contact form and we will call you back.
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