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Our specialist asbestos lawyers have secured a six figure compensation sum for the widower of a former clerical assistant who died of mesothelioma just before her 74th birthday.
During the 1970s and 80s, Mrs P worked at the School of Nursing at Barnet General Hospital. Her office was on the ground floor of a Victorian building that was separate from the main hospital, above a basement where medical records were stored.
In 1982, contractors were called into Mrs P’s workplace for several weeks in order to strip out the basement. This included removing asbestos- lagged pipework.
While this work was going on, Mrs P recalled that she saw ‘puffs’ of white dust coming up through the gaps between the skirting board and the wall in her office. All of the ground floor rooms of the School of Nursing were affected. Many of the people working there at the time, including Mrs P, became rightfully concerned about this.
The contractors tried to limit the spread of dust from the basement into the connecting rooms, such as using tape to seal the gaps around the skirting boards. However, this was only done after work in the basement had already stopped.
The claim for the illness that Mrs P suffered as a result of asbestos exposure was brought against the Secretary of State for Health. They denied liability, saying that Mrs P’s exposure to the dust was minimal or even non-existent. They also said that the contractors who did the work took adequate measures to make sure that the employees were kept safe.
However, Mrs P gave us names of former colleagues who also worked at the School of Nursing when the basement works took place. We traced and took witness statements from several of these colleagues. One had even prepared a statement at the time outlining her and her colleagues’ concerns about how much asbestos dust was entering their offices. This colleague also kept documents from the time containing information about the type of asbestos they were being exposed to, and the air analysis that took place after the work was completed.
With this evidence, our lawyers issued court proceedings. However, a settlement was reached with the Defendant’s solicitors before the first Case Management Conference took place. Sadly, Mrs P died during this time, so we helped her husband continue the claim on her behalf. The final settlement we negotiated included more than £20,000 to cover hospice fees. Her husband donated this figure to the hospice as a token of his appreciation for taking care of his wife.
Laura Wilkinson, the asbestos-related disease specialist who handled the claim, commented: 'Sadly we are seeing an increasing number of mesothelioma cases involving women whose previous employments are not ones where you would expect to see any connection with asbestos. In Mrs P’s case, her asbestos exposure was relatively limited and not for a considerable period of time. Nevertheless, a combination of credible lay witness evidence and supportive medical and engineering evidence resulted in a successful conclusion. I am so pleased that we were able to achieve some justice for Mrs P and her family.'
If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos-related disease then you may be able to make a claim. Either call us on 0370 1500 100 or fill in our contact form and we’ll call you back. See our Asbestos Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.
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