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We secured £113,000 for a widow whose husband died of the cancer mesothelioma, after being exposed to asbestos dust decades ago while working for Royal Mail.
Our client’s husband, James, was employed as a technician for the postal company for over 20 years, from 1972. He would deliver materials to site and work onsite too, often as an electrician’s mate. Both he and his colleagues were exposed to asbestos dust and fibres on various post office sites, including at Crown post offices and sorting offices.
In 1974 James was working in the boiler house of the South Road Post Office Engineering Centre. Among the other tradesmen there were laggers, applying lagging to the boilers and pipes. To do this they made a paste using water and asbestos, tipping bags of asbestos powder into large containers. This released clouds of harmful asbestos dust into the boiler room, which James and his colleagues inhaled.
James left Royal Mail in 1999. It wasn’t until a number of years later, when he was enjoying his retirement, that he developed a persistent cough. He went to the doctors and was diagnosed with mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure from years before.
He and his wife, Chris, contacted Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Industrial Illness team to see if we could help them make a claim. We worked with medical experts to show that James’ tragic cancer was the result of dangerous working conditions. The company had not taken adequate steps to protect its employees from the dangerous asbestos dust, and decades later this would prove fatal for James.
Sadly, James died before the case settled, only 8 months first going to the doctor’s with a cough. Chris continued bringing the claim on his behalf, and 3 weeks before the case went to trial we secured an out of court settlement of £113,000 from Royal Mail.
Satinder Bains, a specialist solicitor in mesothelioma cases and other industrial illnesses, represented Mrs Tandy. She said of the case: “We’re pleased to have secured this settlement for James’ widow. While nothing can change what happened, the compensation is important as an acknowledgement of the unnecessary pain he suffered, and will ensure she is financially secure in the future.
Employers have a duty of care to make sure their employees are protected from harmful substances such as asbestos, but too often we see this hasn’t been the case. We hope Royal Mail and other companies will learn from cases such as James’ to provide a safe working environment for their employees in the future.”
James’ widow said: “I will never get over losing my husband Jim to this cruel and avoidable cancer.
Jim worked for the Royal Mail most of his working life – who could believe you could be exposed to asbestos in your thirties, as he was, then retire at 67 ready to enjoy life, only to start feeling ill and then be told you have a disease for which there is no cure. By the time it shows itself it’s too late.
“I was very fortunate to have Satinder on our case. l went through some very bad times because I could not get the image of my happy healthy husband dying because of this disease out of my head, but she dealt with my claim so I did not even have to leave the house. Nothing was too much for her. I would recommend Irwin Mitchell – and Satinder in particular – to anyone who finds themselves going through this. No one could have done more to help.”
If you or a loved one has fallen ill as a result of asbestos exposure, our Asbestos-Related Diseases team could help. See our Asbestos Claims section for more information.
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