Our specialist asbestos lawyers have secured a substantial settlement for an 80 year old man left with serious respiratory issues after being exposed to asbestos at work.
Our client, Mr N, worked for engineering company Babcock & Wilcox as a plater’s mate in the 1960s. He worked alongside a professional plater at Hinkley Point A Power Station, where his job was to hand the plater the tools and materials he needed to work. Often, Mr N worked on the boilers, which were lagged with asbestos. He also worked near to the laggers as they were mixing the asbestos powder.
Babcock & Wilcox didn’t give Mr N any protective clothing or equipment, or warn him about any of the dangers associated with asbestos.
Later in the 1960s, Mr N worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board as a labourer and fitter’s mate. Again, he worked at the Hinkley Point A Power Station. In this role, he used hand tools to remove asbestos lagging from high-pressure valves, releasing asbestos fibres into the air as he did so.
Mr N worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board until the 1990s. During his last few years there, Mr N did get some safety training, along with a protective mask and white overalls to wear. However, he had already been exposed to asbestos quite significantly by this point.
Mr N started suffering with symptoms relating to his asbestos exposure during the summer of 2017. Mr N found that he was frequently breathless and unable to walk more than a short distance at a time.
He also became unsteady on his feet while doing everyday tasks such as getting dressed or washing his hair. These symptoms started to have a significant impact on Mr N’s life, to the point that he was too unwell to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.
Mr N’s daughter got in touch with us on his behalf in November 2017 to see if we could help. We went to visit him at home to listen to his evidence and to discuss what he needed from us.
Hospital tests showed that Mr N had developed pleural thickening, a lung condition commonly associated with asbestos. He was also later diagnosed with asbestosis. Both of these conditions led to doctors diagnosing Mr N with 50% respiratory disability.
Doctors also suspected that Mr N may have developed mesothelioma, a type of cancer also related to asbestos. However, by this stage, he was considered too frail to undergo a biopsy.
Before falling ill, Mr N had been independent, living alone following the death of his wife. However, his breathlessness meant that he became unable to leave the house alone and carry out his usual activities, such as mowing the lawn.
His daughter took on some of the responsibility, taking her father to his hospital appointments and doing his housework. However, this was still a strain for her too, as she worked full time.
Taking into account Mr N’s various diagnoses, we agreed an out of court settlement with both of his former employers.. Both were still active (although Central Electricity Generating Board was now under the acquisition of Magnox Limited) and both admitted that Mr N had been exposed to asbestos while he worked for them.
Both employers agreed on a provisional settlement, meaning that Mr N can re-open the claim if his condition gets worse over time, or if tests reveal that he has indeed developed mesothelioma. The agreement also allows Mr N’s family to re-open the claim if he is diagnosed with mesothelioma is post-death.
The substantial settlement we secured for Mr N has given him the financial support to make his life with a respiratory illness much easier.
Rebecca Buxton, who represented Mr N during the trial, said of the decision:
“Sadly we all too often see cases where people suffer later in life as a result of exposure to asbestos, usually through work. We were glad to secure out of court settlements from both of Mr N’s former employers, so he can continue living as independently as possible.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, you may be able to claim compensation. Either call us on 0370 1500 100, or fill in our contact form and we’ll call you back. Take a look at our asbestos claims page for more information.
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