Our mesothelioma solicitors helped secure a six figure sum for a widow after her husband passed away due to extensive exposure to asbestos at work.
After his mesothelioma diagnosis in 2017, Paul* contacted our asbestos team to help bring a claim against his previous employers. Paul sadly passed away in mid-2018, leaving his widow, Karen*, to take over the claim on behalf of his estate.
Paul’s employment history
Paul had an extensive history of working in the trades industry, working as a joiner for 50 years. In the early fifties, Paul began an apprenticeship with a small local building firm mostly making roofs.
At the time, it was common to build with asbsestolux which released asbestos dust and fibres into the atmosphere when cut. This is something Paul would often inhale. From the very beginning of his career, Paul’s employers never warned him about the dangers of handling asbestos or gave him suitable protection, such as a face masks.
Paul then worked for several more companies in the trade industry but wasn’t exposed to asbestos. Ten years later, Paul began working for his local council across a wide range of sites.
This resulted in Paul helping refurbish an old Army camp, where he often worked with and around asbestos. Paul recalled ripping out asbestos plates with his hands or anything he could find. He also worked alongside workers who lagged pipework and boilers with asbestos.
The workers would tip asbestos powder into a large drum, mix it up into a paste and then apply it to the pipes and the boiler. This process of pouring and mixing up the asbestos powder released clouds of asbestos dust and particles into the atmosphere. As Paul worked in such close proximity in an enclosed space, it was impossible to avoid inhaling these asbestos fibres.
The workspace didn’t have much ventilation either, meaning that there was nowhere for the asbestos fibres to go. Activity on site would throw any settled fibres back into the air, putting workers at risk of breathing them in.
After working on these sites Paul helped fit out a lot of shop, often with asbestos sheeting, which were also poorly ventilated. The poor ventilation meant it was difficult for Paul not to inhale asbestos fibres.
Karen and Paul then had their first child and Paul stopped travelling far for work so he could support Karen and their new-born. This meant Paul avoided asbestos exposure in the workplace for several years.
In Paul’s penultimate job before retirement, he helped with the building and renovation of mobile classrooms. Paul had to crawl on his back underneath the cabins to install asbestos insulation. He also drilled into the lining, releasing asbestos fibres that he then inhaled.
In mid-2017 Paul, experienced an episode of shortness of breath and found himself gasping for air. Paul visited his local GP, who diagnosed him with a chest infection and prescribed a course of antibiotics. Paul’s health didn’t improve once the antibiotics finished so his GP referred him for chest x-rays at the local hospital.
The results were alarming, showing a build-up of 1.5 litres of fluid on Paul’s lungs. After this fluid was drained, Paul’s health improved slightly but a biopsy later revealed he had mesothelioma. The diagnosis came as a shock to him and his family due to Paul’s healthy and active lifestyle.
How we helped
After his diagnosis, Paul and Karen reached out to us in late 2017 to see how we could help them claim against Paul’s former employers.
Laura Wilkinson, one of our asbestos claims solicitors based in Bristol, met with the couple. She heard that Paul had worked with and around asbestos for large parts of his career without any adequate protection, training or guidance. Laura felt that Paul had a strong claim to make and took on the case.
Laura then began working with Paul to gain a better understanding of his exposure to asbestos and employment history. Laura collected a witness statement from Paul accompanied by his tax records which showed who Paul had worked for and when.
Sadly, Paul passed away before the claim finished, meaning Karen continued the claim as Executor of his will. We helped Karen in bringing a claim against two employers who Paul spent much of his career with. We obtained a medical report from an independent respiratory consultant, who confirmed the connection between Paul’s asbestos exposure at work and his mesothelioma diagnosis.
The insurers of Paul’s previous employers admitted responsibility and made an offer to settle the claim, meaning the matter didn’t have to go to court. As part of the claim, we were also successful in recovering Paul’s hospice fees.
“Paul’s case shows how devastating mesothelioma can be, even for someone who’s otherwise healthy and active,” said Laura. “We’re proud to have helped Karen successfully continue Paul’s claim. The settlement ensures justice for Karen and her family, and will give them peace of mind and financial security for the future.”
If you or a loved one have been affected by exposure to asbestos, then please get in touch with our team at 0370 1500 100
*names have been changed
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