Our asbestos–related disease solicitors helped a former industrial laundry worker secure a six figure settlement after her mesothelioma diagnosis.
Our client, Mrs, Harris*, worked for an industrial laundry firm in Southern England for over 20 years. While working for the company, she was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres for over ten years. We were able to help Mrs. Harris claim even though her employers had stopped trading.
Poor working conditions
Mrs Harris first worked in the industrial laundry in the late 1970’s. However, she was new to this line of work and described her shock at the state of maintenance and upkeep when starting at her new place of work.
Mrs, Harris mentioned notable defects to her workplace such as old and unreliable machinery and frequently dusty conditions. There was also asbestos lagged pipework, which was in a ‘poor state of repair.’.
Mrs Harris said she’d often see dust clouds when cleaners worked on the machinery she used. She also couldn’t avoid treading through settled dust when going about her tasks. Large amounts of dust would collect on her clothes throughout the day.
Mrs. Harris then changed her line of work but returned to the industrial cleaners (under new ownership) 10 years later. Despite a lengthy break from the company, she recalled little improvement in working conditions with the worn asbestos-lagged pipework and poor structural upkeep still present.
As well as little improvement to the work conditions, Mrs. Harris didn’t receive any warnings about the dangers of asbestos dust exposure.
Despite the company improving some machinery and cleaning practices, Mrs. Harris mentioned her surprise at the amount of dust that was still present. Cleaners would often sweep around her, meaning she often had to inhale dust.
As her time with the cleaners went on, Mrs. Harris was promoted to a supervisor role. This meant she would often inhale dust, as she had to walk around the factory floor in this new role.
In the early 2000’s, the company eventually moved to a new premises with improved working conditions where Mrs. Harris worked until her retirement in 2012.
5 years after Mrs Harris’s retirement, she started to develop symptoms of mesothelioma. She was out for a short work where she found herself really struggling to catch her breath and as time passed her breathlessness continued to worsen.
Mrs Harris consulted her local GP, who suggested she went for heart and lung investigations at her local hospital. This found a build-up of fluid on her lungs which the medics removed, but it quickly built up again. Doctors extracted another litre of fluid and Mrs. Harris had another biopsy in November 2017.
Mrs. Harris received the news she was dreading a few weeks later and was told that she was suffering from mesothelioma. She got in touch with us to see what support we could provide.
Helping our client through a tough time
We brought the claim for Mrs. Harris’s illness against the company which had taken over the liabilities of her final employer. Initially, the company ignored a Letter of Claim so we issued court proceedings which began in early 2019.
At the first Court hearing, we successfully argued that the defendant was liable for Mrs Harris’ illness. We were able secure a significant interim payment to provide her with financial support as her claim continued.
A report was obtained from an oncologist who indicated Mrs Harris’ potential suitability for immunotherapy or similar treatment in the future. Immunotherapy isn’t currently available on the NHS, so Mrs Harris’ final six-figure settlement will cover the cost of any future private medical treatment. Laura Wilkinson, an asbestos claims solicitors from our Bristol office, represented Mrs. Harris during her case.
“We’re thrilled to have helped Mrs. Harris get the compensation she deserves,” said Laura. “It may seem difficult to make a claim if your employers have stopped trading, but we have a great track record of tracking down the right companies to claim against.
“Mrs. Harris’ settlement will allow her to manage her symptoms with the best possible treatment and seek assistance with tasks around the home that she can no longer manage, giving her more precious time to spend with her family.”
Here to help
If you or someone you love has been affected by an asbestos-related disease, we may be able to help you claim compensation. Call us on 0370 1500 100 to learn more about your options, or send us an email and we’ll call you back. You can also find out more by visiting our Asbestos Claims page.
*Name has been changed.
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