Our workplace accident solicitors secured our client, Robert*, a compensation settlement after he developed berylliosis, a lung disease, from exposure to beryllium dust at work.
What Happened To Robert
Robert worked at a scrap metal merchant company called Vitabond for five years in the 1980s. The warehouse where he worked was very dirty and dusty from tonnes of metal being crushed daily. There was very poor ventilation in the warehouse and Robert hardly ever got to work outside.
Part of Robert’s job was to test scrap for beryllium using a hand-held blow torch. Beryllium was indicated by a yellowish green flame. With vast amounts of metal to test, Robert was exposed to high amounts of metal fumes and dust.
Vitabond didn’t give Robert much protective equipment except for a mask, which didn’t even prevent black lines of metal dust from forming around his mouth and nose. Because the mask wasn’t very effective, Robert had very little choice but to breathe the metal dust in as he worked all day in the warehouse.
In 1986, Robert left Vitabond to become a driver for another company. Since leaving Vitabond, he wasn’t exposed to the metal dust anymore so he thought he’d left that part of his life behind him. But gradually Robert noticed his breathing becoming more laboured over the next 25 years. After taking early retirement at 62, he developed a nasty cough that wouldn’t go away.
After his local hospital ran a few tests, Robert was diagnosed with berylliosis, a life-limiting lung disease, caused by the dust he’d breathed in when working for Vitabond. The berylliosis had caused inflammation and scarring on Robert’s lungs and other organs, making it very difficult for him to breathe or walk around.
The doctor told Robert that he could apply for industrial injuries benefit and advised him to pursue a legal claim.
Helping Robert Get The Compensation He Needed
Robert got in touch with Alex Shorey in our specialist workplace illness team to see if he could make a compensation claim. Alex took Robert on as a client and got to work straight away gathering evidence to build Robert’s case.
Throughout the entire case, Vitabond didn’t admit any responsibility for Robert’s berylliosis. Even Vitabond’s insurer denied providing insurance cover to the scrap metal company until Alex officially added them to the claim.
Alex got the help of various experts to help build Robert’s case, including: an insurance archivist, a medical expert, a care expert and an occupational hygiene expert. With their testimony and the evidence Alex gathered against Vitabond, Robert’s case moved forward and Alex negotiated an out-of-court settlement for Robert in November 2020.
The case settled for £245,000 to cover the cost of Robert’s care needs and medical equipment. The compensation also reflected the lost income Robert would’ve otherwise earned in the years he couldn’t work due to his health.
“Robert* has suffered for a long time with the health effects of breathing in so much metal dust. I’m very pleased I was able to help him claim the compensation he has needed for so many years. Now he can move forward with the funds to support himself and his family.” – Alex Shorey, solicitor.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness from your workplace then our specialist work place injury solicitors may be able to help. Please contact us online or, call 0808 291 5288.
*Not actual names used
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