Successful DMPS Application Following Investigations Into Asbestos Exposure
A former electrician from Lytham, St Anne’s, has received a financial settlement after he was diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer.
Graham Johnson is suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, which he believes was a result of exposure to harmful asbestos dust and fibres many decades ago.
Graham first began to experience symptoms of breathlessness in May last year, with the condition diagnosed in August. He and his family then made the decision to instruct lawyers to investigate the cause of his exposure to asbestos, which occurred when he worked as an apprentice electrician and in the vicinity of tradesmen, and also while undertaking stripping out in various premises in Leeds and Wakefield.
After experiencing a lack of progress with another firm of lawyers, Graham and his family instructed Irwin Mitchell to take on his case.
Despite being unable to locate important insurance documents for his previous employers, detailed investigations from the legal experts led to Graham’s case meeting the requirements for the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). This is set up by the Government to assist individuals with insufficient knowledge on previous employers and their insurers.
Expert Opinion“Before coming to us, Graham’s family were concerned that matters were not progressing, and we found that there were several important steps that had failed to be actioned which should have been dealt with.
Graham did not receive any advice about the benefits that he would be eligible for and, although an application for Attendance Allowance had been made following a referral to the DWP, no application had been made for the lump sum award under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Act 1979 and/or the Mesothelioma Lump sum 2008 Act and for Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit. All of these benefits provides vital funding following a diagnosis of mesothelioma and should be dealt with immediately.
In addition, vital documents and information on Graham’s employment history, which would have assisted the case, were not requested.
This is a specialist area of law and it is important that a solicitor has the relevant knowledge and skills in relation to how asbestos exposure occurs and the companies where exposure to asbestos was prevalent.
It is also extremely important that the solicitor is able to provide the care, support and advice to an individual who has received a terminal diagnosis. It is not only important to have an understanding of the legal system but also to understand the needs of someone who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.”
Nicola Handley - Senior Associate Solicitor
The application made to the DMPS was successful, resulting in a financial sum being awarded to Graham.
Following confirmation of the settlement, Graham’s daughter Diane said: “It was a shock to hear about my father’s diagnosis of mesothelioma, particular as his exposure to asbestos occurred many years ago.
“It was therefore very frustrating to also have to realise that my father was not previously receiving the legal advice that he needed at a very difficult time of his life.
“I therefore want to support my father in trying to raise awareness about the importance of instructing a specialist accredited asbestos disease solicitor.
“Irwin Mitchell met with my father and his family and quickly provided detailed legal advice in relation to a potential claim, but also importantly applied for benefits on his behalf and provided him with care and support throughout the legal process.”