Compensation Secured for Family of man who Died of Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Posted on: 4 mins read
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Anthony Waddington

Partner, Industrial Disease Claims

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Our client's father, who we’ll refer to as Mr Jones for the purposes of this article and to maintain client confidentiality and privacy, was admitted to hospital in March 2019 after describing symptoms of lethargy, weight loss and breathlessness to his local GP.

It was while Mr Jones was in hospital that a CT scan revealed evidence of primary lung cancer which had sadly spread to his liver. Mr Jones was sent home and set up with a supply of long term oxygen and a programme of palliative care.

After being released from the hospital, Mr Jones’ condition deteriorated rapidly and he unfortunately died at home on 18 April 2019.

A post mortem confirmed that Mr Jones’ death was caused by metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung, meaning abnormal lung cells had multiplied to form a tumour. Pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred, was also found in the post-mortem in a pattern that was consistent with asbestosis.

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Mr Jones' Background

Asbestosis is a rare but serious lung condition that affects people who have been exposed to asbestos. It cannot be cured, but treatment may improve the symptoms of this.

After the connection was made between Mr Jones’ cause of death (i.e. his lung cancer) and exposure to asbestos, his children instructed us to make a claim for compensation on his behalf.

Sadly, asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers in the UK every year. This is more people than the number of people recorded as being killed on the road each year. It’s estimated that around 20 tradesmen die each week as a result of past exposure to asbestos.

Although more commonly a problem which occurred in the past, asbestos remains an issue today as it can be present in any building which was built or refurbished before the year 2000.

Finding Out Where Mr Jones Was Exposed to Asbestos

The symptoms of asbestos related illnesses often take decades to appear, so pinpointing where someone was harmfully exposed to the material can be especially difficult as more often than not it will have been decades before any diagnosis.

We knew that Mr Jones had worked as an Apprentice Boiler Maker for a ship building company between around 1954 and 30 September 1961 so we ran a witness appeal in the local press to find other people who had worked for the company around the same time.

It was through the witness appeal that we were able to get in touch with one of Mr Jones’ former colleagues who had also worked as an Apprentice Boiler Maker. He provided us with invaluable information in the form of a witness statement detailing their working environment and practices at the time.

We found out through this witness that the boilers made by Mr Jones’ former employer were lined with asbestos which would be applied both as dry panels and as a wet paste. While Mr Jones’ wasn’t responsible for lining the boilers, we heard from the witness that asbestos dust and drippings would cover any surface and person that was nearby when the process was taking place.

Despite this, the company that employed Mr Jones’ didn’t warn any of their staff about the dangers of the asbestos and no one was ever given any protective equipment such as dust masks. Employees would even take handfuls of the raw asbestos powder and throw them like snowballs at each other for fun as they were completely unaware of the risks involved.

Mr Jones’ working conditions were detailed in our Letter of Claim to his former employer on 14 May 2022, outlining their failure to create and maintain a safe work environment for employees.

Consulting Medical Experts

As well as obtaining a witness statement from Mr Jones’ former colleague, a medical report was also commissioned from a Consultant Histopathologist who specialises in diseases and conditions affecting the lungs. He observed that the number of asbestos bodies present in Mr Jones’ lungs supported the diagnosis of asbestos induced lung cancer.

We also had a Consultant Physician provide a report to confirm that there had been evidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on Mr Jones’ lung function tests that were carried out before his death which was evidence that his symptoms would have severely limited his ability to breathe normally.

These medical reports as well as the losses associated with the Mr Jones’ family’s claim were all taken into consideration when valuing how much compensation they should receive.

The Outcome

On 4 February 2021, Mr Jones’ former employer offered a £65,710 settlement which was refused and we were later able to secure £75,000 in compensation for Mr Jones’ children.

We were pleased with this outcome for Mr Jones’ family and we hope it can help his children start to move forward after the loss of their dad. Although no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, we hope that in securing compensation from Mr Jones’ former employer, the family are able to feel a sense of justice that Mr Jones’ employers were eventually held accountable for the negligence they perpetrated that led to his death.


Health and Safety Executive (HSE). (n.d.). Asbestos: the dangers. Available at: (Accessed: 15/12/2023).

(n.d.). Asbestosis. Available at: (Accessed: 15/12/2023).

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