- Devised and implemented a safe system of work
- Provided members of staff with personal protective equipment, such as masks
- Warned employees about the dangers of working with asbestos materials
- Known that asbestos dust and fibres could cause harm to anyone who might inhale them
- Provided and maintained adequate ventilation on site
- Not allowed employees to return home wearing clothing contaminated with asbestos dust
We represented the widow of a man (Mr S) who had been exposed to asbestos at work, and later died from Mesothelioma - an asbestos related cancer of the lining of the lungs.
Mr S started feeling ill in March 2018 and was suffering from a persistent cough. Despite being prescribed antibiotics by his doctor, his condition continued to get worse, and he was in constant pain.
His doctor eventually suggested he could have pneumonia, but further hospital appointments proved inconclusive and he started suffering worsening breathing difficulties.
Mr S returned to hospital in mid-May, and after several days, he passed away. At this point, his widow was told he had been suffering from mesothelioma. This came as a surprise to her, as asbestos had only been mentioned as a possibility once several weeks earlier when the doctor was trying to establish details about his general history.
Following the loss of her husband, our client had to take on many new responsibilities at home. For instance, they had previously shared all the housework evenly, whereas now she would have to do it all on her own.
As a result, she believed she may have to start paying for outside assistance with tasks such as gardening and window cleaning, as she was suffering with her own health issues. And while our client didn’t want to move house, she started feeling she could have to, as her house was too big to manage on her own.
How We Helped
The widow contacted our Asbestos Claims specialists for free legal advice. Following an assessment of her circumstances, Personal Injury and Disease Litigation Solicitor Simon Rosser agreed to take on her case on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Simon began investigating her late husband’s employment history and found that he was exposed to asbestos while carrying out general maintenance work on buildings from 1968 until his retirement in 1999.
As part of this job, he often came into contact with asbestos materials. For instance, he regularly worked with pipes lagged with asbestos, and handled boards that had been lined with asbestos as a fire retardant.
Simon gathered information including occupational health and personnel records concerning Mr S, along with asbestos surveys for the premises in question, minutes of safety committee meetings in which asbestos had been discussed and risk assessments relating to asbestos exposure.
Simon and his team took a witness statement from a past colleague of our client’s late husband, so we could get a first-hand insight of his working practices and the conditions he would have faced at work every day.
Approaching Mr S's Employers
Following this investigation, we approached the insurers of Mr S’s employer with our Mesothelioma Claim, and in presenting the case we argued that the employer should have:
- Kept floors, work benches and other areas in a clean state, free from asbestos dust or debris
- Provided suitable overalls and safe and adequate cleaning facilities
- Ensured protective clothing was cleaned at suitable intervals
- Recommended measures to prevent the spread of asbestos dust on overalls
- Provided a suitable place where protective clothing and equipment could be put on, taken off and stored.
The employer’s insurer admitted liability (fault), which meant the case could be settled out of Court.
Following negotiations with the insurer, we secured a £130,000 compensation settlement for the deceased man’s widow.
The admission of liability and the settlement of the claim all happened fairly quickly, as the entire process took just 16 months from when we were first instructed by our client.
The compensation should prove invaluable to our client as she seeks to adjust to her new circumstances, giving her the means to pay for external help in the home without financial worries.
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