Kenneth Reynolds was in good health and able to enjoy life following his retirement, but in 2016, he began having problems with his balance and went to see his GP. He was sent for a number of CT scans and was diagnosed as suffering with vascular dementia in December 2017.
Around this time, he also began struggling with breathlessness and started getting puffed out when he was going out. Mr Reynolds again went to see his GP, who arranged for him to go to hospital, where fluid was found on his lungs which he subsequently had drained.
He was consequently diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs, and he wasn’t offered any further treatment other than palliative care and assistance.
Mr Reynolds became housebound and lost his appetite. His daughter-in-law gave up her job as a teaching assistant to look after him, while he also received visits from the hospice nurse to assist with his medication and provide high-calorie liquid meals.
How We Helped
Anthony gathered details of Mr Reynolds’ complete working history to find out when and where he was exposed to asbestos, so we could identify who was responsible for his condition and against whom to make a claim against.
Mr Reynolds told us he believed he was exposed to asbestos during his time at Appledore Dockyard, where he worked as an apprentice welder in 1967. After completing his apprenticeship, he became a fully qualified welder, and remained at the company until 1984.
The dockyard he worked at was a dry dock that dealt with the building of a whole range of ships, including military vessels, ferries, oil tankers and tugs. Mr Reynolds was involved in the construction of ships from start to finish, and as a welder, he’d be called to work in every part of these vessels.
Asbestos was used as an insulator on the service pipes running through the ships and our client clearly recalled seeing pipes being lagged with asbestos, which would come in pre-cut sections before being cut and fitted on board. Asbestos sheeting was also used to line sections of the cabins and the bulkheads below decks, an area where our client frequently worked.
Mr Reynolds would regularly work next to and nearby people cutting the asbestos sheeting, often in cramped, enclosed areas without proper ventilation. Vast amounts of asbestos dust would spew out when the asbestos sheets were cut with electric saws.
While the people who were cutting the asbestos sheeting were provided with paper masks, these were not provided to Mr Reynolds or to other service people working close by, and although he was given a welding mask which he used when carrying out welding, our client wasn’t given any other protection when he walked around the ship, moving through areas where the asbestos work was being carried out. Furthermore, Mr Reynolds told us that even if he had been given a paper mask, it would have been unlikely to have provided much protection anyway due to the volume of dust.
Solicitor Anthony Waddington argued that our client wasn’t given any warnings about the dangers of asbestos exposure when he was working at the Appledore Dockyard, and that no special precautions were taken to reduce his exposure when he was walking through areas where asbestos was being cut and fitted. In addition, Anthony found that while some ships did have extractor units to try to remove the asbestos dust, these weren’t always effective.
Mr Reynolds couldn’t recall any other period of employment when he was exposed to asbestos, so Anthony was confident that the exposure occurred during his 16-year employment at Appledore Dockyard.
Sadly, our client Mr Reynolds passed away while the claim was ongoing. Anthony continued the claim on behalf of his Estate for the benefit of his son Darren, and attended the Inquest into the death with the family at Devon County Hall.
Solicitor Anthony Waddington dealt with the Coroner, providing evidence to support their investigation and conclusion that Mr Reynolds died as a result of his exposure to asbestos. Anthony also took care of the Probate for the family in order that his son could bring the claim on behalf of the Estate.
Anthony secured a compensation settlement of £79,267 for the benefit of the deceased's son from Appledore Shipbuilders.
He also obtained Mr Reynolds’ government benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions within 6 weeks of instruction, £13,998 lump sum – plus a weekly Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit payment of £174.
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