August 23, 2013

Claim for mesothelioma after a wife was exposed to asbestos through washing her husband’s work clothes

Our rapid action, knowledge of working practices in the construction industry, and the presence of asbestos – particularly on airforce bases in East Anglia - meant this claim succeeded.

Mrs R, who lived in Norfolk, had died of mesothelioma almost 3 years before her daughter instructed us. She hadn’t worked with asbestos herself, and thought the exposure might have occurred when she washed her builder husband’s work clothes. This is what her husband had told the local press. He, too, had passed away before his daughter contacted us.

There was no direct evidence of Mr R's work with asbestos and a newspaper appeal for witnesses was unsuccessful. There was nothing in Mrs R’s medical notes to give us any clues about her exposure, and the inquest papers were also not helpful. Then the daughter remembered that one of his colleagues had also passed away as a result of mesothelioma. His death certificate was obtained after the family turned detective and got his name from his gravestone in a local church. This evidence – together with the issue of court proceedings - was enough to persuade the building company’s insurers to accept the claim, which was settled for £80k within nine months of instructions.

RWK Goodman partner Helen Childs comments, “Many lawyers would have been reluctant to take on a case with only a very short period to go before the 3 year limitation period expired. Particularly one where there was no direct evidence of exposure to asbestos – and both the lady and her husband had since died. It was particularly rewarding to piece this one together!”

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