December 4, 2023

Compensation recovered for widow of former railway worker who died from mesothelioma

Posted in Mesothelioma

Specialist asbestos disease solicitor, Jennifer Seavor, was contacted by the family of the late Anthony Deacon following his death from mesothelioma in February 2021.

Mr Deacon had been admitted to hospital at Christmas 2019 with a suspected chest infection. Subsequent investigations, including a biopsy, sadly revealed a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Whilst Mr Deacon’s illness had progressed quickly and he had not managed to seek legal advice in his lifetime, he had discussed his working life and exposure to asbestos with his family prior to his death.

Mr Deacon had worked at the Great Western Railway in Swindon between approximately 1959 and 1973 as a cleaner and then a fireman. As a cleaner he climbed in and out of fire boxes to clean them. The fire boxes were lagged with asbestos and this was extremely dusty work. He was also required to clean asbestos lagging on pipework. The lagging would often break off in chunks. Mr Deacon and his colleagues swept up the dust and debris after completing this work.

In his role as a fireman, Mr Deacon tended to fires in the cab of the engine. He had to shovel coal into the fire. There was asbestos lagging around the coal storage, which was inadvertently disturbed as he was shovelling. Throughout his employment, Mr Deacon was not provided with any protective equipment nor warned of the dangers of asbestos.

RWK Goodman have pursued many cases relating to exposure to asbestos at the railways in Swindon. As such, we had statements available in our internal database that were able to be used in support of the claim, having previously obtained permission from the clients and witnesses who made the statements, to use them in other claims. This evidence bolstered what Mr Deacon’s family knew and were able to say.

A letter of claim was sent to the insurers who handle claims involving the railways. Copies of supportive witness statements were subsequently disclosed, whilst a medical expert was also instructed to provide a report regarding Mr Deacon’s diagnosis. Liability was admitted by the Defendant’s insurers.

Focus then turned to the work needed to assess value the claim. Mr Deacon had previously been the carer for his wife, a role which his children and grandchildren had to take over. We needed to obtain evidence to show the type of care and assistance she required now and would need in the future; care which Mr Deacon would have provided if his life had not so sadly been cut short by his mesothelioma. Expert nursing evidence was obtained, and a Schedule of Loss was prepared, setting out all the losses and expenses incurred as a result of Mr Deacon’s mesothelioma. The parties entered into negotiations and the claim subsequently settled for £215,000.

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