Family of former British Rail worker recover compensation following death from mesothelioma
Patrick Sullivan contacted the specialist asbestos team at RWK Goodman following his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Jennifer Seavor, a Partner in the team, visited Mr Sullivan at home to discuss his diagnosis and exposure to asbestos.
Mr Sullivan had been exposed to asbestos whilst working for British Rail at the Swindon Railway Works. He began working at the railway works in 1953, aged 15 and, apart from his National Service, remained there until 1986. He began as a ‘nut scragger’, before commencing his apprenticeship as a fitter, turner and erector. On completion of his apprenticeship, he worked as a qualified fitter, turner and erector.
Throughout his employment, Mr Sullivan was frequently exposed to asbestos dust and fibres. Locomotives throughout the works were insulated with asbestos lagging and Mr Sullivan often worked in the vicinity of the lagging being stripped and removed. Asbestos was also being mixed and applied to pipes and boilers. Mr Sullivan worked in close proximity to this and, once the lagging had been applied, would cover the lagging with a bandage material to hold the lagging in place. Mr Sullivan recalled the railway works being very dusty. No breathing protection was provided and employees were not warned of the dangers of asbestos.
A detailed witness statement was taken from Mr Sullivan and a letter of claim was sent to the Department for Transport, now responsible for the liabilities of British Rail.
Unfortunately, shortly after instructing us Mr Sullivan passed away. His family therefore continued with his claim.
The Department for Transport soon admitted liability and once medical evidence was obtained the parties entered into negotiations and the claim settled for £140,000.
Mr Sullivan's son said: "My father was in his 80's when his health took a bad turn. Within 3 months he had passed away. A month into the 3 months the diagnosis was Mesothelioma from exposure from asbestos. Once we had seen the health specialist regarding the true extent of our father's health, we knew his time was short. We were advised he would have a strong case for a claim against his old employers. My father agreed to pursue the claim as this would help our mother financially. I did my research and found Jennifer Seavor from RWK Goodman. I phoned Jennifer and straight away she put me at ease and from that point she took control of every aspect. This was no easy case as my father's health was very poor but with professionalism and compassion through the most difficult of times for our family, she succeeded in helping my mother with a successful claim. Her guidance and helpfulness on all aspects was second to none. It would seem daunting to anyone to go through this process, but I can assure you Jennifer and her team made it easy."