May 14, 2024

Six-figure sum awarded to family of former joiner who died of mesothelioma

Posted in Mesothelioma

Mr S was employed by Kingswood Portable Buildings between 1973/74 and 1974/75. The company was based in Bournemouth and manufactured portable buildings. Mr S was employed as an erector and his job was to go out to sites to erect the buildings.

The company produced garages amongst other things, which had walls and roofs made from asbestos sheets. Mr S’s job involved cutting and drilling the sheets to form the walls and roofs, which released a great deal of asbestos dust and fibres, to which Mr S was exposed.

Mr S also spent time working in the workshop where he was, again, cutting asbestos sheets. It was very dusty work. Mr S would have to sweep up the factory floor, re-circulating asbestos dust and fibres into the air.

Mr S was also exposed to asbestos dust whilst working for Signpost Housing Association/Signpost Services between 1998/99 and 2001/02. He was employed by the company as a joiner. He went into houses that had been bought by the company, stripped them out and renovated them up so that they could be used for social housing. One of his jobs was to sand down any Artex ceilings using an electric power sander, which caused dust, including asbestos dust, to shower down onto his face. He also sanded down and painted asbestos soffits and guttering on the outside of the properties, which had the same effect.

During his employments with the above companies, Mr S was not warned of the dangers of asbestos nor provided with any breathing protection.

In 2021, Mr S attended his GP complaining of breathing problems. He was referred for a chest x-ray and underwent several tests. A build-up of fluid was found on his lungs and a drain was fitted to drain the fluid. Further investigations followed, which sadly confirmed a diagnosis of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.

Following his diagnosis, Mr S contacted RWK Goodman’s specialist asbestos disease team. Laura Wilkinson, a Senior Associate in the team, attended Mr S at his home and took a detailed witness statement from him about his work history and previous exposure to asbestos dust.

Research was undertaken to trace the companies and – as both were no longer active - their insurers at the time the asbestos exposure occurred. The insurers on risk were then immediately notified of Mr S’s claim. Once Mr S’s medical records had been received, a medical expert was instructed to prepare a detailed report regarding Mr S’s diagnosis, prognosis, and loss of life expectancy due to the mesothelioma.

The insurers were subsequently provided with Mr S’s detailed witness statement and the medical report in support of the claim. Liability was later admitted by the insurers and an interim payment of damages was made to Mr S.

Unfortunately, Mr S sadly died in July 2022 before his claim could be settled. His widow took over the claim and updated medical evidence was obtained. Work was then undertaken to value the claim before the parties could enter into settlement negotiations.

After several weeks of settlement negotiations, Mr S’s claim settled for £170,000 without the need to issue proceedings in the High Court.

Laura commented:

“I was very pleased to have achieved a successful outcome for Mrs S and some justice in Mr S’s memory. Although no amount of compensation will replace Mrs S’s loss, it will at least provide her with some financial security so that she can have some help around the home to replace the services that Mr S had provided before he fell ill.”

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