May 14, 2024

Widow awarded compensation following husband’s death from mesothelioma contracted whilst employed by British Railways and Pressed Steel Fisher

Posted in Mesothelioma

Mr G began to feel unwell in July 2021 when he started suffering from pain in his back and breathlessness. He underwent a chest x-ray which showed a build-up of fluid on his lungs. Further tests led to him being diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening and asbestos-related pleural effusions. It was suspected that Mr G might have mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lung, but a biopsy was inconclusive.

Mr G contacted RWK Goodman’s specialist asbestos disease team and Laura Wilkinson, a Senior Associate in the team, visited Mr G at his home to discuss his employment history and asbestos exposure. Mr G recalled being exposed to asbestos dust through his employments with British Railways (now the Department for Transport) and Pressed Steel Fisher Limited (now British Motor Holdings Limited).

Mr G was employed as a fitter and turner by British Railways at the Carriage and Wagon Works in Swindon between 1956 and 1961. He spent most of his employment carrying out carriage fitting and shop maintenance. He fitted brakes and other components to the underside of the railway carriages after they had been sprayed with blue asbestos as a form of insulation. The asbestos was held loosely in place, which meant that it came away very easily when he worked on the railway carriages. The asbestos dust fell into his face, hair and work clothes. He was not provided with any protective equipment to prevent or limit his exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Mr G worked for Pressed Steel Fisher between 1972 and 2002 initially at the company’s factory in Cowley, Oxford, but later at their factory in Stratton St Margaret, Swindon. He worked as a material handler and then a skilled millwright/toolmaker. Mr G was involved with the maintenance of the presses that made car parts. He had to repair and replace the brakes and clutches on the machines. The brakes were made from asbestos. As Mr G took the worn brakes apart, asbestos dust was released, which Mr G inhaled. He was only provided with a very basic face mask to wear as he went about such work.

Letters of Claim were sent to the Department for Transport and the insurer found to be on risk for Pressed Steel Fisher in March 2022.

Unfortunately, Mr G’s condition deteriorated quickly and he sadly passed away on 9 May 2022. Mr G’s wife continued with the claim on behalf of his Estate.

A post-mortem confirmed that Mr G had died as a result of mesothelioma and updated medical evidence was obtained thereafter with work undertaken to value the claim.

After the threat of issuing Court proceedings, the Defendants admitted liability and settlement negotiations ensued. The claim settled without the need to issue Court proceedings for a six-figure sum.

Laura Wilkinson commented,

“I was so pleased to have achieved a successful outcome for Mr G’s wife and her family. The compensation has given her some financial security, as well as a sense of justice in Mr G’s memory.

As a team we have brought many asbestos-related disease claims involving exposure with British Railways and Pressed Steel Fisher over the years and it is so sad to think that there will be many more to come."

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