Retired joiner has received a £260,000 compensation after asbestos exposure in the 1960s caused him to develop mesothelioma
On Action Mesothelioma Day, 1 July 2016, campaigners will come together at events across the UK to remember mesothelioma victims and support the families of those affected.
Figures from Cancer Research report that 2,667 people in the UK were diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2013. The number of people with the cancer has not yet peaked, primarily due to asbestos exposure during the 1960s – 1980s.
Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Action Mesothelioma Day is a poignant reminder of the human suffering inflicted by asbestos disease.
“At Thompsons Solicitors, the first law firm ever to bring a successful asbestos disease case in 1971, we know from experience that obtaining compensation from the negligent employer or insurance company is often the only legal remedy which provides practical financial support and a sense of redress for the devastation caused to thousands of victims and families affected by asbestos-related disease."
The 72-year-old UNISON member worked in a council depot and on public building refurbishments in Yorkshire from 1960 to 1969. He helped strip out a building to its shell, before cutting asbestos sheeting with a circular saw, which created clouds of dust. He also worked near others who mixed and swept up asbestos dust.
At no point during his employment was he warned about the dangers of asbestos or provided with any protection.
When he started to become breathless his GP referred him to hospital. He had a CT scan and further tests confirmed that he had developed mesothelioma. Doctors told him that he had less than a year to live.
Even after the diagnosis he continued to look after his wife who had suffered a heart attack and his granddaughter who also has various health problems.
He contacted the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and with the help of public service union UNISON he instructed industrial injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors to make a claim for compensation.
He said: “It was absolutely devastating to find out that a career I devoted my life to has left me with an incurable disease. Before I suffered from the breathing problems I would do the DIY and gardening at home, but now I get very tired even when I haven’t done anything physically challenging.
“What worries me the most is how my wife and granddaughter will cope because I’m not as able as I once was. It was such a relief to have support from the TUC, UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors, so that my family’s needs can be cared for professionally.
Marion Voss, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Asbestos disease continues to be one of the biggest workplace killers affecting occupations such as joiners, carpenters, plumbers and electricians who were negligently exposed throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
“Working with the TUC and UNISON we were able to help this mesothelioma client obtain full compensation during his lifetime.”
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.