The family of a carpenter who was exposed to asbestos by his employers has received a substantial sum in compensation after he died from a devastating lung disease.

Grahame Chiverton from the Isle of Wight sadly died in August 2008, three days before his 50th birthday, after a nine month battle with asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma.

There is no cure for mesothelioma and sufferers often die within months of diagnosis. The cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos.

The compensation settlement obtained for the family also included a payment of £5,000 to Earl Mountbatten Hospice where Grahame was looked after during his last days.

Exposed to asbestos while working

Grahame was exposed to asbestos while working as a carpenter for Isle of Wight County Council from 1987 until 2008. During that time his employment was transferred from the council to Island Group 90 and Mountjoy Ltd.

He was responsible for maintaining the council’s properties and this included working on roofs constructed from asbestos.

The father of two and grandfather of three was first diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2007.

His wife Jane said Grahame contacted his trade union, the GMB, to help him claim compensation because he felt a strong sense of injustice about being diagnosed with a fatal disease caused by his work.

Thompsons Solicitors obtained damages for family

The GMB instructed asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors who successfully settled the claim out of court for substantial damages for Graham’s family and an additional £5,000 for Earl Mountbatten Hospice to reimburse the costs of care the hospice had provided to Grahame free of charge.

Jane said: “We were devastated by Grahame’s illness but he was determined to pursue compensation because he felt his employer should have done more to make sure that workers were protected.

“After he died I carried on the claim on his behalf because I knew just how important it was to him.

“Everyone at the hospice went out of their way to make sure Grahame was comfortable. By bringing this claim it has helped the hospice recover the costs of the care they provided.”

Workforce were not protected

Richard Ascough, regional secretary of the GMB Southern Region said: “Tragically this family has been devastated by mesothelioma. The disease often affects men who have worked with asbestos or alongside colleagues using asbestos-based materials. Typically many employers knew the dangers at the time but never did anything to protect their workforce.”

Lorna Webster from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Whilst this compensation will never replace Mr Chiverton we hope that it will go someway to providing a sense of justice to his family.

“As well as the full compensation we obtained for the family the additional payment claimed for the hospice highlights a developing area of law which allows mesothelioma sufferers and their families to claim compensation from those who exposed them to asbestos to help fund the hospices to provide care.”

Earl Mountbatten Hospice is an independent charity providing comprehensive end of life healthcare for the Isle of Wight community. It supports and cares for people living with and dying from a life-limiting illness.