Unite member Maurice Chapman developed asbestosis after being exposed to asbestos on the railways
A former railway worker from Derby who was exposed to asbestos for decades has secured almost £40,000 in compensation.
Unite member Maurice Chapman, 86, was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, asbestosis, by a consultant after suffering chest pains and breathing problems.
Maurice started working for the rail firm in 1946 as an apprentice, later becoming an electrical engineer until he left the firm in 1986. He would disturb asbestos while working on the electrics of the trains.
He was never told of the dangers of asbestos or supplied with protective equipment by his employer.
“Thankfully, our solicitor at Thompsons was excellent. He was very down to earth and helped us with all of our questions in a patient and thorough manner."
Sue, Maurice's daughter
Maurice – a great-grandfather of six – and his daughter, Sue, contacted Unite Legal Services and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate an asbestos disease claim. The expert law firm is highlighting the families and communities affected by asbestos exposure in the past with its #PastButPresent campaign.
Sue said: “My dad has always been a keen gardener and, ever since I can remember, would spend a lot of his time on his allotment. His illness has left him unable to do this. Even simple things, like climbing up the stairs, have become too difficult.
“Thankfully, our solicitor at Thompsons was excellent. He was very down to earth and helped us with all of our questions in a patient and thorough manner. I’m glad we were able to get this legal backing through my dad’s Unite membership, giving him financial security in the future.”
Maurice lives alone and has already moved his bedroom downstairs as his shortness of breath makes going upstairs difficult. The compensation means he can pay for adaptations to his home, should his condition deteriorate.
Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Because of his Unite membership, Maurice had free legal representation and was able to keep 100 per cent of his compensation.
“People think of asbestos as a thing of the past, but its cases like Maurice’s that show it’s still very much present and continues to have a devastating effect on families across the country. We would advise anyone suffering with an asbestos disease, or a loved one, to seek legal advice.”
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.