A former factory worker from Leeds has secured a provisional five-figure settlement after he was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, diffuse pleural thickening.

David Coggill, 58, was exposed to asbestos while working as a boiler maintenance man in Pudsey from 1978 to 1979. The boilers and pipework he serviced were covered in asbestos, which he would disturb as he worked, causing dust to float in the air and settle on the floor.

He would work in poorly ventilated areas and was rarely provided with protective equipment to stop him breathing asbestos dust.

David Coggill, 58, was exposed to asbestos while working as a boiler maintenance man

After suffering severe breathing issues in 2013, he went to hospital for X-rays and CT scans. It was found that he had developed diffuse pleural thickening, years after he was last exposed to asbestos.

David said: “My breathing problems became so bad I had no choice but to go to hospital. My dad died of lung cancer so when I was told I had a shadow on my lung, I feared the worst.

“I used to enjoy doing DIY and gardening but now I need my son to help me instead. I get so short of breath that my doctors said I’m now classed as disabled. I’m fortunate that I’m still able to work in my current role as a security guard; I don’t need to do much physical activity. I’m worried that should my job change, my illness would prevent me from doing a lot of tasks.”

After his diagnosis, David contacted his union, UNISON, who signposted him to Thompsons Solicitors to support his claim.  

"Workplace asbestos exposure continues to have life-altering consequences for families across the UK. The provisional settlement David has secured means that should his condition worsen, he can reopen his case for further damages, and as a UNISON member, he has no legal fees to worry about."

Marion Voss
Senior Work Disease Solicitor

The grandfather of four continued: “I’m grateful to UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors, as this compensation gives me the financial security I wouldn’t have had before. I can’t recommend them enough.”

While many consider asbestos a thing of the past, it continues to cause devastating consequences decades on. It is still the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, causing thousands of deaths and serious illnesses. This number is expected to rise until 2020.

Asbestos experts at Thompsons Solicitors are highlighting the families and communities affected by asbestos in their #PastButPresent campaign.

Marion Voss, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Workplace asbestos exposure continues to have life-altering consequences for families across the UK. David was regularly exposed to this fatal dust during his working life, with no warning of the damage it could cause.

“The provisional settlement David has secured means that should his condition worsen, he can reopen his case for further damages, and as a UNISON member, he has no legal fees to worry about.”