The widow of a Unite member who was diagnosed with pleural plaques and went on to develop asbestos related lung cancer has received £200,000 in compensation from her husband’s former employers.

Her husband was 71 when he died from lung cancer in August 2007, decades after he was exposed to asbestos at work.

The granddad of five worked with asbestos as a fitter at the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Devonport Dockyard in Devon during the 1960s to 1980s.

Not provided with any protection from asbestos dust

He was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis but was never provided with protection from the dangerous dust.

In 2003 he was diagnosed with pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos.

His wife said they lived in fear that he would go on to develop a more serious asbestos related disease.

Just two years later their worst fears were recognised when he was told he had lung cancer. A pathology report on the lung tissue confirmed it had been caused by asbestos.

Thompsons Solicitors made asbestos compensation claim

Following the diagnosis he contacted his union Unite which instructed asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim.

Sadly he died before the case reached settlement with the MoD.

His wife said: “When my husband was diagnosed with pleural plaques we always knew the day would come when we would be told he had cancer. It was just a matter of time. When the doctors told us he had lung cancer we knew straight away that it had been caused by asbestos.

“It was important to him to claim for compensation because he wanted me to be looked after. Now the case has been settled I feel he can finally rest in peace.”

Future of pleural plaques compensation

The case highlights the fears many pleural plaques sufferers’ face. Until a recent House of Lords decision people with pleural plaques were entitled to claim compensation. The Government has indicated it will make an announcement on the future of pleural plaques compensation in the autumn.

Unite regional secretary Laurence Faircloth added: “Sadly many of our members who are diagnosed with pleural plaques will go on to develop an asbestos related disease in the future. This case is another reminder of how real the threat of asbestos related cancer is to those living with pleural plaques. We urge the Government to make the right decision in the autumn to restore compensation for all pleural plaques sufferers.

Eamonn McDonough from Thompsons Solicitors said: “I am pleased we have brought this case to a successful conclusion. It shows the real fear faced by those diagnosed with pleural plaques and their families. This compensation will never bring back our client’s husband but it will provide her with financial security in the future.”