A Hull man whose uncle died after being diagnosed with a fatal lung disease caused by asbestos exposure has secured compensation through Unite Legal Services.

Ian Reid worked as an apprentice lagger for a Hull-based firm between 1955 and 1960. His role involved working on board ships, near laggers who were applying asbestos insulation onto boilers and pipework. The laggers’ work would cause asbestos dust and fibres to be released into the air, which Ian would breathe in. No-one told either the laggers using the asbestos, or the workers around them, how dangerous asbestos was, and they did not provide the workers with any protection.

Several decades later, in 2013, Ian suffered from breathlessness and had lost a significant amount of weight. His health continued to deteriorate and he was later diagnosed with mesothelioma, however he did not tell his family about this.

“The team at Unite Legal Services explained the process to me in layman’s terms and it was very swift and well-managed from start to finish. I’m really glad I turned to Unite Legal Services when I did, as it meant our family could hold those responsible for Ian’s death to account.”

Colin Vernon, Thompsons Solicitors' asbestos client

Following Ian’s death in July 2014, his family were made aware of his condition. Ian’s nephew, Colin Vernon, turned to Unite Legal Services for advice and instructed Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist asbestos team to make a compensation claim.

“My uncle was a proud man,” said Colin. “Even years into his retirement he enjoyed driving and going on holiday. We had noticed his health deteriorate but he reassured us there was nothing wrong.

“It became clear after a while this wasn’t the case. Even so, nobody in our family would have ever thought asbestos was to blame. We couldn’t believe it.”

Thanks to the support from Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors, Colin was able to secure a settlement.

He continued: “The team at Unite Legal Services explained the process to me in layman’s terms and it was very swift and well-managed from start to finish. I’m really glad I turned to Unite Legal Services when I did, as it meant our family could hold those responsible for Ian’s death to account.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “While information about Ian’s exposure was limited, we were able to draw on decades of experience of helping other members to trace former colleagues of Ian who had been exposed to at the same employer and we also obtained expert evidence from medical professionals.

“When it became clear that Ian’s life limiting illness was caused by asbestos we supported Colin to ensure he received the answers to why his uncle developed the disease that took his life.”