Plumber compensated for cancer by three former employers23 May 2013
Diagnosed with incurable cancer, mesothelioma
A retired plumber who was exposed to asbestos by multiple employers during his career has secured substantial compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services after being diagnosed with incurable cancer, mesothelioma.
Kenneth Wilkinson, 80, from Millom in Cumbria was diagnosed with the asbestos-related lung cancer in June 2012 after seeking medical attention for a cough which developed a year earlier.
A long standing member of Unite the Union, Mr Wilkinson contacted his regional representative for advice after being dealt the shocking diagnosis. Unite Legal Services instructed their lawyers to investigate his case and uncovered disturbing evidence of over a decade of asbestos exposure.
Working as an apprentice plumber for a building firm
Father of five, grandfather to 11 and great-grandfather of 11, Mr Wilkinson was first exposed to asbestos while working as an apprentice plumber for a building firm during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
He came into contact with the toxic dust while installing piping into the then new local authority housing estates, Queens Park Estate and Grammars Croft Estate.
Later in his career, Mr Wilkinson was exposed while working at the Vickers Shipyard in Barrow and again at Sellafield Power Station.
Never warned by employers that it would set him on the road to cancer
Mr Wilkinson said: “I worked with asbestos for much of my early working life and I was never warned by my employers that it would set me on the road to cancer. We just had to get on with the job in hand and there was no consideration for what might happen decades later.
“It was a real blow to find out I was suffering from mesothelioma and I worry now about my family’s future. This compensation has helped to set my mind at ease and relieve some of the financial pressure we’re under.”
Support and expertise at Thompsons Solicitors
Mick Whitley from Unite the Union added: “The legacy of the employer negligently putting their employees at risk is one we have seen repeated time and again.
“The Unite Legal Service, with the support and expertise at Thompsons Solicitors, is there to make sure our members and their families get the help they require in their hour of need.
“Mr Wilkinson worked in some of the most notorious industries where employers showed casual disregard for the dangers of asbestos exposure and in doing so put his, and many of our other members’, lives at risk.”
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.