Unite member develops mesothelioma after working with asbestos
The 73-year-old, from Middlesbrough, was employed by a chemical manufacturer between 1957 and 1972, first as a messenger boy, before starting an apprenticeship which led to him becoming a maintenance worker. In the latter two roles, the man had to work alongside laggers who would mix and apply fresh asbestos to pipework as well as remove asbestos lagging used as insulation, so that he could complete repair work.
He was never provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) or warned about the dangers of working with asbestos.
During a family holiday, he began suffering from breathlessness, which prompted him to visit his GP. An x-ray and a CT scan found that a build-up of fluid was causing pressure on his lungs, and further tests confirmed that he had developed the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.
He contacted Unite Legal Services and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.
The man said: “I was always a hard worker and enjoyed my job. I thought I would have been protected from dangers in the workplace but my employer failed to do this. I was absolutely devastated when I found I had mesothelioma. My diagnosis was a complete shock to me and my family.
“I completed my course of chemotherapy in January, which initially halted the growth of the tumour. Unfortunately, a scan in June revealed progression of the tumour for which further NHS treatment will have little benefit. As a result, the only option I have to ease the pain is to try new and expensive drugs, only available privately.
“I’m extremely grateful for the service provided by Unite and Thompsons, they ensured my claim was handled quickly and compassionately, so that I can rest assured that my wife has financial security in the future.”
Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Through no fault of his own, our member has fallen victim to the negligence of his employer who did not protect him against the dangers of the toxic asbestos. Sadly, his situation is not unique and cases like this have become more and more prevalent over the last 60 years, resulting in a rapid increase of the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma. It’s estimated that 90,000 more people will lose their lives as a result of the disease by 2050.
“Due to his union membership, he has been able to receive the specialist support of Unite Legal Services, which has ensured that he received compensation just six months after he started his claim with us.”
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.