Mesothelioma settlement

Posted: 23rd January 2012

A retired plumber who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work has won £115,000 in damages.
The man had worked almost exclusively for the same building firm between 1950 and the early 1970s. He was exposed to asbestos while removing lagging from pipes and while cutting through asbestos sheets and tiles in order to carry out plumbing repairs.
Many years later, he began to experience breathing difficulties and consulted his doctor. An X-ray revealed fluid on his lungs, and further tests confirmed that he was suffering from mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs, which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease has a long incubation period and typically does not appear for 30 or more years after the exposure which caused it. Unfortunately, there is no cure and it tends to be at an advanced stage by the time symptoms appear, meaning that the prognosis for sufferers is poor.
Initially, the building firm disputed the man’s claim, contending that the exposure to asbestos could have occurred at a later time, when he was self-employed. However, after evidence was produced from witnesses verifying that he had been exposed to asbestos while working for the firm, it admitted liability and a settlement of £115,000 was agreed.
According to statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 2,321 deaths from mesothelioma in 2009. Those who worked in the building industry while asbestos was still being used in construction are most at risk of developing the disease. The HSE expects the number of cases to peak during the next decade.
If employers fail to take appropriate measures to prevent exposure to substances that can damage the health of employees, they can be liable to pay compensation for the resulting illnesses. If you or someone you know has suffered ill health as a result of exposure to harmful substances in the workplace, contact us.