Mr G was diagnosed with pleural thickening, a thickening of the lining of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure, in early 2016. Mr G recalled exposed to asbestos when removing old asbestos lagging within a British Sugar factory in Norfolk in the early 1990s, and he therefore instructed Hugh James to investigate a legal claim on his behalf.
Medical evidence was obtained confirming that Mr G had indeed developed pleural thickening and confirming that this was likely caused by his exposure to asbestos whilst working at British Sugar. British Sugar denied liability on the basis that any exposure had taken place whilst Mr G worked for a contracting firm on site. The contracting firm advised that they had operated as a partnership at this stage, and had no insurance in place to meet any damages claim.
In light of these denials, advice was sought from a barrister who recommended that Mr G instigate court proceedings against British Sugar, who had overall responsibility for the site. British Sugar upheld their earlier denial, and added that the majority of asbestos insulation had been removed by the early 1990s and that controls had been in place to prevent hazardous exposure from the remaining lagging. British Sugar provided witness evidence in support of their denial but documents provided by way of standard disclosure confirmed that some asbestos had been present within the factory at the time of Mr G’s employment.
There was extensive disagreement between experts instructed by both sides as to the extent of Mr G’s illness and the impact that this had on his life, and as to the presence of asbestos insulation within British Sugar’s plant. Shortly before trial however, British Sugar made an out of court settlement offer and, following negotiations, Mr G accepted a five figure sum in settlement of his claim. The settlement reached entitles Mr G to return to court for a further payment should his condition deteriorate, or he develops a further asbestos related illness.
If, like Mr G, you have developed an asbestos related illness then contact Hugh James’ Asbestos Disease team today, as they may be able to help.