Hugh James were instructed by Mrs H to investigate a potential asbestos disease claim, following her late husband’s death from asbestos related lung cancer.
Mr H had died very shortly following his diagnosis, and so he had been unable to provide a statement detailing his exposure to asbestos dust, but a former work-mate was able to confirm that he and Mr H had come into contact with asbestos dust whilst working in boiler houses during their time employed by a now-defunct business known only as ‘Hampshire Engineering’. The boiler houses contained asbestos insulated pipe work, and Mr H was present when this was removed and replaced, releasing dust into his breathing space.
A policy of insurance was traced for Hampshire Engineering and documents provided in support of Mrs H’s allegations that her husband’s exposure to asbestos dust whilst working for the business had caused him to develop lung cancer. Despite this, the insurers did not concede that Hampshire Engineering was responsible, and so preparations were made to issue this case at court.
Lung cancer has, of course, a number of different causes, of which asbestos exposure is just one. It is therefore necessary to demonstrate high levels of asbestos exposure in order to show that asbestos is the most likely cause of lung cancer. The court ordered that the parties obtain reports from various experts in order to consider the position further.
The pathologist found asbestos bodies within Mr H’s lung tissue below that is usually associated with lung cancer, but Hugh James were nonetheless able to demonstrate a likely link between Mr H’s asbestos exposure and his illness, through expert engineering evidence commenting on the very high levels of asbestos dust to which Mr H was exposed at work, and evidence from a chest physician confirming that such exposure was sufficient to have caused lung cancer. An out of court settlement was accordingly reached in Mrs H’s favour.