2 December 2019 | Comment | Article by Hayley Hawkins

Witness testimony leads to successful settlement for family of deceased mesothelioma sufferer

Hayley Hawkins, Associate at Hugh James Solicitors was instructed by the widow of a former employee of a regional electricity company, to bring a claim on behalf of her late husband, who sadly passed away from mesothelioma in February 2018.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer, the only known cause of which is exposure to asbestos dust. It can sometimes affect the stomach but it is far more common in the lungs. Unfortunately there is currently no cure for this condition.

Mr N, who retired in 2007, was fit and active throughout his retirement. Mr N regularly visited his villa in Spain with his wife and spent over 4 months a year there. However, when they returned from Spain in 2017 it became apparent that Mr N had lost weight and he was suffering with a cough that he couldn’t shift.

The cough that Mr N suffered from was persistent and he was referred by his GP for an x-ray which showed a pleural effusion; fluid on the lungs. Over the following months Mr N underwent a series of further tests. His health deteriorated rapidly during this period and he was in a significant amount of pain. In February 2018, Mr N received a CT guided biopsy and the family were told that the doctors suspected a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Shortly after this the diagnosis was confirmed and due to his deterioration Mr N was transferred to a hospice.

Sadly, only a few short days later, Mr N passed away.

Hugh James Solicitors were instructed after Mr N’s death to explore his occupational history, to assess whether he was negligently exposed to asbestos during his working life. The investigations concluded that Mr N had only worked for one employer that may have exposed him to asbestos.

For 45 years Mr N worked for a regional electricity company which included a 6 year apprenticeship starting in 1962.

Whilst Mrs N was able to provide an outline of the work that Mr N did during his years with the regional electricity company, unfortunately Mrs N did not have knowledge of how her husband had been exposed to asbestos.

Without clear evidence of how Mr N was exposed to asbestos, Hugh James knew that the case would not be successful. Fortunately the family were able to provide names of some of Mr N’s former colleagues.

The former colleagues were traced and agreed to provide witness evidence in support of the work that Mr N did throughout the years and how he was exposed to asbestos. It became clear that during Mr N’s apprenticeship, some 50+ years before, he had been exposed to asbestos both directly from dismantling storage heaters that contained asbestos, and also indirectly, from working close to carpenters on new residential builds. The carpenters measured, cut and fit asbestos boards as soffits and fascias during the second fix on the new builds and Mr N was working close by putting in cables, plugs and sockets.

Hugh James presented the claim to the Defendant who was unable to deny that Mr N had been negligently exposed to asbestos.

Hugh James obtained medical evidence to support the claim for mesothelioma which demonstrated that the asbestos exposure that Mr N had suffered, and the subsequent condition he went on to develop, had resulted in his life expectancy being reduced by over a decade.

Following a financial assessment of the medical evidence and associated losses, Hugh James negotiated a settlement with the Defendant and recovered a substantial sum of money for Mr N’s family.

The shock of the diagnosis and Mr N’s passing was devastating to his family. Mr N was described as “a wonderful husband, father and grandfather” and whilst compensation can never make up for the loss that Mr N’s family have suffered, Hugh James passionately believes that former employers or others who have negligently exposed individuals to asbestos should be held to account. Compensation can ease money worries at such a difficult time, make suffers more comfortable or allow them to leave some money to their family once they are gone.

Hugh James act on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and also ensure that mesothelioma suffers keep 100% of their compensation.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from this disease, or any other asbestos related condition, then please contact a member of the asbestos team at Hugh James on 0292 267 5800 for a confidential chat.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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