At Asbestos Justice we are delighted to advise that we were able to recover mesothelioma compensation for our client, Mr Dridge within 75 days of being instructed to pursue his mesothelioma claim.
Prior to June 2015, Mr Dridge was a relatively fit and well 85 year old. He was still capable of driving and was generally in good health.
This summer he attended an appointment with his medical practitioner in order to undergo routine blood tests when he was told that his blood count was low. He was advised that he would need to undergo a transfusion which was completed and at that time he also underwent a precautionary x-ray which revealed that he had fluid on his lung. This was subsequently drained at hospital and the fluid was reviewed and he was told that the findings were suspicious for the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.
Circumstances of the Mesothelioma Claim
Mr Dridge confirmed that he was exposed to significant levels of asbestos during his employment with Hampshire County Council who employed him as a caretaker between 1973/74 and 1988/89 approximately.
A detailed statement was taken from Mr Dridge in support of his mesothelioma claim which confirmed that he worked as a caretaker at the Rider’s Infants School in Hampshire.
His duties were varied in that he would be in charge of cleaning staff and he attended to cleaning all of the classrooms, halls, offices as well as the boiler room. He completed all of the general maintenance on the school and maintained the boiler and heating system which was present within a very small room which was only ventilated by a very small window. This remained closed for the most part during the course of his period of employment and therefore, there was very little ventilation within the room.
He also remembered getting to the boiler room by walking through the main school entrance. There was a small toilet facility to the right and the boiler room door was next to that. The boiler room door led to a flight of stairs stepping down to the room itself which was small. There was enough room for the boiler which was square in size and a small desk and chair but it was a tight squeeze. There were many steam pipes leading from the boiler positioned just off the walls of the boiler room and some of them also ran across the ceiling.
Mr Dridge explained that he would have to start up the boiler in the morning and turn it off at the end of his shift. The boiler provided steam heating for the whole of the school.
All of the pipework leading from the boiler was lagged with white asbestos insulation which was in a damaged, poor state of repair, which measured around 6 inches in thickness. He would spend a lot of time each and every day in this room completing reports and staff rotas. He essentially used the boiler room as his makeshift office and spent a significant amount of his working day within the room attending to his daily duties. As an estimate he said that he worked in the boiler room for around 3 to 4 hours each day. This was essentially the main area where he carried out his work and he attended to looking after the heating system. His job description also included a need to keep the pipes clean and he would need to clean the floor of the boiler room on a daily basis.
When attending to work on the boiler it was common for him to brush past the asbestos lagged pipework which was in a state of disrepair. This was common as it was such a tight squeeze to move around the room. As he did this some asbestos dust would be released into the atmosphere which he could not help but inhale. As the asbestos was so old it would often crumble away easily when touched or when he brushed passed it. He could see the dust which was visible to the naked eye as it floated around the room. As the window was usually shut, there was nowhere for the asbestos dust to escape and he continued to breathe in the asbestos particles throughout the course of the working day.
At the end of each working day he would always attend to sweeping up the boiler room floor as part of his daily duties. He would use a hard brush to do this and as he brushed up the floor, some of the asbestos dust which had fallen to the floor would be released into the general atmosphere which he could not help but inhale. Sweeping up the floor of the boiler room was a daily occurrence throughout the course of his time at the school and he usually did this at the end of each day for around 10 to 15 minutes or so. He had to do it as the room was very dusty with general dust which included some asbestos dust from the pipes.
The pipes did become dirty due to the general dust floating about and he would therefore brush across the asbestos lagging which covered the pipework on most days. He would use a dust pan and brush to clean the pipes of the dust which included asbestos dust on such occasions. As he cleaned over the lagged pipes, some asbestos particles would be released into the atmosphere which he could not help but inhale. He would squeeze in behind the pipes with the brush to clean them from the other side and he remembers this being a particularly tight squeeze. The asbestos looked similar to a “papier mache” type material which had been set into place.
As is the case in so many claims for asbestos compensation, at the time of his employment, Mr Dridge had no idea of the dangers of being exposed to asbestos dust. He was simply getting on with his job. He was never warned by the council about the dangers of breathing in asbestos dust at all.
The evidence in support of the mesothelioma claim confirmed that Mr Dridge was never provided with any mask to wear by his employer and therefore he continued to breathe in the asbestos particles throughout the course of each working day. The asbestos dust would cover his work clothes, hair and skin and as there were no laundry facilities available at the school he would return home in his contaminated work clothing at the end of each day. He would usually wear the same set of work clothes for a number of days each week throughout the course of his time at the school.
Mr Dridge advised that he had not come across asbestos during any other period of employment. This assisted in proving that the council would be held responsible for paying his mesothelioma compensation.
Mr Dridge’s niece provided invaluable help in returning documentation on his behalf via email to allow us to pursue the mesothelioma claim with speed and vigour.
Helpfully, the Defendant council, also progressed the mesothelioma claim from their side swiftly and admitted liability within a matter of weeks after receiving notification of the circumstances of Mr Dridge’s asbestos exposure at the school.
A medical report was obtained from the eminent; Dr R M Rudd in support of Mr Dridge’s claim for mesothelioma compensation and Asbestos Justice we were able to secure an interim sum of money in part payment of the mesothelioma claim from the council. The standard mesothelioma interim payment made in such cases is £52,000.00 and this is paid early on many cases to assist sufferers and their families during the course of their period of suffering.
A sizeable sum of asbestos compensation was secured for Mr Dridge within 75 days of him instructing us. Mr Dridge was delighted with the service he received. Mr Dridge stated:-
“In a routine x-ray I was told I had mesothelioma. I am an 86 year old man who lives independently, I am very fit and fairly health. I was totally taken back in shock. I decided I just wanted to get on with my life and not talk about it. My niece found a number in the doctor’s surgery for asbestos related illness and told me she would enquiry. I gaver her my permission, but didn’t think much of it as I am 86 year old.”
Mr Dridge’s niece, Rose said:-
“I spoke to James Cameron (Asbestos Justice – QualitySolicitors Oliver&Co) on the phone, he was amazing, a friendly voice, James had so much knowledge about the disease. He put me totally at east and explained the process. James explained that my uncle would be entitled to compensation. James completed the process in just over 2 months. He liaised with me constantly on the phone and by email. He constantly gave reassurance and talked us through every step of the way. I cannot speak highly enough of James. He was true to his word. My uncle is overwhelmed at the offer he received and accepted. This will give him an amazing quality of life, he is so happy and we know that he will get the care and resources that he needs. Thank you so much to James Cameron whose expertise, kindness and empathy has made my uncle’s future promising.”
This mesothelioma claim shows that where cases are advance by both parties at speed, cases can be resolved within a short period of time but much depends on the individual circumstances of each mesothelioma claim.
If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid claim for asbestos compensation please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.