We pride ourselves on achieving fast, high compensation settlements for our clients who suffer from a range of asbestos-related diseases.
Recently, we were very pleased to win a compensation claim within 60 days for a man suffering from mesothelioma. Our client, Mr T, became extremely ill in April 2017 due to a build-up of fluid around his lung. Two years earlier, he was diagnosed with pleural plaques, which was evidence that he had been exposed to asbestos.
In April 2017, he had x-rays and a CT scan, which sadly confirmed that he probably had asbestos-related mesothelioma. The only way to confirm this would be to have a pleural biopsy procedure, which Mr T was too unwell to undergo. Instead, he was placed in a nursing home to receive ongoing care.
Mr T’s work history:
Mr T began working at the National Coal Board’s (NCB) Research Establishment (CRE) in 1950 after completing a two year period of National Service. We brought the mesothelioma claim against the NCB’s successor, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
After Mr T contacted us in June 2017, we obtained his witness statement, which said that he started work at the CRE as a Scientist Grade 3, and worked his way up to Grade 1.
Mr T worked in the Industrial Development Branch until around 1982. During his early career at CRE, he studied in the evenings at the Gloucestershire Technical College to further his education at his own expense. He also took 6 months off from working at the CRE in 1950 to attend college, full-time, where he qualified as an associate member of the Royal Institute of Chemistry (ARIC). Furthermore, he also became a fellow member of the Royal Institute of Chemistry in 1968 (FRIC). He was a very loyal member of the NCB, and was the author of several patents on their behalf.
Clearly, Mr T is a highly educated man and he was able to provide very detailed information regarding how he was exposed to asbestos.
The CRE was an extensive site who were dedicated to the research and development of new coal technologies. This included the development of furnaces, smokeless fuels, and the fluidisation and liquefaction of coal. Several hundred people worked at the CRE. Approximately 50 of these people worked in the workshop. Eventually, Mr T had eight people which he led as the Senior Chemist.
Mr T’s exposure to asbestos:
A lot of research and development work involved the heating of coal in reactors, which were regularly constructed, modified and disassembled.
The CRE had at least two dedicated laggers who would lag pipes to and from equipment with asbestos insulation. Pipes would be insulated to several inches thick. Insulation was usually white and unsealed. On larger furnaces and permanent processing equipment, the asbestos lagging was often painted. The asbestos lagging also covered boilers and installations at the CRE.
Mr T conducted experiments regularly where laggers would be required to insulate new installations and carry out repairs or modification. Mr T generally worked alongside them to supervise the projects and the work would be carried out in close proximity to his office. He stated that he would be nearby approximately once a week when laggers insulated new pipework and boilers. He estimated that he would be within a few feet of where the work took place for around an hour each time. However, he breathed asbestos dust in for a much longer period as his desk was only 30 feet away from the work. He described the atmosphere in the office as horribly dusty.
Laggers also used to mix asbestos powder in a bucket close to where Mr T and his team were working. He recalled that this procedure would be a very messy job with lots of asbestos dust being released into the air. A clean up would have to take place once the asbestos powder had been mixed. Some lagging jobs would take all day. Dust was a continual problem in the building because of the coal and asbestos dust which came from the de-lagging and lagging processes.
Pipe lagging and asbestos shielding were used in processes that required extreme heat. Unfortunately, this meant that they were damaged in a short space of time. No precautions were taken when asbestos gausses and shields were removed. Various types of asbestos could be found on the site including; corrugated material on pipes, wrap around material taken off a roll, asbestos paste, asbestos bricks and asbestos ropes.
De-lagging took place regularly during maintenance. Debris from de-lagging, general work and coal dust was typically cleaned up with a broom or dust pan and brush. This would cause clouds of dust, including asbestos dust, to rise up and settle on Mr. T’s desk and office area. The laggers would use tools and their bare hands to remove the asbestos lagging.
Mr T confirmed that the de-lagging of asbestos insulation was increased throughout the 1970’s, which means he was exposed throughout his career.
No warning of the dangers:
Mr T was never warned that working near asbestos materials was dangerous. He was also never provided with protective breathing equipment. We relied upon this as proof of negligence and statutory duty in Mr T’s mesothelioma claim.
A detailed medical report was obtained from a well-respected respiratory physician in the mesothelioma claim which confirmed that in the absence of a biopsy confirming the diagnosis, there was an estimated 80% probability that Mr T was indeed suffering with mesothelioma, caused as a result of his exposure to asbestos at the CRE.
Despite this evidence being disclosed to the Defendant, no offer to settle the mesothelioma claim was made. We therefore acted quickly in issuing court proceedings in the High Court’s specialist fast-track mesothelioma claims procedure. By doing so, this put pressure on the Defendant to look at the claim quickly and they eventually agreed to pay mesothelioma compensation in the case, shortly after court proceedings were issued.
Securing this payment for Mr T took a great deal of work in order to ensure that he received notification of his successful mesothelioma claim, within 2 months of making contact with our specialist team.
How can we help?
If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid asbestos compensation claim for any other disease, then 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.