This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Chemical Poisoning & Asbestos team who recently recovered damages for a client suffering from mesothelioma within six months of his diagnosis, despite exposure being more than 20 years before the Sunday Times article that publicised knowledge about asbestos hazards.
Mainstream knowledge about asbestos hazards became available to employers and industry in 1965 following a Sunday Times article. Before then, published material was confined to HMFI reports and scientific or medical journals.
Generally speaking, the further back in time from 1965 a person’s exposure to asbestos was, the tougher the battle to recover compensation will be.
From 1941 to 1943 Mr I was employed as an apprentice fitter at factory premises in Yorkshire where asbestos rock was processed and various asbestos-based products were manufactured.
In the course of his employment, Mr I carried out repairs and maintenance on the machinery in the factory, regularly working in all areas of the factory including the carding, pressing, spinning and weaving departments. He repaired and maintained carding machines as well as twisting, doubling and spinning machines. In particular, he worked on carding machines on a number of occasions, replacing the rollers after they had worn down and replacing the doffer cylinders which were alongside the rollers. During the course of his work on these machines he was exposed to large quantities of asbestos dust which he inhaled.
Mr I was aged 16 and 17 when he undertook this work. Sadly, Mr I went on to develop malignant mesothelioma.
Despite exposure being more than 20 years before the Sunday Times article, we were able to make a forceful claim for Mr I on the basis that the employer was a company engaged specifically in the manufacture of asbestos products, so would have had more access to material warning about the danger of asbestos.
Even more compelling was the ability to argue that it was illegal to have employed Mr I in this capacity given his age.
We were therefore able to argue that at the time of Mr I’s exposure to asbestos his employers knew or ought to have known that the inhalation of asbestos dust gave rise to a foreseeable risk of injury, particularly as he was aged 16 when his employment commenced. Regulation 12 of The Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 provided that no young person should be employed as Mr I had been. We also alleged breaches of the Factories Act 1937.
Time was of the essence for Mr I because he had a low life expectancy. As a widower, his claim was worth more if it could settle during his lifetime. Without a partner, Mr I would need to pay for care and assistance as his health inevitable deteriorated.
Fortunately, we were able to negotiate an excellent settlement for Mr I within six months of his diagnosis which allowed him to plan for his limited future.
Read more about our experience in chemical poisoning and asbestos andmesothelioma cases.
Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP specialises in industrial disease cases. If you would like to ask our team a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jonathan Herbert at Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.