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Written on 19th January 2024 by Laura Magson

Boyes Turner Asbestos Diseases Team acted for Rodney*, a 69-year-old bathroom fitter still working at the time of his diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Diagnosis and Initial Health Issues

Rodney has always considered himself to be very fit and well. He developed COVID-19 during Christmas 2022, and it took him some time to recover. Following the infection, he was slightly breathless when playing golf and walking uphill, so made an appointment to see his GP who referred him for an ECG, blood tests and a chest x-ray. He was found to have some fluid on his lung, which was drained. The cytology results from the fluid sample were given to him over the telephone at the end of July 2023.  Rodney was not overly concerned as the GP had been reassuring. 

Rodney said the diagnosis of asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, was like a ‘bolt out of the blue’. He saw the oncologist the following week, which was a much more positive experience. He commenced dual immunotherapy treatment and Rodney is currently doing very well and continuing to work.

Asbestos Exposure: Rodney's Work History

Rodney’s only known asbestos exposure was when he worked for a company in Old Windsor between 1969 and 1982. He joined as a plumber’s mate initially, and there were about 30 plumbers.  Rodney went out with a plumber every day, learning the trade and often installing central heating. He worked with cast iron boilers such as Potterton Boilers, and he was required to cut lengths of asbestos flue pipe, which he did by hacksaw.

By the time he was 17 years old, he was able to fit complete heating systems on his own and he would generally be left alone to get on with things, as he was so reliable. He installed boilers, fitted asbestos flues and used asbestos string, together with a tin of fire cement, winding the asbestos string around the pipe a few times and using the fire cement. He also worked alongside other trades such as carpenters who were cutting Asbestolux for boxing in pipes.

Pursuing a Claim: Challenges with Company Dissolution

The plumbing and heating company that exposed Rodney to asbestos was dissolved more than 20 years ago. This meant that there were no records of the company at Companies House. In order to pursue a successful claim against the dissolved company, we would need to instigate proceedings against the employers’ liability insurers.

Unfortunately, despite extensive searches and various steps to try and ascertain the employers’ liability insurers at the time (including reaching out to several insurance companies), no records could be traced. This does not mean that the employer did not have employers’ liability insurance at the time; rather, that the insurers did not keep a record of such insurance.

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme

In such circumstances, there is a scheme of ‘last resort’ whereby a mesothelioma sufferer (or indeed their dependants) can apply to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2014 for recompense. This is tariff based recompense that aims to reflect what an average mesothelioma patient of the same age would receive via a civil claim. 

Successful Claim

We progressed with such an application for Rodney and secured a gross award in excess of £165,000.

Laura said:

‘I was delighted to assist Rodney and his family, investigating the claim and in particular trying to trace the insurers and then subsequently succeeding with a diffuse mesothelioma payment scheme application. It was a privilege to act for this lovely family who have two sons living at home with them. It is frustrating that no insurance could be traced (one of the sons is financially dependent on Rodney and his wife, having been diagnosed with autism as a toddler), but it was of some comfort that the compensation awarded by the DMPS was swift and they could now put the legal process behind them.’

*names have been anonymised

For more information about how the mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims team can help you or your loved ones after a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, please contact the team by email on or by telephone on 0118 952 7199.