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Written by Laura Magson

Laura acted for Eleanor, the wife of Winston who sadly passed away in January 2020 due to Mesothelioma.

Winston was fit and healthy until November 2019 when he began experiencing shortness of breath on walking short distances and flights of stairs and a minor cough. He had also noticed that he had a small amount of weight in the previous month so was referred to hospital for a CT scan. This showed that he was suffering from a pleural effusion (where the lining of the lung fills with fluid) and he was admitted to hospital. The results of the CT scan suggested a malignancy, but he was too unwell to undergo a biopsy. He was very frail but was discharged home. His family supported him throughout December and Christmas with his care needs and he sadly passed away on 2 January 2020.

Eleanor contacted Laura in March as the death was referred to the Coroner because the doctors had thought that he might be suffering from Mesothelioma. The Coroner determined a Post Mortem ought to be held and this did indeed reveal that Winston sadly passed away due to the asbestos related cancer, Mesothelioma. Eleanor told Laura that she knew that Winston had worked as an apprentice plumber and then a fully qualified plumber from 1962 (when he left school) until 1986. He explained to Eleanor that he had to go into boiler houses on a daily basis in his early years when refurbishments were being undertaken. These boiler houses contained asbestos and he removed asbestos lagging in order to get to the pipework. She remembered him coming home dirty and he told her that he had to crawl into confined spaces where there was asbestos.

On retrieving Winston's employment records, Laura set about notifying the two potential defendants where Winston had worked to put them on notice of the claim. One of the employers had changed its name, but was still in existence with sufficient assets to meet the claim. The other was a dissolved company, but Laura traced the employer's liability insurers for the period that Winston was there. Although Laura was contacted after the sad passing of Winston, Laura took a witness statement from one of Winston's former colleagues who was able to provide further information about the working conditions at the engineering company. He was able to say that Winston was further exposed to asbestos when using asbestos mats and also cutting asbestos cement pipework with hand tools. He was also in the vicinity of other trades who cut asbestos sheets when refurbishment work was going on all around.

The defendants admitted liability in September and after negotiations with the defendants, the case settled at full value for £180,000 gross with an amount paid to the Hospice who provided out-patient care to Winston during the final stages of his illness. Whilst he was not admitted to a hospice, he received support at home from hospice carers. No amount of money can compensate Eleanor and the wider family for the loss of Winston just after Christmas, with very little warning given that symptoms came on very rapidly, she now has some financial worry lifted from her shoulders and has peace of mind that Winston's former employers admitted liability for their negligent acts many years ago.

She was delighted that the case was concluded without the need to issue Court proceedings and that the progress of the claim was not hampered in any way by the restrictive times during the pandemic.

"Thanks for all your help and professionalism in this case" 

Eleanor, Winston's wife

“Thank you for your kind help in recovering these care costs and for supporting us in this way. This will be a great help towards continuing our work in providing care to people living with life limiting illnesses in the mid Essex area”

The Hospice that provided Winston's at home care