We were instructed on behalf of Mr W, aged only 33 at the time, in respect of a claim for compensation arising out of his diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma. Mr W had previously instructed another firm of solicitors, who had investigated a claim for him but felt that they could not take his claim any further forwards. At the time that Mr W instructed us, we only had a matter of months before the limitation period expired and if proceedings were to be issued, we had to do it quickly.
On discussing Mr W’s exposure to asbestos with him, he had been exposed to asbestos at school and also whilst working for a construction company between 2003 and 2007. We therefore had to investigate both exposures.
We obtained a medical report from a consultant chest physician, who confirmed that Mr W’s exposure to asbestos at the construction company could not have caused his mesothelioma because the latency period between the exposure and the onset of his symptoms was too short. As such, we focused our efforts on Mr W’s exposure to asbestos at school in Devon.
Whilst we had Mr W’s evidence regarding asbestos in his schools, we needed further independent evidence. A statement was taken from one of Mr W’s former fellow pupils. We attended North Devon District Council offices in Barnstable to study planning applications made by the schools.
The claim was instigated against Devon County Council and court proceedings were issued soon after. They disclosed asbestos registers of all of the schools which Mr W had attended.
Despite our two witness statements, the defendant did not admit that they negligently exposed Mr W to asbestos and we therefore sought further evidence. We traced former pupils and teachers and also wrote to various teacher’s unions. As a result of this, we made contact with two teachers who were able to assist and provided witness statements in support of Mr W’s claim.
The defendant resisted the claim. The main issue was the level and intensity of any asbestos exposure which may have occurred, and whether any exposure that Mr W had suffered was sufficient to have caused his mesothelioma. Expert engineers were therefore instructed by both parties.
Mr W’s claim was listed for a full trial on liability and the value of his claim. It settled weeks before at a settlement meeting between the parties. Mr W is now only 35 years old and he has two young children. We are delighted to have successfully settled his claim, having made provision for his wife and children’s future. His claim was complex and involved reports from a consultant chest physician, a consultant histopathologist and an engineer.
Mr W's claim was eventually settled for £275,000.