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Laura Magson recently acted for Reg who developed asbestos related diffused pleural thickening and asbestos related effusions following exposure to asbestos dust.

Medical history

It was initially thought that Reg was suffering from pleural thickening, pleural effusions and asbestosis, but we obtained a report from a medico-legal expert which confirmed that he was in fact suffering from just pleural thickening and asbestos related pleural effusions (with no asbestosis). Our expert was of the opinion that Reg had a 40% respiratory disability of which 30% was due to asbestos disease and the remaining 10% was due to cardiac disease and anaemia. 

I applied for Reg's employment history from HM Revenue & Customs in April 2016, shortly after we were instructed by Reg. Unfortunately, even at the time of writing (August 2016), the employment history is still outstanding due to the huge backlog of requests to HM Revenue & Customs. Claimants can unfortunately expect to wait more than 12 months before receiving their employment histories, unless they are suffering from a malignancy. 

Earley Power Station

Reg was employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board from approximately 1955 to 1975. He was based at Earley Power Station, Reading, Berkshire for the entirety of his employment. He did an apprenticeship in joinery before becoming a fully qualified Joiner. He recalled coming across asbestos on a regular basis, knocking asbestos lagging off pipes when fitting supporting timbers to the joints so that the fitters could inspect and then repair them. He said that all of the pipes were lagged with asbestos which had been put on as a wet paste. Reg remembered that the lagging had to be broken off so that the pipes or valves could be repaired. He worked during shut down periods and he wore a boiler suit due to the dusty conditions. He told me that he banged his boiler suit against the side of the wall after he had been in the turbine room in order to remove as much asbestos dust as possible from the boiler suit before putting it back into his locker. 

He also worked close by to laggers as they mixed up powdered asbestos with water in order to re-lag the pipes. Reg also cut 8 ft x 4 ft Asbestolux sheets by handsaw and by circular saw in the joiners' shop. 

Central Electricity Generating Board ("CEGB")

I notified the claim to the CEGB's successors, EON UK Plc in April 2016. Their representatives admitted liability one month later, but limitation was fast approaching given that Reg first approached his GP in early 2013 and a claimant only has three years from the date that he knew or should have known that he was suffering from an asbestos related disease to issue a claim in the court. The court does have a discretion to extend that time limit, but delays do cause difficulties. 

The added complication to limitation was that Reg had had chest x-rays in the 1980s, which revealed pleural plaques and "pleural thickening". However, our medical experts did not believe that Reg was suffering from any respiratory symptoms relating to asbestos disease in the 1980s. Proceedings were protectively issued against EON UK Plc in order to protect Reg's position. 

I drafted a Schedule of Loss and forwarded this, together with the supporting financial documents to EON's representatives. 

Settlement

We made an offer on Reg’s behalf to settle the claim on a full and final basis in July in the gross sum of £45,000. EON counter-offered £40,000 gross which Reg accepted. 

I explained to Reg that he had the choice of award. A full and final award compensates him from the condition that he has now, but also the future risk of him contracting other asbestos conditions, in particular mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer. A provisional award would compensate Reg for the condition he has now (namely pleural thickening and asbestos related pleural effusions), but allows him to come back to Court to claim further damages should he develop mesothelioma or lung cancer. As Reg is 85 years old, he preferred a full and final award. He wanted certainty that the claim was completed.

Although Reg has suffered from pleural effusions back in 2013 (which is often a symptom in mesothelioma), the medical expert believed that Reg only had a 3% risk of contracting mesothelioma in the future.