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Written by Laura Magson

Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team have secured a £75,000 settlement for the bereaved family of a former joiner who died in his early 60s from asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. The claim was settled within a year of instruction, without the need for court proceedings even though the family knew very little of the deceased’s asbestos exposure as he died before the formal diagnosis and without leaving a statement.

When the deceased began to suffer symptoms of mesothelioma he stopped working and moved in with his brother and sister-in-law who cared for him in his final months. He was never told officially that he had mesothelioma as the diagnosis was made after an ultrasound biopsy which he underwent shortly before passing away. He had told his brother that he had been exposed to asbestos whilst working for a joinery company, his employer from approximately 1979 to 2004, specifically whilst on a job for the Bank of England.

With only a year to go before the limitation deadline for issuing proceedings expired, the family instructed us to pursue a claim against the joinery company. We took a witness statement from another of the company’s former employees who confirmed that the deceased was exposed to asbestos whilst working on the joinery job for the Bank of England, during which he had cut 8ft x 4ft asbestos sheets using a circular saw, with no risk warning or protection.

The joinery company was dissolved but we traced their former directors and employers’ liability insurers who advised us that by the time the deceased was working at the Bank of England - the earliest time that we had evidence of his exposure -  the use of Asbestolux would have been minimal.

Given the low prospects of succeeding against that company, we obtained the deceased’s Inland Revenue Schedule detailing his employment history and found that, prior to the joinery, he had been employed by two construction companies. We had no evidence of asbestos exposure from those companies from our client but we found another employee through a witness appeal who confirmed that he (as a joiner) and the deceased (as a wood machinist) had both cut Asbestolux at these companies. He told us that the deceased had worked in the machine shop, cutting Asbestolux to size with bench saws. Despite the extraction system which sucked asbestos dust out of the machines, blowing it out into what he described as a “cyclone” outside the building, dust inevitably gathered on top of the saw when the asbestos sheets were cut and was always visible in the air.  

We now had good evidence of asbestos exposure but time was running out before the limitation deadline expired, so we notified the construction companies of our intention to issue proceedings against them and made a formal offer to settle the claim at £75,000.

They accepted the offer and the claim settled quickly without the need for court proceedings.

For further information about claims for mesothelioma, please contact the mesothelioma and asbestos claims team by email at