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Written on 18th July 2022 by Melloney Harbutt

In November 2021 Roy* contacted Melloney Harbutt, Senior Associate Solicitor in Boyes Turner’s specialist mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims team, to pursue a compensation claim following his diagnosis mesothelioma earlier in the year.

Roy was employed by British Rail between 1949 and 1993.  When he joined in 1949 he was an apprentice in fitting, turning and locomotive erecting at the Swindon Works. 

In the erecting shop they brought in steam locomotives for repair.  They came into the erecting shop to be stripped out and for everything to be repaired and replaced.  Roy worked on the repair side.  Stripping took place in the same workshop and he worked alongside other trades and was exposed to asbestos as a result. 

The steam pipework and the boiler on the locomotives were lagged with asbestos and this asbestos lagging was removed and the boilers were then taken away to be worked on.   The pipework and boilers were then later relagged with asbestos. 

Roy recalls sacks of raw asbestos and he was in the vicinity when the mixing and relagging took place.  The apprentices had snowball fights with the raw loose asbestos.

After leaving British Rail, Roy had no further asbestos exposure.

Roy became unwell in early 2021 and investigations revealed he had fluid on the lung which was drained and examined, confirming his mesothelioma diagnosis in February 2021.  Sadly he started to deteriorate over the summer.  He contacted Melloney in November 2021 for advice about a legal claim and Melloney visited him and his wife at home on 16 November.  She sent a letter of claim to the Department for Transport dated 17 November 2021, to initiate the claim, and negligent exposure was immediately admitted by the relevant insurers in respect.  However, sadly Roy passed away on 2 December 2021.  His wife continued with the claim as Personal Representative of his Estate.

Post mortem examination confirmed the lifetime mesothelioma diagnosis and Melloney set about instructing an independent medical expert, who supported the claim, and valuing the claim.

Settlement was agreed in June 2022, just 7 months after Roy instructed Melloney to take the claim forward.

Thankfully the insurers for the Department for Transport took a proactive approach to this claim, which ensured that matters were resolved for Roy’s wife fairly quickly.

Roy’s wife was delighted with the settlement commenting that “a stressful situation has been dealt with extreme kindness, understanding and efficiency making the process as painless as possible.  I can’t thank you enough for your help.

*anonymised for client confidentiality

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.