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Boyes Turner LLP were instructed by the family of Mr D following his death in 2009. 

Mr D’s employment history

Mr D was employed as a joiner working for companies supplying fire doors to commercial properties. 

The fire doors were lined with sheets of asbestos which Mr D would have to cut to shape using power tools. 

Mr D was provided with no personal protective equipment such as face masks, breathing apparatus or ventilation equipment meaning he was exposed to copious amounts of dangerous asbestos fibres when performing these works.

Mr D’s symptoms of illness and initial diagnosis

When Mr D first became ill he was suffering from symptoms of breathlessness and chest pain. On attending his GP he was referred to hospital was a lung cancer was suspected.

Following initial investigations Mr D’s treating hospital was of the suspicion that he could be suffering from mesothelioma, a debilitating and terminal form of asbestos related disease.

Sadly Mr D passed away shortly after his diagnosis whilst in hospital.

The post mortem report

Following Mr D’s passing a post mortem report was conducted and a pathologist diagnosed Mr D as suffering from leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of lung cancer usually suffered by Asian men, though not exclusively.

As the cause of death was recorded as a leiomyosarcoma Mr D’s widow thought the illness was not asbestos related as originally expected and did not consider pursuing a legal claim.

Boyes Turner’s investigation of the claim

In 2014 Mrs D was reading an article in the newspaper regarding the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (“DMPS”).  This is a scheme set up by the government requiring the Association of British Insurers to compensate victims of mesothelioma where no solvent paymaster such as an employer or insurer could be traced.  Mrs D was confused by the advert so telephoned Boyes Turner to see if she could make a claim under the terms of the DMPS.

On taking Mrs D’s initial instructions, Boyes Turner, a firm committed to obtaining justice for mesothelioma victims decided to investigate the cause of Mr D’s passing further, despite the fact that a pathologist had examined Mr D’s lung tissue biopsy samples and recorded a death of non-asbestos related leiomyosarcoma.  

Boyes Turner instructed a histopathologist to re-examine the lung tissue biopsy samples and it was confirmed that Mr D was in fact suffering from mesothelioma and not leiomyosarcoma.

Boyes Turner then instructed a Professor in respiratory medicine to compile a follow up report detailing Mr D’s symptoms, diagnosis and the impact the disease had on his life and life expectancy.

Mr D’s legal claim

Boyes Turner sent a full letter of claim to the defendant to this claim setting out allegations of negligence. 

The defendant first refused to acknowledge the claim as it argued limitation had expired. Boyes Turner therefore issued proceedings immediately in the Royal Court of Justice and requested that the court determine the issue of limitation.

The law holds that a claimant must pursue a claim for asbestos related disease within 3 years of the date that he knew or ought to have known that he was suffering from the effects of an asbestos related disease due to the negligent acts of another. This is known as the primary limitation period. If the person passes away within the primary limitation period then his Estate can pursue a claim within 3 years of the date of death.

As Mr D had passed away in 2009 his claim was deemed to be time barred by the defendant when it was pursued in 2014. Boyes Turner argued that the date of knowledge in this case did not start to run until the diagnosis was confirmed by a histopathologist, or alternatively that Mr D’s Estate was not unreasonable in not pursuing a claim previously due to the pathologists original report stating this was not a case of mesothelioma. On the evening before the limitation hearing the defendant conceded that limitation had not expired and agreed that Mr D’s claim should be allowed to continue free of any time bar.

The defendant next denied that this was in fact a case of leiomyosarcoma and sought to obtain its own histopathologists report and respiratory reports to overturn Mrs D’s evidence. The outcome of the reports were that the defendants medical experts agreed that this was in fact a case of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos.

Throughout this time the defendant was denying that it had acted negligently towards Mr D and therefore was still unwilling to enter in to settlement negotiations with Mr D’s Estate and the case was listed for trial in the Royal Courts of Justice to determine the issue of liability alone.

Just 2 days before trial, the defendant, whilst still denying liability entered in to a settlement with Mr D’s Estate in the sum of £120,000.

Mrs D’s comments

Mrs D was delighted with the fact that Boyes Turner had managed to confirm the cause of her husband’s death and obtain justice for her husband as well as the fact that her family would receive some compensation for the loss they had suffered.

Boyes Turner’s specialist asbestos disease lawyers

Boyes Turner are one of the largest legal services providers in the Thames Valley and operate one of the largest specialist industrial disease teams in the country.

Boyes Turner pride themselves on being able to take on difficult cases such as Mrs D’s. The success in cases like Mr D’s conforms with Boyes Turners ethos of obtaining justice for mesothelioma victims and ensuring asbestos victims and their families are properly compensated.