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Written by Laura Magson

Boyes Turner’s asbestos and mesothelioma claims team have settled a mesothelioma claim against the Department of Transport for the family of a former British Rail worker. Our lawyers overcame significant difficulties, including the lack of a witness statement from the deceased who had died before we were instructed and evidence of additional asbestos exposure from later employers, to bring the case to a successful conclusion.

We were contacted by the deceased’s daughter after her father’s death from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. She told us that her father had worked for British Rail in the 1960s and that when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the family assumed this employment to be the cause of his disease.


Her father hadn’t talked much about his work at British Rail but one of the doctors or nurses caring for him had mentioned that he was likely to have been exposed to asbestos whilst working for British Rail as a fireman and cleaner. However, there was no mention of British Rail in her father’s benefit forms which, instead, referred to possible asbestos exposure whilst employed as a plumber’s mate for other companies which we couldn't pursue as they had dissolved with no applicable employers’ liability insurance.

The claim

Boyes Turner’s asbestos-related disease team have a long, proven track record of successful claims for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions. We were, therefore, able to search our own databank of British Rail claims and obtain witness statements from other former British Rail firemen/cleaners at different sites confirming their own exposure to asbestos during our client’s father’s employment by the company. The defendant refused to accept this evidence, denied liability for the injury and rejected our offer to settle the claim. They also demanded medical expert evidence, even though the diagnosis of mesothelioma was unequivocal and had been confirmed on post-mortem. So, we continued our search and located three witnesses who recalled working with our client’s father at the same depot and described in witness statements how they were all exposed to asbestos.


On receipt of this evidence the Department of Transport (the defendant representing British Rail) finally offered to settle the claim in the terms set out in our original offer, and we settled the case at full value. In the weeks prior to death, our client’s father had been cared for by a hospice. Our client’s settlement included a sum by way of repayment to the hospice, which is partly dependent on charitable donations.

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