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We were instructed by Mr Smith after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2016. Mr Smith and his wife were devastated by his diagnosis of mesothelioma. His diagnosis was complicated by the fact that he had an existing kidney condition which meant that he could not undergo chemotherapy or any other systemic therapy as it would have been too toxic for him. He therefore underwent radiotherapy and then had palliative care.

Sadly, in July 2017 he suffered a deterioration in his kidney condition and investigations discovered that he also had a diagnosis of colon cancer which had spread to his liver and lungs. Due to his mesothelioma and his kidney condition he was also unable to undergo any treatment for his colon cancer.  His condition deteriorated and he sadly died in August 2017.

Mr Smith had been employed at a plumbing business in Harpenden, Hertfordshire known as East & Gray and had worked for the company between around 1961 and 1974 as an apprentice plumber and then as a plumber. He described exposure to asbestos dust when he installed boilers, cut asbestos flue pipes, removed asbestos lagging and drilled asbestos fascias and soffits. The defendant admitted that they had negligently exposed Mr Smith to asbestos dust but made no admissions that this negligent exposure had gone on to cause Mr Smith’s mesothelioma.

Claims do not need to be against limited companies

Mr Smith’s case had to be pursued against the personal representatives of the former businessmen who ran the partnership East & Gray. This was because it was not a limited company and therefore there was no separate company entity to pursue. Mr Smith’s case is an example of the fact that you do not need to have worked for a limited company to be able to successfully pursue a claim for compensation after a diagnosis of mesothelioma. We undertook detailed searches and located the employers’ liability insurers for the partnership East & Gray who instructed solicitors to deal with the claim on their behalf.

Due to the fact that the defendant did not admit that the exposure to asbestos dust had caused the mesothelioma and that this was, in fact, the cause of Mr Smith’s death the case proceeded through the High Court and was listed for trial in July 2019. 

The family can still recover compensation after the defendant has passed away

The defendant disputed that Mr Smith’s diagnosis was in fact mesothelioma. This was because he had had a complicated history of investigations into the cause of his pain and breathlessness and there had not been any clear conclusive biopsy to confirm mesothelioma. We instructed an expert pathologist to examine the lung tissue samples who confirmed that Mr Smith’s diagnosis was in fact mesothelioma. Mr Smith unfortunately would have had a limited life expectancy regardless of his mesothelioma due to his diagnosis of colon cancer. Regardless, we were able to successfully pursue a claim on behalf of Mr Smith’s family and negotiate a settlement of around £87,000 on behalf of Mr Smith’s widow.

Mrs Smith was very pleased with the settlement, given she was unclear what the impact of her husband’s colon cancer would be. Mrs Smith will be able to use the money received from the mesothelioma claim to cover the cost of living in the family home which she shared with her husband. If it was not for the settlement she would have been unable to afford the upkeep on the property and would have had to have moved home. This is a positive result for Mrs Smith and her family.