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Written on 4th October 2021 by Laura Magson

Laura had been instructed by James* shortly after he was diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma. He was taken to hospital as he was struggling to breathe and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2021 post biopsy.


James* was exposed to asbestos when he worked for a housing association between the years of 1973 and 1980. He worked in the maintenance team and joined as a carpenter. It was his job to maintain various houses and he came into contact with asbestos on a regular basis. He recalls there only being one layer of brick between the houses and the rest of the house was constructed with wood. He was tasked with replacing the wood when it became rotten however asbestos had also been used in these houses. There were flat sheets of asbestos between the kitchen and bathroom and there were also sheets under the kitchen window behind the kitchen sink. In order to replace the wood, he had to remove the asbestos sheet using a tool called a square. On occasions, the sheet would break when pulling it out and this would release asbestos dust into the air. James* then just simply swept the dust up. He was not provided with any protective equipment and was not wanted about the dangers of asbestos.

Another way that James* was exposed to asbestos was when he was told to cut a little square out of ceiling times in various buildings to test for asbestos. He did not understand why he was doing this and was not informed about the dangers of asbestos. He would cut the square and crumble the material into a plastic bag to take back to the office so it could be sent off for sampling.


James* started to feel unwell in around November 2020 when he was struggling to breathe. He was taken to hospital by his wife and later had two litres of fluid drained from his lungs. The results from the fluid were inconclusive so he needed to have a biopsy and this took place in January 2021. He was later informed that he was suffering from an incurable cancer called mesothelioma. James* then began Immunotherapy in March 2021.


Although Laura had a supportive statement from James* detailing the asbestos exposure, she came across issues with trying to locate a Paymaster. James'* HMRC employment schedule listed an entity called “Zancourt Limited” which he did not recognise. Laura’s investigations revealed that this was in fact a society rather than a limited company that had been deregistered many years previously. There was no employers’ liability insurance for this entity but she was able to argue that the liabilities had probably been transferred to a well knowing housing society in the mid-1990s. Negotiations ensued and the case settled for a six figure sum within 6 months without the need to issue court proceedings.

The Client said “Thank you so much for all your help in getting this compensation.. We are both very grateful for all your hard work to get this for him when the employers’ liability could not be proved”.

*anonymised for client confidentiality

For more information about how the 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.