Laura acted for the family of Margaret* relating to her sad death due to asbestos related lung cancer in January this year.
Margaret’s breathing problems started over ten years ago. She had previously been diagnosed with obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema which are conditions that are not connected to previous asbestos exposure. She was also told that she was suffering with pleural plaques (scarring on the lungs due to previous asbestos exposure) and was concerned about her prior work with asbestos and had mentioned it to doctors. She had worked for three years at Cape Asbestos at Acre Mill, Hebden Bridge in the early 1960s.
Matters took a turn for the worse for Margaret in 2019. She had severe pain in her spine and abdomen and underwent several hospital investigations. She had appointments at the gastroenterology clinic as it was thought her problems were stomach related and one doctor also put her pain down to a trapped nerve. She had thought that she was suffering from cancer of the stomach but she deteriorated and went downhill very quickly, passing away in a hospice on 29 January.
Margaret’s family alerted the doctors to her previous asbestos exposure and so the matter was referred to the Coroner who decided a post mortem ought to be held. It was found that she was suffering from lung cancer and there was also asbestosis which had been present for 15 years although Margaret had not been aware of this. Margaret had been a heavy smoker over the years (having stopped in about 2003). The Coroner recorded her death as an industrial disease and that the cause was lung cancer.
As the family had contacted us after Margaret had passed away, no lifetime statement could be taken from Margaret about her time at Cape Asbestos. Nevertheless, Laura notified the claim and obtained a supportive medical report from a respiratory physician who was of the opinion that the lung cancer was asbestos related and that it brought about the death. Laura was able to negotiate a settlement with Cape at full value for £96,000 gross. The family kindly agreed to include the non-NHS hospice costs in the claim and the hospice that cared for Margaret during her final days received over £8,000 which Laura was able to recover on their behalf from Cape.
Margaret was just 76 years old when she died leaving behind many children and grandchildren who doted upon her. She will be sorely missed and whilst no amount of money can compensate the family for their loss, the family do feel relieved that Cape have settled the case within ten months and without the need to instigate Court proceedings.
*Client's names have been changed to protect confidentiality