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Written on 12th January 2021 by Laura Magson

Laura acted for Mr B’s family after Mr B sadly passed away due to Mesothelioma in January 2018. The claim had been pursued by another law firm who unfortunately did not think that there were sufficient prospects of success to continue with the claim and issue Court proceedings.

It was undoubtedly a difficult case. There was no lifetime statement from Mr B, but he had told the family that he had worked at a power station when he was a painter and decorator in the 1960s. Laura had pursued the painting company previously. Although they were dissolved, we were able to trace the Employers’ Liability insurers for the period that Mr B was there. His employment history from HMRC implied that he was only at the painting company for around six months or less, but nevertheless Laura persisted with the claim.

Mr B was also convinced that his major asbestos exposure was for an air conditioning company that he was employed by in recent times when he came across asbestos in a school that he was working in. He mentioned the possible school exposure to doctors and it appeared in his medical notes. He did not mention to the doctors that he was also exposed to asbestos as a painter and decorator at a power station in the 1960s. He also wrote that about the possible school exposure on application forms for benefits.

Laura worked very closely with the family to obtain supportive witness statements from people that worked at the power station in question during the period that Mr B was there. Laura took statements from a number of people who were able to say that they had seen painters and decorators from Mr B’s employer coming into contact with asbestos. He said that laggers were on scaffold and they were required to lag pipes that ran from the boiler to the turbine with asbestos which came in pre-formed sections and also in powder form. The laggers had to cut the asbestos to fit and the powdered asbestos rained down on to the painters who worked below them. The painters also had to paint the steel work, but they needed to brush any asbestos dust from the pipes before painting them.

Laura also spoke to people at the air conditioning company to gather further information about the possible job at the school in recent years to discount that line of enquiry. Proper precautions were taken to remove the asbestos.

Where someone has passed away, a Claimant has three years from the date of death to issue a claim in the Court. Limitation was fast approaching (Laura was only instructed in the summer of 2020) and Laura was preparing to issue proceedings. The insurers for the painting company admitted liability and made an interim payment in November 2020 and the family were delighted that the offer that was put forward in the sum of £175,000 was accepted without the need to issue formal Court proceedings.

Mr B was at the heart of his family and will be sorely missed. He had very close relationships with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and helped them out in many areas of their lives. Whilst no amount of money can compensate Mr B’s family for their loss, his widow and wider family are delighted that the case was expedited to conclusion without the need to issue formal Court proceedings, especially when another law firm turned the case down quite close to limitation.
Mr B’s family want to thank the witnesses for coming forward to assist with the case. Without their supportive statements and ongoing assistance, the outcome would be different and the widow is delighted that their assistance has brought about the financial support that she will need so she does not need to worry about the future.

Laura said “I am delighted to have been able to help Mr B’s family who were understandably very emotional about pursuing a legal claim. The only known cause of Pleural Mesothelioma is previous asbestos exposure. There was no doubt that Mr B had been exposed to asbestos during this time at the power station, there was just no lifetime evidence to support this. There were also no witnesses from the employer who were able to assist. It was only through the hard work of the family and local witness appeals that brought forward people that had worked at the power station during the period in question that elicited a turnaround so that the case had sufficient prospects of success. I was able to put pressure on the Defendants with limitation fast approaching. Many procedural steps needed to be undertaken in the background such as the restoration of the company which had been dissolved and obtaining supportive medical evidence, but I am delighted that a successful conclusion has been brought about for the family and that our offer was accepted.”

Mr B’s daughter said: “I think you already know how thankful I am for your support, knowledge and guidance. You listened and gave me a chance when other’s wouldn’t. Your expertise has relieved me of two very heavy burdens. My promise to my Dad has been kept and more than met. My financial worries for my mum have also been removed. These two things have been life changing to carry and now life changing to lose.”