Compensation award for former telecommunications engineer from Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme

Boyes Turner’s specialist industrial disease team were instructed by Joseph* following his diagnosis of mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer.

Joseph had been exposed to asbestos dust while working for Sterdy Telephones, a telecommunications company in London in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He had joined Sterdy Telephones straight from school as an apprentice in telecommunications engineering. 

He worked in telephone exchanges where he was required to lay cables, many of which had asbestos insulation to protect them. He had to trim, strip and cut the cables to size.  When he cut into the insulation, this created dust which went on his hands and his clothes.

He had to drill holes into insulation panels, known as ‘Transite covers’, in order to install the wiring. These contained asbestos and, when Joseph drilled into them, dust would circulate. When he dragged the cables through the holes, this further disturbed the panels and created more dust.    

He also moved fire breakers, which were cloth bags filled with asbestos. He dragged them into place, which caused dust to fall out of the bags.  This would gather on the floor and be trodden in throughout the day, causing it to circulate further.  

We investigated Sterdy Telephones and discovered that they were dissolved many years ago.  We were unable to trace any employers’ liability insurance from Joseph’s time of employment. This is a common problem in asbestos cases because employers’ liability insurance was not mandatory until 1972. Even where a policy was in place at the time of our client’s employment, it can be hard to trace decades later, as there was no central database of insurance policies at this time. 

As there was no traceable insurer, we made an application under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, which was set up to compensate victims of mesothelioma who were negligently exposed to asbestos by uninsured employers. 

We took a detailed statement from Joseph which described his asbestos exposure at Sterdy Telephones, and we assisted him in completing the application form. The application was initially unsuccessful, as the administrators of the scheme felt that there was not enough evidence that our client was negligently exposed to asbestos. In order to satisfy the administrators’ concerns we traced a former Boyes Turner client who had also worked in telephone exchanges in the 1960s and 1970s and obtained his permission to use his statement from his former claim to help our client with his application. We took a further supplementary statement from Joseph setting out in detail how he was exposed to asbestos at Sterdy Telephones and obtained an opinion from an expert engineer, which supported the assertion that Joseph would have been negligently exposed to asbestos when working for Sterdy Telephones. Then we submitted a request for the administrators of the scheme to review their decision. They did so, overturning the previous decision, and awarded Joseph £179,091 gross compensation.

While no amount of money can make up for what Joseph and his family are going through, we were pleased that we were able to assist him at such a difficult time.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, we may be able to help.  Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email IDClaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion

*Client name changed for anonymity

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Claims client

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