£250,000 compensation recovered for warehouse worker with mesothelioma

Boyes Turner's expert asbestos claims lawyers were instructed by Mr O who had, for the major part of his career, worked in sales and administration with no exposure to asbestos. Mr O did however recall working for Freemans when he was a teenager at their warehouse in Charlton, South East London and recalled exposure to asbestos during that time.

Mr O, a 62 year old married man was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in January 2011. 

The only exposure to asbestos he could recall was whilst working in a warehouse in the late 1960s. The warehouse had a pitched roof with steel beams which had been sprayed with a fireproof coating which Mr O thought was asbestos. Mr O could recall the beams being accidentally knocked by stock as it was lifted up on forklift trucks to be stored on high level shelving, seeing dust on boxes and lumps of the coating which had come away from the beams lying on the floor. He recalled picking sections of the coating up from the floor and disposing of it.

Once Boyes Turner was instructed by Mr O, proceedings were brought against Freemans Plc in the High Court. The company defended the claim on the basis that at the time of Mr O’s employment the knowledge of the dangers of asbestos exposure was increasing and whilst it was known that exposure to low levels of asbestos could cause injury; it was not known that any exposure, however slight could cause mesothelioma.

Mr O’s evidence was taken at an informal hearing and a supportive report obtained from an expert engineer who confirmed that on the balance of probabilities the coating on the beams in the warehouse was asbestos and it was damaged causing asbestos fibres to become airborne. The engineer also confirmed that the level of exposure may have exceeded the legal guidelines at the time and that there were a number of common sense measures that the company could have undertaken to prevent the exposure.

After 18 months the company admitted liability and the case settled for £250,000, a month prior to the listed trial date.

This case was unusual as the claim was for a relatively young man who was still working at the time of diagnosis. He had not ever worked directly with asbestos himself however could recall working in a dusty warehouse for Freemans. Whilst the claim was defended by Freemans, Boyes Turner were able to obtain the evidence needed to prove the claim and settlement was agreed out of court during Mr O’s lifetime.

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.

Boyes Turner client

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