01 August 2022

Making a claim against a previous employer for asbestos exposure

Ruth Craven Senior Associate
Scrap pile of asbestos

Mr Y received a diagnosis of mesothelioma at the age of 66, a condition which is caused by asbestos exposure.

Mr Y was employed in the maintenance department at a law firm at the time of his diagnosis. Our expert took a detailed history of his employment from the age of 15 when he left school to identify where he might have been exposed. It was identified that he was almost certainly exposed by his current employer who, approximately 14 years earlier, had asked him to remove lagging from the boiler and pipes in the basement of their building. From the description provided by Mr Y, it was highly likely the lagging contained asbestos.

Mr Y felt that the firm had been good employers and as such he had some reservations about bringing a claim. Once he understood that the claim was against his employer, but that their insurance would cover the cost of the damages he felt much more comfortable in pursuing the claim.

Our expert took a detailed witness statement from Mr Y detailing his recollection of exposure. The witness statement was sent to the defendant, together with a letter of claim detailing the allegations. The defendants denied liability and court proceedings were subsequently issued.

Despite having a terminal illness, Mr Y’s main concern was for his partner who, during the course of the claim, was advised that as a result of a longstanding chronic illness she would need a below knee leg amputation. Mr Y was devastated that he would not be around to take care of his partner. We therefore instructed a care expert to ensure that the cost of care for his partner could be built into the claim so she would be financially secure after his death.

Our expert referred Mr Y to a colleague in the Wills department to ensure all of his affairs were in order. Mr Y sadly passed away before the conclusion of the claim, which settled out of court for a sum in excess of £200,000, ensuring that Mr Y’s partner would be financially secure for the rest of her life. 

Additionally a trust was set up to ensure her benefit entitlement was not adversely effected by the damages.

Ruth Craven, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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