Case Study: Gear Cutter Mesothelioma Claim

JMW successfully won a £210,000 settlement for a woman whose husband passed away due to consistent exposure to asbestos during his working years.

The Case

Mr W was exposed to asbestos during his work as a gear cutter, subsequently contracting mesothelioma. After he passed away, his wife decided to make a claim. Mrs W contacted JMW Solicitors where partner, Andrew Lilley, handled her case.

The Claim

Mr W trained in a factory as a gear cutter, finishing his career as a works manager. This meant he attend various buildings and factories and closed them down. He had visited boiler houses across several factory sites where exposure to asbestos would be likely, through boilers and asbestos-lagged pipework.

Gathering Evidence

Mrs W provided us with details of a potential witness; a former director of an organisation Mr W had worked for. She also gave us copies of the grant of probate and an interim death certificate, as well as information on what financial support Mr W had been receiving.

We requested copies of Mr W’s medical records from his GP surgery and employment records, as well as records from the hospital treating Mr W’s mesothelioma, which confirmed his death was due to the disease.

The witness provided us with a statement outlining Mr W’s exposure to asbestos. The witness told us how Mr W and he were exposed to asbestos in the factory they worked in as it was “simply everywhere” and no care was taken to protect employees.

Letter of Claim

Andrew then sent a letter of claim to Mr W’s main former employer, highlighting Mrs W’s intent to make a claim for her husband’s exposure to asbestos.

We did not receive a response to our letter, and had to research who the insurers of Mr W’s former employer were through the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and we managed to identify an appropriate insurer that had insured the organisation for most of the period Mr W had worked there.

Meanwhile, we instructed an independent consultant chest physician to provide a report on Mr W’s medical records. The medical report confirmed Mr W’s mesothelioma was most likely contracted as a result of his exposure to asbestos in his workplace.

Financial Issues

Andrew requested details from Mrs W regarding the couple’s joint income, her husband’s income, any benefit claims, copies of birth and marriage certificates and, as Mr W had passed away before he reached pension age, details of his pension forecast.

We used this information to prepare a draft Schedule of Loss, outlining all financial outlays Mr and Mrs W had made as a result of his illness, and sent copies of the medical report and the Schedule of Loss to the insurance company, who accepted responsibility for Mr W’s illness on behalf of his former employer.

There were issues surrounding the element of Mrs W’s claim focusing on what Mr W’s future earnings would have been, and therefore, Mrs W’s dependency on his income. Mr W had retired, but wanted to go back to work on a contract basis, something he ultimately couldn’t do because of his illness. He had also chosen to crystallise his pension because of his diagnosis. We decided to hire a specialist forensic account to ensure we made a fair assessment of what Mrs W should receive.

Final Settlement

To avoid the defendant’s insurer delaying the claim, Andrew issued court proceedings. We ensured all documents were in place, and updated the Schedule of Loss to reflect the information we had received from the forensic accountant, and detail Mrs W had provided us in her witness statement.

The insurance company again requested a meeting to discuss settlement of the case. They made an offer to settle the claim; however, Andrew felt it was too low, and advised Mrs W to make a counter-offer, which Mrs W was happy to do. After negotiation, we were able to secure a total award of £210,000, which Mrs W was delighted to accept.

Talk to Us

If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma during the course of a job (either current or previous), contact us on 0800 054 6570 or fill out a contact form to discuss with our experts whether you have a case to make a claim.

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