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Case Study: Plumber Claims After Contracting Mesothelioma
JMW helped a family secure a substantial £163,500 settlement following the death of a key family member due to his exposure to asbestos whilst he was working as a plumber.
Mr C, a retired plumber, was exposed to asbestos during his employment, where he worked on stripping asbestos-lagged boilers from various public and private properties. After visiting his local asbestos support group, he decided to make a claim and was put in touch with JMW Solicitors where Andrew Lilley, head of industrial disease, dealt with his case.
Mr C highlighted two plumbing companies for whom he had worked during the 1950s and 1960s/70s where his exposure had occurred. He provided us with a detailed witness statement that outlined the work he had undertaken, and that the asbestos-lined boilers he had worked with had been in varying states of repair, and that he had to work with these boilers without the correct safety equipment or asbestos disposal guidance.
We also obtained copies of Mr C’s employment history from HM Revenue and Customs and copies of his medical records, detailing Mr C’s mesothelioma diagnosis.
Establishing the Defendants
Mr C told us that one of his former colleagues had contracted mesothelioma and had since passed away from the disease. Andrew got in touch with his widow to ask for her help. He also sent a letter of claim to one of the defendants, whose details were readily available as the company was still trading and Mr C’s son worked for them. He requested this letter be forwarded to their insurer to deal with the claim.
Andrew also tried to trace Mr C’s other former employer. After much searching, he was unable to trace an insurer responsible for the company, and as the company had dissolved, the claim against them had to be dropped. The claim was therefore made against the supplier of the plumbing materials, rather than the company.
Gathering Supporting Evidence
Andrew asked an independent medical expert to provide a report on Mr C’s condition. The report supported the evidence from Mr C’s medical records.
We also asked Mr C to provide us with details of any financial losses he had suffered as a result of his illness. Andrew would use these to put together a Schedule of Loss: a document outlining Mr C’s financial losses, both past and future, as a result of the mesothelioma, which would help us work out how much compensation we should be seeking on his behalf.
The insurers of the company Mr C’s son worked for struggled for some time to establish an insurer to take responsibility for insuring the company at the time of Mr C’s exposure. But finally, a former insurer provided records showing they had insured the company for a period of time that Mr C had been employed and exposed.
Mr C’s Death
When we met Mr C, he was already quite ill as he was in his second year post-diagnosis. However, it was at this stage in the case that Mr C sadly passed away and Mr C’s claim passed to his wife, as the main beneficiary in his will. Andrew requested copies of Mr C’s death certificate and any documents available from the inquest. We also updated the Schedule of Loss with details of Mr C’s funeral and associated costs.
Andrew then sent the defendant’s insurer a copy of the Schedule of Loss and Mr and Mrs C’s medical records. The insurer agreed to make an interim payment to Mrs C whilst a final settlement was negotiated.
The insurer did not respond promptly and we therefore threatened to issue court proceedings, prompting the insurers to make an appropriate offer to settle the case, which Mr C’s family decided to accept.