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Archive | Occupational Disease Opinion
Significant asbestos exposure over four month period more than 50 years ago leads to diagnosis of asbestosis

Working in the shipbuilding industry in the North East as a joiner, our client instructed us following a diagnosis of pleural thickening and asbestosis several decades later.

His exposure to significant amounts of asbestos was identified as having taken place during a four month stint in 1954 when he worked in excess of 10 hour days working with asbestos delivered in bales.

Exposure to asbestos in a school classroom – was the writing on the wall?

It has been revealed by a BBC investigation that a significant £10 million has been paid out to those who have suffered an illness as a result of exposure to asbestos in a school.

Most commonly associated with industrial buildings and environments, asbestos was in fact widely used in a wide range of buildings including hospitals, schools and houses, and was often used for its fireproof properties up until all forms of this mineral were banned in 1999.

North East shipbuilding legacy leads to region having highest number of asbestos related deaths

The North East of England has been identified as having the highest number of asbestos related deaths in the country due to the area’s centuries old shipbuilding heritage. This will also affect other industrial areas across the country.

According to a study by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, the region has a higher than average number of deaths due to exposure to the substance. The average asbestos related deaths in England is 4.51 for every 100,000 people.

Widow seeks compensation for her husband who died from lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure

We recently represented the widow of a man who worked as a boiler man in power stations from the mid 1960’s. His job involved maintaining and repairing boilers and removing lagging and refractory materials.

He also repaired pipes, valves and lagging and often worked in small, poorly ventilated and confined areas with no protection provided by his employer. Despite the areas he worked in being filled with asbestos, he was never provided with any warnings of the potential risks involved.

Asbestos is only harmful if disturbed and inhaled and in these circumstances our client’s husband had been exposed to significant quantities of the substance as his job often required him to cut and remove pipes disturbing the material along the way.

Asbestos exposure leads to a diagnosis of mesothelioma for demolition worker

Our client came to us in his 70s having been diagnosed with the cancer mesothelioma. Several decades previously in the late 1960s to the late 1970s, he had worked as a demolition worker in a rubber factory in the Lancashire region where his work involved breaking apart cement roofs composed of asbestos.

In the course of his work he was subjected to significant quantities of the harmful substance, which was banned in 1999, as his employer had failed to both adequately ventilate the areas he worked in or to provide protective respirators.

With less than a year to live, we pursued his claim against two defendants the first of which alleged that he had been seconded for a period of time to the second defendant, something that our client did not recall.

Overcoming the challenges faced with low exposure asbestos claims

It has become common for some asbestos claims to be defended on the basis that low exposure to the material did not create a foreseeable risk of injury. When we’re dealing with these types of claims, the defendants often argue that they did not breach their duty to the employee whose health has been significantly affected as a result.

Even in circumstances when we have evidence to prove that a client’s illness has in fact been caused by exposure to asbestos during the course of their employment several decades earlier, some defendants will rely on a guidance document called the Technical Data Note 13 (TDN 13) to avert responsibility.

Government u-turn on court fees for mesothelioma claims is a welcome step, but more needs to be done for asbestos victims

Earlier this month, legal action brought by the Asbestos Victims Support Group resulted in the government deciding that individuals exposed to asbestos, and suffering the cancer mesothelioma as a result, would be exempt from paying newly introduced court fees in certain cases.

While on the face of it this appears a victory, and hailed a ‘landmark decision’, the reality is that only a minority of those affected by this serious illness will have the newly introduced court charges waived.

The support group argued that the fees were unfair to those affected by mesothelioma, and won, or so it seems, except for the fact that most meso sufferers will not be eligible for the exemption due to a relatively low threshold.

Six figure settlement secured following a death related to asbestos exposure

Awareness of the hazardous health effects of asbestos exposure has heightened in recent years. Thankfully, changes in legislation mean that the material is no longer used and in any event, asbestos is only dangerous if it’s disturbed allowing dangerous dust fibres to disburse.

The risks of asbestos in relation to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, have been known since the 1950s and 1960s however, the material was still widely used for a range of building insulation purposes until the late 1970s and only banned as recently as 1999.

We successfully won a six figure settlement for an 81 year old client who sadly died from mesothelioma just six weeks after instructing us suspecting that his illness was due to asbestos exposure during his career as a firefighter in the Midlands region.

Asbestos in schools – lessons learned

Recent headlines stating that 90% of schools in the Lancashire region contain asbestos are shocking at first. There is a growing awareness of the ongoing presence of asbestos in lots of different types of buildings and the dangers of exposure.

Asbestos was most commonly found in industrial environments such as factories or construction sites, so the knowledge that asbestos was also widely used in the building of schools will be a surprise to many.

More victims of asbestos related diseases to receive compensation following landmark ruling

A recent court case has improved the chances of many people being compensated for asbestos related diseases – even if they didn’t work directly with the toxic substance.

The Supreme Court ruled that the mesothelioma victim, who had worked as a lorry driver in the mid to late 50’s, should receive compensation – a week after his death from the illness.

The Devon man had been exposed to asbestos during his duties picking up waste products from Battersea Power Station and had previously had his claim dismissed in a trial in Bristol. Following an appeal, he was awarded compensation because he had regularly gone into areas of the plant where asbestos dust was generated.

High Court decision defends the rights of asbestos victims

Victims of asbestos related illnesses have regained their rights to receive full compensation following a decision handed down by the High Court on Thursday 2nd October.

The Government brought in legal changes in April 2013 which meant that victims of asbestos related illnesses, including mesothelioma, should pay up to 25% of their compensation to cover costs which had previously been paid by insurance companies.

The High Court ruled that the Government could not proceed with abolishing the recoverability of success fees and insurance premiums in mesothelioma cases.

Asbestos victims’ rights are, and should, be protected

There has been a lot of recent media coverage about asbestos claims – specifically relating to a Government review into how mesothelioma claims are dealt with.

This mostly relates to deductions being made from individual’s much needed compensation. It was planned that some elements of the legal costs of pursuing the claim in the first place should also come out of the final settlement, but this has now thankfully been shelved.

If at first you don’t succeed….why the devil is in the detail in order to win an asbestos related claim

Sadly, for those who are now experiencing illness as a result of exposure to asbestos going back several decades, it has become harder to secure the deserved asbestos related claim as insurance companies become increasingly litigious.

With a growing number of claims being fought, and won, by the insurance sector on a technical basis, it’s important to know that this is not the end of the road and these fortunes can be turned with persistence and the help of the right specialist.

Is my solicitor hearing what I am saying? Why choosing the right solicitor is crucial to noise induced hearing loss claims

Hearing loss is defined by the dictionary as deafness; partial or complete loss of hearing, choosing the right solicitor is crucial to noise induced hearing loss claims. We experience everyday noise in our daily lives which ranges from sounds from the television and household appliances to traffic noise.  Generally, these sounds are at a safe…

Fear of asbestos exposure at allotments

This week the Lancashire Telegraph revealed how plots at Darwen’s only allotment site will not be let out for fears of asbestos exposure. With allotment plots in high demand, many local residents are said to be frustrated at the news that the empty plots will not be made available until a full site survey is…

Action Mesothelioma Day 2013

Today (Friday 5 July) is Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD) 2013.  Each year hundreds of people gather in cities across the UK to raise awareness of mesothelioma, to call for better treatment and care for sufferers and to prevent exposure to asbestos, both here in the UK and in developing countries. Caused by exposure to asbestos,…