Settlement victory for mesothelioma victim exposed to asbestos as a child

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Settlement victory for mesothelioma victim exposed to asbestos as a child

7th August 2015

The family of a woman who was unwittingly exposed to asbestos as a child whilst washing her father’s work overalls has received £110,000 in an out of court settlement.

The London woman, who was in her 60s, sadly died from mesothelioma in August last year, just four months after starting her claim against her late father’s former employers and more than 40 years after she was first exposed to asbestos.

Peter Olszewski, a specialist industrial disease lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP, who represented the woman’s family after her death, said that from the early 1930s up until the mid 1970s, the woman’s father had worked as a pipe-lagger at a south London power station.

“His job involved mixing asbestos powder with water to form a lagging paste which he would then apply to pipework within the power station,” said Peter. “Unfortunately, there were no showers or laundry facilities on site which meant that everyday he would come home with his overalls covered in asbestos dust.

“As a young girl, the woman was extremely close to her father and would often meet him at the end of his shift and walk him home,” he added. “She specifically remembered how dirty his overalls were each day and how much dust there would always be on his hands, face and hair. When they got home, he would stay in his asbestos-covered overalls to eat his dinner while she would sit in his lap cuddling him as he ate.

“After he had finished eating, the woman’s father would have his bath while his wife and daughter would hand-wash his dirty overalls in an annex off the kitchen,” said Peter. “After first shaking off as much dust from his overalls as possible, they would then scrub them against a corrugated washboard before putting them out in the garden to dry. As she grew older the woman began washing her father’s overalls herself and she continued to do so every night up until her father retired from his job in 1971.”

In the late 1980s, the woman’s father became extremely ill and was diagnosed with Asbestosis. In the months leading up to his subsequent death he was looked after at home by his daughter.

“In October 2011, the woman started suffering chest pains, coughing and breathlessness when she attended an exercise class with a friend,” said Peter. “After seeing her doctor, she underwent a number of tests which revealed a build-up of fluid in her lungs. Following two operations to drain the fluid from her chest a biopsy in November 2011 confirmed she was suffering with the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

“Knowledge of her condition came as a huge shock and proved incredibly distressing to her and her family,” he added. “Although she knew asbestos was harmful due to her father’s illness and subsequent death from Asbestosis she never thought she was at risk as she had never worked with the material herself.

Over the next few months despite undergoing both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the claimant’s health deteriorated rapidly and she continued to suffer with increasing breathlessness, chest pains and weight loss. “In the months leading up to her death in August last year she was extremely ill and because she was bedridden and in considerable pain she relied entirely on the care and support of her husband and family for help with all her day-to-day needs.

“Mesothelioma is an extremely painful and debilitating illness and although no amount of money can possibly hope to compensate the family for the tragic loss of a loving mother and wife, it is hoped that the settlement they have now received will help as they continue to move on with their lives.”

After liability was admitted, Peter settled the claim on behalf of the woman’s family for £110,000, including more than £29,000 in interim payments, in July 2013.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?         

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.