Electrician exposed to asbestos on RAF bases receives £195,000 damages

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Electrician exposed to asbestos on RAF bases receives £195,000 damages

13th November 2015

A retired electrician who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos whilst working on RAF bases has received £195,000 in compensation.

The man – who is in his 60s – developed the cancer as a result of the work he carried out for various different companies over a period of more than 50 years. When he fell ill in 2011, he contacted Fentons Solicitors LLP. Bridget Collier, a partner with the firm and head of the specialist industrial disease department, took on the case.

“My client had taken early retirement and was planning to move house when he first became ill,” said Bridget. “He had been feeling run down for about a year before developing an ache in the back of his shoulder which didn’t go away.

“Then one day he went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and began to feel light-headed, as though he was going to black out. The next thing he remembered was waking up on the floor.”

Bridget said that after visiting his doctor, the man was referred for x-rays and tests and within just a matter of weeks had been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

“My client had left school at 15 and trained as an electrician, and then spent the rest of his career working in the field,” said Bridget. “The majority of his work was on RAF bases in and around East Anglia, and he had been exposed to asbestos whilst carrying out maintenance work all over the bases. For example his work in the boiler houses involved stripping out and refurbishing electrical cables – cables which were usually housed in the same areas where asbestos had been used to insulate pipes.

“He told me how every day whilst working he would be crawling through tunnels with asbestos–lagged pipes right next to him,” she said. “Although he was involved only in electrical work, he was working alongside other tradesmen who had been called in to work on the bases as part of ongoing maintenance or refurbishment programmes.

“He described how these other workers would pull down asbestos lagging whilst he was working alongside them and then apply further lagging.

“In particular he remembered working on one new project which was a flight simulator building,” said Bridget. “Other workers were spraying metal girders with asbestos insulation whilst he was working in the same building and dust particles covered everything. He was not given any protective equipment or any warning about what was going on.”

Bridget said although her client worked predominantly on the same bases, he did so for a number of different employers. “As the symptoms of mesothelioma can take such a long time to manifest – most cases develop many years if not decades after exposure to asbestos – the difficulty often lies in tracing a liable company,” she explained. “Fortunately we were able to locate two of thecompanies my client had worked for that were still trading, and we were quickly able to negotiate a settlement.

“Mesothelioma is a particularly cruel and insidious disease, for which there is no cure,” she said. “Although no amount of money can make up for what my client is now going through, this settlement means he can concentrate on dealing with his illness without worrying about his family’s future financial security.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related illnesses such as 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.