Mesothelioma victim's widow wins fight for justice

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Mesothelioma victim's widow wins fight for justice

18th March 2015

A widow whose husband died from mesothelioma after he was exposed to asbestos through his work in the 1970s has received more than £440,000 in an out of court settlement.

Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said her client took up the fight against her late husband’s former employers following his death in August 2010.

“My client’s husband first began feeling ill whilst on holiday in September 2009,” said Lesley, a partner with the firm. “In the weeks leading up to their trip her husband had been suffering with shortness of breath but had thought nothing of it. But, halfway through their holiday whilst they were out walking with their dog, he suddenly experienced severe chest pains and knew immediately there was something wrong.”

When the couple returned from holiday, the husband, who was in his 60s, went to his GP who referred him to hospital. Following an x-ray, he underwent an operation to drain several litres of fluid from his lungs and was diagnosed with mesothelioma that same month.

Throughout the 1970s, the claimant’s husband was employed by a shopfitting firm as a joiner.” His job involved putting up shop fronts and installing all the shop fixtures, fittings and staircases,” said Lesley. “He and his colleagues would use asbestolux insulation boards as fire cladding. The boards came in sheets of varying thicknesses and he would often have to drill and cut them to size on site using a wheel-brace and hand-saw respectively.

“This process would always generate a lot of dust and by the end of the day, the floors would be covered in harmful white asbestos fibres,” she added. “Everyone would muck in to clear the dust away but no-one was ever provided with any kind of protective equipment or breathing apparatus. Unsurprisingly, like so many of these types of industrial disease cases that we deal with, there was no extraction system and nothing to prevent workers from breathing in the asbestos dust they generated.”

Lesley said that following his diagnosis in September 2009, her client’s husband underwent major lung surgery and then chemotherapy. “Sadly, his health deteriorated rapidly following his diagnosis and over the next few months leading up to his death from mesothelioma in August 2010, he was looked after at home by his wife and children and continued to suffer increasing chest pains and breathlessness.

“It takes several decades following exposure to asbestos before any asbestos-related disease symptoms become apparent,” said Lesley. “This unfortunately means that once victims are diagnosed with diseases such as mesothelioma - which is known to be extremely aggressive - their health usually deteriorates very quickly. This can make finding insurers and former colleagues, who can verify that sufferers were exposed to asbestos often several years ago, extremely difficult.

“We were able to obtain just under £100,000 in interim payments prior to his tragic death,” she added, “and we are pleased that after my client took up the fight her husband started before he died, liability was admitted and his dependents have now been compensated for the pain and suffering he had to endure in the final months of his life.”

After liability was admitted, Lesley settled the claim on behalf of her client for £447,659.90 in April 2013.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestosis.

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.