Victory at last for family of asbestos victim

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Victory at last for family of asbestos victim

18th November 2010

The family of a builder who died after developing mesothelioma through his work has received £125,000 in compensation.

Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that the man, who died in October 2007 aged 66, had been fit and healthy until the asbestos he had been exposed to during his building work led to him developing the painful cancer.

"He first started suffering chest problems in 2002, when he fell ill during a holiday in Spain," said Miss Mynett, an associate with the firm. "His symptoms became so bad that he was admitted to hospital while abroad. It was clear that he had a respiratory infection and he was diagnosed with bronchitis by the Spanish doctors."

Miss Mynett said that he made a good recovery from this illness, and over the next four or so years he suffered nothing more than the usual coughs and colds. "He had no call to seek any GP or hospital treatment during that period, and his family recall he didn't have any time away from work as a result of any illnesses either," she said.

But in early 2007, he began to suffer again from chest problems. "He began to find that he couldn't get his breath and for many weeks he had what was described as a rattling cough," said Miss Mynett. "Upon seeing a GP, he was diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics. But he never really got over this infection and his health continued to deteriorate, to the point that he was given some inhalers to help ease his breathing problems."

By the beginning of July 2007, Miss Mynett said he was feeling and looking very ill. "He was referred by his GP to his local hospital, where he underwent some chest x-rays," she said. "Following a CT scan he was admitted to hospital and told that he had fluid on his lungs and there was a possibility that his condition was lung cancer."

Miss Mynett said the man was released from hospital but re-admitted just weeks later for a biopsy. "Radiotherapy treatment was recommended, but unfortunately he passed away before radiotherapy could begin."

Miss Mynett represented the man's widow and two sons at the inquest which followed, where the Coroner recorded a verdict of death caused by industrial illness.

"The family explained that he undertook a very wide variety of building work throughout his working life, specialising in plastering and artexing," said Miss Mynett. "He worked on both new build and renovation projects for a local building firm, including taking part in some commercial refits. One of the main jobs that he once described was the ripping out of old artex ceilings in many of the buildings where he worked. He would then mix fresh artex and apply it to the ceilings."

Miss Mynett said he would have been unaware of the asbestos content of artex until the 1980s. "His family can recall one very specific job where he had undertaken to strip out one of the factories to make way for a new bakery. Together with his colleagues, he would remove the ceilings, the asbestos-lagged pipe work and parts of corrugated asbestos roofing," she said. "It was an extremely dirty, dusty and nasty job, and he and his colleagues would finish the day covered in asbestos dust and fibres."

The building firm's insurers admitted liability and following lengthy negotiations, Miss Mynett settled the claim in October 2010 for £125,000.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

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.