Damages victory five decades after asbestos exposure

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Damages victory five decades after asbestos exposure

18th June 2010

A Preston pensioner who developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos as an apprentice during the 1950s has received more than £160,000 in compensation.

The 72-year-old, who asked not to be named, worked as an engineer with Leyland Motors from 1953 until 1958. Exposed to asbestos during the work he did as a teenager, it was more than five decades before the asbestos severely affected his health and led to him developing mesothelioma.

"My client was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a painful cancer which affects the lungs and is nearly always caused by exposure to asbestos fibres," said Susan Dawson, an industrial disease specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP.

"Following his work at Leyland Motors and his National Service, my client never returned to engineering, instead pursuing a successful career in the public sector. But in 2006 he developed a cough, pains in his chest, and started to feel very tired," she said. "After various treatments and tests he was still no better, and on 10 June last year, he was diagnosed."

The pensioner made an appeal in the local press for any former colleagues who might remember the working conditions from the 1950s to come forward.

"I started my apprenticeship at the North Works Site in Leyland, where I made and repaired vehicle parts for buses and lorries," he said. "My work included producing parts, stampings and drop forgings, and I would also repair faulty vehicle parts.

"In late 1954 I was transferred to the Farington site, where I worked in the maintenance department and the foundry," he said. "There was pipe work all over the foundry, running up and around the outer walls, along gantry supports, and to the furnaces and the machinery. I remember being told that all of this pipe work was lagged with asbestos.

"On most days I would be working next to, or underneath asbestos lagged pipes - they were everywhere. The foundry was extremely dusty and dirty," he said.

Miss Dawson said she received numerous calls following the appeal, including some from people who thought they might be able to help the pensioner's case.

"It can take many years after exposure to asbestos before any related disease becomes apparent, which can make finding witnesses to support a case very difficult," said Miss Dawson.

"Thankfully we were able to get hold of sufficient evidence that my client's claim was not disputed, and the insurers settled the case for just over £162,000."

"Although no amount of compensation can help cure my client's health problems, it will allow him and his family to secure the help they need to deal with his condition," said Miss Dawson.

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

Coverage - Lancashire Evening Post