Posted by Jennifer Seavor, Partner
Compensation recovered for former joiner diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening as a result of exposure to asbestos
John was diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening in 2018. Following his diagnosis, he contacted specialist asbestos diseases solicitor, Jennifer Seavor, at Royds Withy King.
John could recall being exposed to asbestos whilst working as a joiner for two different employers. He worked for W V Patrick (Builders) Limited between 1974/75 – 1975/76, working on a number of difference contracts. John could recall working on the refurbishment of an old telephone exchange. The job involved completely stripping out the building and all the telecommunication fittings. Lots of old insulation and cladding, which contained asbestos was removed, creating clouds of dust. Labourers would be sweeping up the dust, which was not dampened down first. John was not provided with any breathing protection or warned about the dangers of working with asbestos.
Later in his career, in around 1976/77, John worked for John Laing Construction Co Limited (now John Laing Limited). John worked for the company on a contract at Keighley Girls Grammar School and was tasked with hanging fire doors. He was working alongside plumbing and heating engineers who were carrying out repairs and maintenance to pipework. The pipework was lagged with asbestos, which had to be removed for the repairs to be carried out. This created lots of dust in the air around John.
Jennifer took a detailed witness statement from John regarding his exposure. Steps were then undertaken to obtain evidence for the claim, including reports from medical experts to confirm John’s diagnosis. A brief report was also obtained from an engineer regarding the likely level of asbestos exposure.
Letters of claim were sent to the two defendants and their insurers identified. It was necessary to start court proceedings in 2020 to move John’s claim forward. The Defendant’s raised issue with limitation which is the time limit for bringing the claim. This is because John had been diagnosed with pleural thickening in 2013. He had sought advice regarding pursuing a legal claim at the time but was told his condition was not significant enough. He did however receive some Government benefits at that time. The Defendants therefore contended his claim was out of time. However, after further negotiations the Defendants conceded and the claim settled for £50,000.