Posted by Emily Barratt, Solicitor
Compensation secured for painter and decorator diagnosed with mesothelioma within three months of instruction
Emily Barratt, solicitor in our specialist asbestos disease team was instructed by a client from Swindon in March 2020 following his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Instructions were received from the client during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and so all communication had to take place via telephone, instead of a face-to-face visit as usual.
Mr H had been exposed to asbestos whilst working for Pope Brothers in Swindon as a painter/decorator in the 1960s. Mr H could recall rubbing down pipework which had been lagged with asbestos and working alongside other tradesmen who were using asbestos products.
Mr H also remembered working on a one off lagging job himself for the company when his usual painting and decorating work reduced. On this job, Mr H insulated a large boiler and its associated pipework with asbestos lagging. He mixed asbestos powder with water to create a paste which could be applied to the boiler and pipework. Mr H described the clouds of asbestos dust that were created by mixing up the asbestos paste. At the end of the day, he swept up the residual dust and any dry paste which had fallen to the floor, causing the asbestos dust and fibres to re-circulate in the air.
Mr H began to notice breathing difficulties in early 2020. He was referred to his local hospital who discovered that he had fluid on his lung. After further investigations, he was given the devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma.
At the time of the onset of his symptoms, Mr H owned and ran a successful car hire business. Due to his symptoms, he had to stop working for the company which he had built up.
Emily took a detailed witness statement from Mr H over the phone and started investigating the claim. To provide quick financial assistance, Emily was also able to assist Mr H in applying for government benefits to which he was entitled as a result of his diagnosis.
Investigations into Pope Brothers revealed that the company was dissolved. An insurance search was submitted, but no insurance could be traced for the period of Mr H’s employment. Unfortunately this meant that no legal claim could be pursued, as there was no-one to pursue the claim against or meet the requirement to pay compensation.
However, Emily advised Mr H about the government Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS), which is in place to offer some compensation to those who are unable to make a legal claim for mesothelioma if the company responsible for their exposure is dissolved and the insurer cannot be traced.
Emily prepared an application to the scheme and was successful. Sadly, shortly after confirmation was received that the application had been successful Mr H passed away. He was cared for by his loving family and had the reassurance that his wife would receive the compensation to alleviate any financial worries after his lifetime.
Despite the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic Emily was able to successfully secure compensation for Mr H within three months of his first instructions. Mr H’s family said:
“From the time I rang to get advice on compensation to receiving the compensation, Emily from Royds Withy King has been extremely professional and compassionate. Thank you Emily for making this such a smooth & quick process for my family who were already having to come to terms with the horrific diagnosis of Mesothelioma. I highly recommend Royds Withy King!”