Posted by Jennifer Seavor, Partner
Family recover compensation against Ford Motor Company
Margaret McConnell was independent and active until early 2016 when she began to notice symptoms of shortness of breath feeling very tired. She developed a dry and persistent cough and attended her GP who referred her to the hospital. A …
Margaret McConnell was independent and active until early 2016 when she began to notice symptoms of shortness of breath feeling very tired. She developed a dry and persistent cough and attended her GP who referred her to the hospital. A chest x-ray was performed and showed fluid on Margaret’s lung. The fluid was drained, easing Margaret’s symptoms but she was then given the devastating news that she had developed mesothelioma.
Margaret was determined and positive. She decided to move in with her daughter Jan so she had the support she needed. Very sadly, Margaret’s condition deteriorated quickly and she passed away in November 2016.
Margaret instructed our specialist asbestos diseases solicitor, Jennifer Seavor, following her diagnosis and Jennifer was able to visit her at home to take a witness statement.
Initially, Margaret was unsure how she may have been exposed to asbestos but told Jennifer how she had always washed her late husband’s work overalls. Her husband had worked at Ford Motor Company in Dagenham, working on the assembly lines. Jennifer knew that asbestos was widely used in the motor production industry particularly in brake and clutch components. Jennifer thought that Margaret’s husband may have been exposed to asbestos whilst working for Ford and commenced the claim on this basis.
Margaret could remember her husband coming home from work in his overalls which were very dirty and dusty. She did not have a washing machine at the time, so would always shake out the overalls to remove some of the dirt and dust before washing, unknowingly releasing asbestos dust into the air around her. She would then use a rubbing board to clean the overalls by hand. She did this everyday, unaware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust.
Margaret’s husband had died many years earlier so was not able to tell us about his asbestos exposure. Jennifer therefore needed to obtain witness evidence to support the claim. When Margaret died Ford’s insurers would not accept the determination by the Coroner that Margaret’s death was due to mesothelioma as the pathologist who had undertaken the post mortem examination had not carried out special tests on the lung tissue to definitively confirm the diagnosis but everything else pointed towards it being mesothelioma. Jennifer therefore needed to obtain further pathological evidence to confirm that it was mesothelioma that Margaret had.
Once presented with this evidence Ford’s insurers agreed to enter in to negotiations regarding settlement and Margaret daughter Jan concluded her claim in October 2018 for over £70,000.
Jan said “I dealt with Jennifer Seavor who was excellent. Very efficient and professional. I always remember the day she visited my mum and how kind she was. I am so grateful for the amount of work Jennifer has put into this case”.
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