Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Grandfather’s mesothelioma claim settles for over £100,000
W died of mesothelioma in August 2016. His conditions developed very quickly and he had no chance to seek legal advice or to make a full lifetime statement. However he described exposure to asbestos when he helped build the new JR hospital in Oxford.
W’s daughter instructed a union firm initially but she was dissatisfied with their lack of progress so sought a second opinion from Helen Childs of our specialist ID team. W’s employment history was obtained and this showed that at the time the JR was undergoing construction he was working for a building company that was no longer trading, and whose insurers could not be traced. Although the government introduced a fund of last resort to compensate individuals whose employers/their insurers cannot be traced, this is only possible for the individual themselves or their spouse/dependant partner. W was a single man, having separated from his daughters’ mother many years before, and raised them on his own.
W’s employment history also confirmed he had worked for a local brewery and for the hospital in Oxford direct. His daughter knew that as well as having worked in maintenance he had also been a hospital porter for a while.
Facebook appeals for witnesses were made, looking for anyone who had worked at either of these two places. One of the maintenance foremen from the hospital was kind enough to contact us. He gave very helpful evidence about the extent to which asbestos was used at the hospital, and the continual system of maintenance work that was carried out. He described there being no safety measures to protect workers, healthcare staff, or patients. Sometimes work would be done inside the wards and corridors themselves, which disturbed asbestos and generated dust. He said he couldn’t imagine anyone who worked at the hospital managing to avoid coming into contact with asbestos.
An offer in settlement was made to the defendants, but they did not respond. Proceedings were issued and served, and settlement was agreed at £105,000. This includes some money for Sobell House Hospice, in Oxford, who cared for W in his final weeks.
For a single person with no dependants, settlement would usually be around £75,000, but W’s grandsons both had special educational needs, and he was a very hands on grandfather when he saw them, and also used to assist financially. The family were delighted with the settlement, which means that some additional educational support can be arranged for one of the grandsons. However, the claim was never about the compensation for them. They had seen W suffer terribly, and had promised him they would do their best to pursue compensation.
If you have any questions for our specialist mesothelioma team, please contact us today.
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