March 4, 2020

Family of former dockyard worker recover compensation following death from mesothelioma

During the first six months of his apprenticeship Douglas worked as a general labourer sweeping up dust and dirt on board ships.  A vast amount of asbestos was used on ships, including asbestos heating insulation, asbestos rope and asbestos lagging.  Lots of the older lagging was loose and in disrepair.  Workers would often make footballs out of the loose asbestos which they would kick and throw around.

Douglas was never warned about the dangers associated with asbestos and, during his 4 years working for the company, was not provided with any respiratory equipment to prevent him from inhaling asbestos fibres.

Douglas developed a cough in December 2015 and was referred for a chest x-ray which showed a large amount of fluid on his left lung. Further tests were carried out which led to Douglas’ diagnosis of mesothelioma in April 2016.  Douglas commenced chemotherapy in June 2016 but unfortunately deteriorated very quickly and sadly passed away in July.

Douglas’ wife approached Royds Withy King in 2017. Our specialist asbestos claims team was able to provide advice about pursuing a claim.

A Letter of Claim was sent to the Ministry of Defence, who now hold the liabilities for Chatham Dockyard and a detailed witness statement was taken from Douglas’s wife. Further witness statements were also obtained from other witnesses providing further evidence of the conditions at Chatham Dockyard.

Court proceedings were issued in late 2019 and negotiations were entered into with the Defendant.

The claim settled in the New Year for a sum in excess of £100,000.

Douglas's family commented that Royds Withy King "responded very quickly if we had any questions and nothing was any trouble for them at all."

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