Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Settlement for medical student who worked with asbestos during the holidays
Mr N, who was born in Nigeria in 1938, came over to England in the 1960s and started studying to become a doctor. He only had partial funding so had to work throughout all of his holidays in order to support himself. He worked at Johnson Matthey and also Atlas Stone.
Whilst at medical school he met his wife, Jo S, and they married in 1963.
Many years later, when Mr N was living in London, he developed many health issues including problems with his memory and increasing frailty. After being found collapsed in the street investigations revealed that he had a likely malignancy, although he was too frail to undergo a biopsy. He moved to be with Dr S, his wife, who cared for him throughout his illness. They instructed Royds Withy King, who visited him at home and took a statement from him detailing everything he could remember about his previous employment. He recalled tipping powder into a giant machine to mix it into a paste at Atlas Stone, which made asbestos products. Even though he was employed there in the 70s, he was not given any warnings or protective equipment. A lot of students from nearby Cambridge University worked there. He also described likely exposure to asbestos at Johnson Matthey, where he and other students had also worked.
Letters of claim were sent and medical evidence obtained. Sadly Mr N died in August 2017, and the inquest confirmed in November that he had mesothelioma. A claim was commenced against Atlas Stone who admitted responsibility and settled the claim for a substantial five figure sum. Dr S was not financially dependent on Mr N so the claim was limited to damages for Mr N’s pain suffering loss of amenity, a bereavement award and the funeral costs together with the care and assistance provided during his illness.
The claim settled for a substantial five figure sum and after settlement Dr S said:
“I fell in with your firm on a referral to Helen. She is also well known and respected by the Mesothelioma charity in Manchester, to whom I was referred by a friend who had several colleagues (in the construction trade) who died from this disease. A lesser lawyer might fall into the traps set for those seeking redress, but not Helen. She is also compassionate to a fault. We were blessed to find her. I am setting up a fund in my husband’s name. The entire yield of the invested sum will go yearly to where we feel it can do most good”
If you want to find out more about making an industrial diseases compensation claim, please contact our specialist team.
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