Posted by Rachel James, Senior Associate
Successful lung cancer claim for Durasteel worker
Rachel was instructed by William and his family following his diagnosis with lung cancer. William, who liked to be known as Bill, had always been quite a light smoker and had given up smoking in the early 1980s, prior to the Falklands War.
When he was a very young man he had worked at the Durasteel asbestos factory from mid 1949 until he was made redundant nearly two years later. His first job at the Durasteel factory in Greenford saw him working on a drilling machine, drilling holes in roof tiles. Bill also did lots of overtime while working in the factory which always involved operating the asbestos sheet press which pressed wet asbestos sheets into a flat asbestos board before it dried. After 5 months, Bill’s job changed in the factory when he was taken on as an electricians mate in the maintenance team. The electricians were based very close to the hopper, where raw asbestos powder was poured in to be mixed into asbestos paste that was used by all of the machines. Bill working close by was often completely covered in dust. He was frequently asked to help carry hessian sacks of raw asbestos powder into the factory when deliveries arrived, which happened on a daily basis.
Bill’s job also involved working on the maintenance of the factory, but mainly maintaining the machines that were used to produce asbestos materials. One of the big problems in the factory was that these machines would get their motors clogged up with asbestos dust and fibres. Bill would have to take the sides off the machines and blow out the asbestos dust with an airline on a frequent basis. This was a continual job in the factory as there were lots of machines to be serviced several times a month to stop them from blocking. The factory itself was incredibly dusty because of all of the raw asbestos powder used in the manufacture of products and then the asbestos given off by the cutting drilling mixing and flattening processes to make the asbestos products.
Initially after his diagnosis, Bill stayed at home to be close to his wife, who was in a care home having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, as his condition progressed, he became increasingly weak and frail. Around 12 months after being diagnosed, Bill developed pneumonia and suffered a nasty fall. He took a very long time to recover from the pneumonia and felt that he was too unwell to look after himself at home anymore, even with the help of paid carers. When he retired, Bill had moved to Derby with his wife, but most of his daughters still lived in the North West London area so he didn’t have any other support.
Several months after he had been diagnosed, and when he felt no longer able to care for himself, he wanted to be closer to his daughters and his grandchildren. Bill decided he would move into a residential care home that had the capacity to care for him as his condition deteriorated.
Bill was able to recover his care home costs for the time that he had left as well as recovering damages for his asbestos induced lung cancer and also for the care that he had already received. Bill’s case settled for £105,000.
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease and require further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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