Our client was employed at Vickers Shipyard in Barrow as an apprentice electrician between 1961 and 1974. He recalled working on various nuclear submarines commissioned for the Navy, during which time he was heavily exposed to asbestos. He would regularly be required to cable-up the submarines and often worked with plumbers and boilermakers, drilling through asbestos insulated bulkheads. Pipe fitters and laggers would also work alongside him cutting pre-formed asbestos blocks and mixing asbestos powder with water to form a paste which would be applied around and onto the pipework. These jobs were often carried out in a confined engine room and created a large amount of dust which our client could not help but breathe in.
Whilst this type of exposure was considered standard practice in the 1960’s it was certainly known that asbestos was dangerous as early as the 1930’s. Every effort should have been made to extract the harmful dust and protect employees. By 1965 it was widely reported that even small levels of asbestos exposure could cause mesothelioma, an incurable, asbestos related cancer.
In 1974 our client and his family emigrated to Canada. In 2019, some 45 years after he last worked with asbestos, he was sadly diagnosed with mesothelioma and passed away just months later at the height of the COVID Pandemic.
Although living in Canada, before he passed away our client was entitled to receive all the state benefits and payments any UK citizen would be able to claim including Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and a one off payment under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Scheme.
We were able to secure witness evidence from our client in his lifetime which allowed his widow to continue with a claim to seek compensation and provide financial peace of mind. Liability was admitted shortly after the claim was presented and the insurers for the company settled the claim for a significant sum, without the need for court proceedings to be commenced.
Steven Evans who dealt with the claim said “Dealing with cases such as this are always tragic as many asbestos related deaths could have been avoided and those left behind worry about their financial future without their loved ones. We are often instructed by victims of asbestos diseases who emigrated from the UK decades ago who are unsure whether they are able to claim for damages and UK Government benefits due to living overseas. We have been instructed by people in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Spain and France. I would urge anyone who might sadly find themselves in a similar position to contact us immediately so we can provide the expert advice and support you will need.”
Upon receiving the damages our client’s widow said “I want to extend my feelings of immense appreciation and gratitude for your honest and tireless efforts to recover compensation on my late husband’s behalf.
His focus after being diagnosed was to make sure I was financially secure and he would be very pleased to know that his time spent giving statements in his final weeks were rewarded with a settlement for me. In fact he would be delighted at the outcome because without your knowledge, skills and integrity none of it would have been possible.
I would like to thank you once again for your work and guidance at every stage of the matter.”