Mr K was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is cancer of the lining of the lungs considered to be only caused by asbestos exposure.
Mr K believed he had been exposed to asbestos during his employment at a timber merchants from 1960-1981. At these merchants, he described how asbestos was used when making fire proof doors. He said that circular saws were used to cut asbestos sheets which caused asbestos dust to disburse in the air. Mr K believed that he had inhaled the asbestos dust during his time working at the merchants.
Despite Mr K providing very detailed evidence about his exposure, those representing his former employers fought the case hard. Sadly, Mr K succumbed to his injuries before his case finished. However, his family were keen to pursue the case and get justice for him. In addition, Mr K’s widow had relied on the day-to-day care he provided her as she was ill herself. This made it all the more necessary for the family to pursue the case to support their mother.
One of the claims made by those representing the timber merchants was that it was a small outfit that only manufactured so called ‘30 minute’ fire doors which they argued did not contain asbestos. They sought to rely on a High Court ruling last year which also related to asbestos exposure arising from the manufacture of fire doors. Unfortunately, the sufferer in that case was unsuccessful in proving the levels of exposure he was subjected to were sufficient to amount to negligence.
Despite this ‘legal precedent’, Mr K’s legal team were able to obtain a successful settlement for his family.
When challenged, the defence were unable to provide any evidence to support their contention that the company was just a small outfit which did not manufacture asbestos fire doors. In fact, the detailed investigations of Mr K’s legal team suggested they were a large organisation that operated from several factory premises.
When these and various other arguments were put to the legal team for the timber merchants, they eventually agreed to settle out of court which meant the family received a six-figure sum by way of compensation.
“Over the last five years, we have seen a pattern of defendants defending claims more strenuously even where the evidence of exposure is quite strong.
“As most of these cases eventually settle, it is difficult to understand why no agreement is reached earlier. The longer a case goes on the more upsetting it is for the person diagnosed as well as their family.
“I sincerely hope this practice will change in future and I am pleased we were able to reach a successful settlement for Mr K’s family.”