Asbestos and coal dust claim win for power station worker

A power station worker with asbestos and coal dust disease has won five figure provisional damages in a case which might help others.

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Read how we helped a retired power station worker suffering due to exposure to coal and asbestos dust and how we got over the hurdles to his claim.

Power Station asbestos and coal case – the facts

Our client Mr B was born in 1949.  He had a variety of jobs in the building industry in his earlier working life. From 1977 to 1982 he worked at Ferrybridge C power station in the coal plants and plant driving. In this job he was exposed to the coal at the site all day long. He then moved from 1982 to 1985 to work at Drax Power Station as part of the maintenance team. In this job he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres and some pulverised fuel (PF) dust.

Mr B had been a smoker but had given up recently.

After retirement Mr B started to notice that his breathing was suffering.  First of all he applied for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. He was given an award of 10% for D9 – Diffuse Plueral Thickening. He asked us to look into a claim for compensation.

power station

Thousands of power station workers have been exposed to coal and asbestos dust

Asbestos and coal dust – the medical work

When starting work on his case it was clear that Mr B’s chest health was more complicated than first thought. We looked at his medical history and his work life as well. The exact cause and root of his breathing problems was not clear.  We approached a leading chest doctor to ask about the effects of the coal dust and the asbestos exposure.

The doctor thought at first that the complex picture made it hard to draw out and blame any disability due to the coal dust or asbestos. Whilst Mr B had been given benefit the test for a claim for compensation is more strict. To make sure this claim did not get challenged she thought some further investigations were needed or the case might not succeed.

What happened next?

We had seen Mr B and our view was that he was clearly disabled and this needed looking into.  We made arrangements for further scans. In addition we organised lung function tests to find out the true situation.

In 2018 armed with this information we went back to the medical expert. The pieces of the jigsaw were put together and she was able to look at this again. The expert found that the Mr B was 20% disabled. Of this COPD was causing 15% disability and a further 5% was due to the asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening.

And then to the Defendant

Because we had this evidence we went with this solid and robust evidence and put it to the defendants.  We had to issue court proceedings under the three-year limitation rules which meant defendant solicitors were involved. They quickly saw that this was a solid case and we quickly agreed five figure provisional damages settlement.

Power station asbestos and coal dust – Corries Comment

Corries asbestos specialist Maria McMurray who settled the case said

“I am really pleased that we have won this claim. At first it seemed like the medical expert had potentially put an end to any claim.  However it was clear that Mr B had been exposed to a lot of asbestos and coal dust and that both must have had some impact (as well as his smoking) on his general health.

As solicitors we have to carefully weigh up those cases that we run to court proceedings but we felt that Mr B’s case deserved that input.

I am glad to see that we were proved right. This more precise medical evidence has revealed the true picture and informed Mr B and us of the modest risks that could affect his future. Knowing what might be ahead and having provision for it has given him great peace of mind. By securing this provisional damages settlement Mr B’s future is secure should his asbestos disease get worse.”

If you know someone affected by asbestos disease or coal dust from working in power stations we might be able to help. Call us FREE for a no obligation chat on 0800 083 7839. Click for more information about asbestos compensation here