An asbestos cancer claim victory for a man who worked for his family firm may help others in the future.
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Asbestos cancer claim – the story of Mr H
We were approached by Mrs H who had been made a widow following the death of her husband Mr H. Her late husband had been born in 1932. After education at Oxford university he joined the family firm at a factory in London in 1956. He worked with his father and was involved in supervising the workforce and in the factory processes which required heat and steam. As a hands-on man he helped to work on and repair and service the boilers which provided steam.
Mr H worked with his father until 1974 until the business was sold. From there he went into his own businesses.
Mr H moved away to south England and enjoyed the rest of his working life and then his retirement . He was fit enough to continue in sales work right into his eighties.
In early 2014 he started to suffer with a cough and breathlessness. Investigations were undertaken by July 2014 and it was suspected he had mesothelioma. This was then confirmed.
Understandably shook by the news Mr H put his mind to when he had been exposed to asbestos. He had the foresight to explain clearly to his wife, the doctors and then when seeking a lump sum benefit that had been exposed to asbestos in the handling and working on the boilers and his father’s factory from 1956 until 1974. All of this was clearly documented and discussed with his family.
Sadly Mr H died in June 2015 at the age of 83.
Corries help the family with the asbestos cancer claim
Mrs H contacted Corries in May 2017. She had been understandably upset at the loss of her beloved husband. She was not aware of the three-year period within which to bring a claim but was now ready to make a claim. Mrs H was worried that as her late husband had worked for the family firm then no claim could be made.
We started to investigate. Then we found out that that the company owned by the deceased’s father had bought employers liability cover.
We got together the documents. We spoke to the family and others connected with the business form years ago. The evidence showed that Mr H worked for his father. He was never a director nor had any control of the company. He was treated as an employee though his role did develop over the years.
With this evidence we confidently put the case to the company insurers. The insurers soon admitted liability. The value of the claim was still in issue.
There was some negotiations to be held but within the two months of presenting the case then a six figure settlement and costs on top were agreed.
Asbestos cancer claim – lesson learned
Bringing a claim after someone has died as is difficult but not impossible.
Howard Bonnett, Solicitor at Corries who won the claim made these observations
“The situation in this case is common to many industrial disease solicitors like myself. Bringing cases after someone has died and without the benefit of their evidence is always difficult. However in this case I was really helped by the following factors:-
- The late Mr H was very clear of mind about when and how he had been exposed to asbestos;
- He had taken the time to properly record this with his doctors and put it in his notes;
- Then he spoke clearly and regularly to his wife and other members of family and explained how he had been exposed to substantial amounts of dust;
- He was consistent in how he reported this to everyone and when claiming benefits before he died and;
- He had left clear instructions and information including a CV of his working life.
The quality of this information then put into evidence meant the insurers knew that they would have to pay the claim. It made their job much easier. This was reflected in how quickly they admitted negligence and then got to work valuing the claim. Whilst we had the usual disagreements about the value of the case I was able to negotiate settlement on this case in terms that everyone is happy with”
What can you do to help your family if you have asbestos cancer or disease?
There are good lessons to be learned from this case.
If asbestos disease is suspected then you should follow Mr H’s lead.
- Tell your doctors in the clearest of terms about your work
- Tell your family as well
- Make sure you claim such benefits as you can and;
- Make sure all of this is written down so other people understand.
Sometimes it is too late for lawyers to deal with cases in people’s lifetime. However being clear about your exposure to asbestos can sometimes be a helpful and life changing legacy that you can leave.
If you know someone affected by asbestos disease in the last three years we might be able to help them with a claim. If you want some more information then call us FREE on 0800 083 7839. Our dedicated team are happy to speak to people on an enquiry basis at no charge. Try clicking for more information on asbestos claims right here