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Widow Sues Thames Water Utilities for Husband’s Asbestos-related Death

Our client instructed us to help him obtain compensation from his former employer, following his diagnosis of Mesothelioma, caused by his exposure to Asbestos dust at work.

Our client was exposed to Asbestos between 1975 and 1997 whilst employed by the GLA, then by Thames Water, initially at the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. Our client operated a large machine which was used to remove detritus from the pits. The brake pad on the machine was replaced regularly, releasing significant Asbestos fibres and dust. Our client cleaned up dust and debris left behind from stripping Asbestos based insulation. As he was not provided with any breathing protection, he inhaled significant quantities of Asbestos fibres.

From 1997 until 2013 our Client was employed as a shift process controller at the Western Pumping Station. Asbestos dust remaining from the stripping of pipe insulation in the roof space of a building which our client visited daily, was found to have contaminated the space. In 2007 our Client was provided with a letter from Western Pumping Station, confirming his exposure to Asbestos during the course of his employment.

As a result of that exposure, our client developed malignant Mesothelioma; an aggressive and cancer of the lining of the lung, caused by inhalation of Asbestos fibres. He initially experienced chest pain and breathlessness which persisted and worsened over time and eventually, he began to lose weight. In 2020 our Client was informed of his diagnosis and terminal prognosis and underwent a variety of treatment including  chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

We immediately helped our client to secure a weekly payment of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and a Lump Sum payment from the government.

Having prepared and presented his case to the Defendant’s insurers but not having received any admission or settlement offer from Thames Water, we issued proceedings in the High Court in London, claiming compensation for his injury and financial losses, past and future and the costs of private medical treatment which he might need in the future.

At the first procedural hearing, the Judge entered judgement on liability in our client’s favour, and ordered the Defendant to pay our client a substantial interim payment, on account of his damages.

Unfortunately, our client then succumbed to his illness and so the case was put on hold. The Coroner investigated the cause of our client’s death and recorded a verdict of industrial disease, due to Mesothelioma.

Our Client’s widow, then took over the legal claim and pursued it on behalf of her late husband’s estate and on her own behalf as his dependant. Settlement negotiations began as the date for Assessment of Damages by the Court approached. With only 4 days to go, the Defendant accepted a settlement proposal for a six–figure sum, £55,000 more than the Defendant’s original offer.

Isobel Lovett, Partner and the Head of the Asbestos Team at Hodge Jones & Allen, who handled the case, said: “Our client became ill in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, making it difficult for him and his wife to get external help in dealing with the effects of this terrible illness. This was initially a difficult case on liability, but was strengthened by supportive evidence from our client’s former colleagues who came forward to help him.

“Sadly, he did not survive to see the end of the case which his widow bravely pursued to the end, knowing he would have wanted her to complete what he had started and to hold those responsible for her husband’s premature death to account.”

Mesothelioma cases are a complex area of the law and it is essential that only specialist lawyers who deal with these cases on a daily basis pursue them. deal with these cases on a daily basis pursue them. Our Asbestos & Mesothelioma Compensation Team has decades of experience.

If you, your partner or dependent has been diagnosed with an Asbestos related condition, we encourage you to seek legal advice without delay from our Asbestos & Mesothelioma Compensation Team.  There is no financial risk to you, as all of our Asbestos disease cases are dealt with on a “no win no fee” basis and we do not take any deductions from compensation for legal costs. Talk to us today on 0330 822 3451