Our Asbestos & Mesothelioma Cases
At Hodge Jones & Allen, we know the impact of asbestos can be devastating. Lung diseases and mesothelioma can leave people with long-lasting health problems and even lead to death. That’s why we want to work with those who have had health problems due to asbestos, and their families, to help them get access to the compensation they deserve.
With more than 40 years of experience, our team knows medical negligence inside out, so we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through a claim if you have suffered through being exposed to asbestos.
Below, we look at some of the asbestos and mesothelioma compensation cases our specialist team has worked on, successfully recovering damages for a wide range of clients.
This is the story of Margaret Ward, a grandmother and keen gardener from County Durham
who passed away after being diagnosed with mesothelioma
Retired Electrician Mr L instructed Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors about lung disease caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.
He first suspected the link in 2014, when he was referred to hospital to investigate his shortness of breath and pain in his lower back and ribs. At first, Mr L was told that he had Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), his doctor being unable to determine the cause.
It wasn’t until Mr L made a detailed list of his previous working conditions and prolonged exposure to asbestos dust that the full extent of his exposure history was considered by his doctors. The chronic lung condition, asbestosis, was then confirmed.
Mr L had worked for ICI’s chemical plant in Wilton for 26 years. During his long employment, he regularly maintained the plant’s machinery, lighting and other electrical equipment. In the process, he disturbed the asbestos-lagged piping which surrounded the electrics, causing the asbestos dust to become airborne in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. Mr L was not provided with any breathing protection, or training about the dangers of asbestos, and was unfortunately exposed to high levels of the deadly dust regularly.
Isobel Lovett, Head of the Asbestos department at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, took on his case and launched legal proceedings against ICI. They were unable to admit or deny liability at the first show cause court hearing, at which Mr L was awarded an interim payment. However, the judge in the case was satisfied that ICI had been negligent in failing to protect Mr L from the deadly hazard on the strength of Mr L’s detailed account of his working conditions.
Further medical evidence was obtained and through negotiations, the parties were able to agree a provisional settlement of the claim. A five-figure sum was subsequently approved by the Court.
Peritoneal malignant mesothelioma claim
Mr N from Northamptonshire instructed Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors following a diagnosis of peritoneal malignant mesothelioma, a rarer form of the disease affecting the lining of the abdomen. This was caused by lengthy exposure to asbestos dust at work.
Mr N was exposed to heavy amounts of the deadly dust by two former employers, Saunders & Taylor Limited, and Matthew Hall Mechanical Services Limited, between 1962 and 1997. He worked for the companies as a pipe fitter and was involved in removing asbestos-lagged pipework from inside old buildings and boiler houses over a 30-year period.
Isobel Lovett represented Mr N in his case. She initially helped Mr N secure a weekly payment of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and a lump sum payment from the government.
As Saunders & Taylor Limited had gone into liquidation, an urgent court application was made to prevent the company from being dissolved so Mr N’s claim could proceed.
At the initial hearing, where a judge decides if the employers have a real prospect of defending the case, judgment was entered against both Defendants on liability, based on the strength of Mr N’s evidence. Following this decision, he was awarded an interim payment of damages, pending a final assessment of his case.
His claim initially included the costs of immunotherapy, a new form of treatment for mesothelioma not yet available on the NHS.
The case was concluded shortly before the final hearing, with both sides making offers to settle. The Defendants accepted Mr N’s offer of a six-figure sum.
Secondary asbestos exposure claim
We were instructed by a lady with mesothelioma who had not had asbestos exposure though her own work. It became apparent she had been exposed while washing her son’s work clothes.
Our client died shortly after we met. We represented her family at the inquest. The son’s employer, whose insurers denied liability, were sued. They argued that asbestos products had been largely phased out and that they offered laundry facilities, so any exposure to our late client would have been negligible.
We traced witnesses, who refuted the insurer’s claim. We received a first settlement proposal. After further negotiations, the client accepted an increased settlement which they felt did some justice to their mother’s suffering.
"I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY THANKS FOR THE EFFORTS YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAVE PUT IN TO OBTAIN THIS MOST SATISFACTORY RESULT."
Family compensation claim
Our client’s husband died from mesothelioma. She had instructed other solicitors to bring a claim against his former employers, whose insurers denied liability.
We took the case on, issued a witness appeal and obtained evidence to prove exposure to asbestos at work with one of the employers, whose insurers then conceded liability. No settlement offer was forthcoming, so we issued court proceedings, obtained judgment for our client and an interim payment of £50,000.
Shortly before the final hearing, we negotiated a six–figure settlement, achieving an increase of £20,000 on the first offer made.
"JUST WANTED TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU AND YOUR TEAMS' HARD WORK FIGHTING MUMS SIDE OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS AND KEEPING US UP TO DATE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY."
Low exposure compensation claim
Our client had developed mesothelioma but was unsure where he had been exposed to asbestos. He had served in the merchant navy in catering. Our enquiries revealed degraded asbestos lagging on steam pipes connected to equipment he used.
He also maintained supplies on board, including asbestos products. This was a difficult claim, as it involved low exposure levels, but having initially denied liability following the issue of court proceedings, and faced with client’s evidence, the defendant’s insurer capitulated and the claim was settled for a six-figure sum, out of court, during the client’s lifetime.
"DON'T KNOW WHAT WE WOULD OF DONE WITHOUT YOU AND YOUR GUIDANCE."
We acted for a gentleman who had been a joiner. During his apprenticeship, and with subsequent employers, our client had been exposed to asbestos dust and developed asbestosis as a result.
He had machined asbestos board to make fire doors, replaced asbestos ceiling tiles, and worked alongside laggers applying and removing asbestos insulation.
We sued three of his former employers, one of whom admitted liability. After receiving the engineers’ reports, we negotiated a settlement with the remaining employers, settling the claim on a provisional basis for a five-figure sum for the effects of the condition to date. We also retained the option to seek a further award if his condition deteriorates or he develops another asbestos disease, providing security against future risks.
Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme settlement
Our expert Asbestos Team were instructed by a client suffering from mesothelioma. We took full instructions from him and established that his exposure to asbestos dust most likely came from previous employment when he was just 20 years old.
Our client was exposed to asbestos dust during the 1970s when carrying out servicing and repairs of boilers. Evidence was obtained from our client and a witness that the boilers and associated pipework were lagged with asbestos lagging, which was disturbed when repairs and servicing were being carried out.
Our client’s former employers are no longer trading. As such, a claim could not be pursued against the company itself.
The company’s employers’ liability insurers for the period of our client’s employment could not be identified due to the work having taken place so many years ago and those records having been lost.
As neither the employer nor the insurers could be pursued, we advised our client to submit an application to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. This is a Scheme which was set up to pay compensation to mesothelioma sufferers (or their dependants) if they would have won their claim but have no one to pursue for the compensation.
We lodged an application on behalf of our client to the Scheme. The Scheme Administrators accepted our client would have won his case if he had someone to pursue. A six figure sum was paid to him by the Scheme.
Particular steps have to be carried out and specific evidence lodged in order to succeed in a claim under the Scheme. Our expert Asbestos Team lawyers know what is required and quickly secure the compensation rightly due to their clients.
Successful asbestos settlement claim
We were instructed by a client who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. He was a retired lift engineer and had worked for the same elevator company for many years.
Our client was heavily exposed to asbestos dust when handling, cutting, filing and drilling various asbestos materials and components needed to maintain, repair and install elevators in commercial buildings. His work included the use of and disturbance of electric cables wrapped with asbestos string, asbestos brake shoes, asbestos arc shields, asbestos panelling and asbestos lagging. Our client was not provided with any sufficient respiratory protection or training about the dangers of asbestos from his employers.
A formal letter of claim was sent to the relevant employer. Their employers’ liability insurers conceded the lift company had breached its legal duties towards our client. An interim payment of compensation was obtained for our client, pending the full conclusion of the case.
The necessary detailed medical and financial evidence in order to conclude the case was gathered together by us. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the mesothelioma condition and the reduced life expectancy it brings, our client died before final settlement negotiations could be concluded.
The case was continued by our client’s widow. Updated evidence was collated and negotiations entered into with the insurers. The case was settled successfully for a six figure sum.
Due to our ability to secure an admission of legal blame, our client knew his case would be successful and he had the benefit of some of his compensation via the interim payment we obtained for him. We concluded matters for a significant sum for his widow.
Vital witness evidence
We were instructed by the family of a deceased instrument engineer who had been exposed to asbestos at the BP oil refinery in Kent. In 2016, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, which is both aggressive and terminal. Sadly, he died in 2018 after suffering an increasingly debilitating illness involving invasive treatment. Throughout his illness, he was cared for by his family and medical team.
The Coroner had opened an enquiry into the cause of His death by the time we were instructed. Fortunately, his widow was able to put us in contact with a former friend and colleague of her husband’s. The two men had completed their apprenticeships, qualified and worked at the same refinery and so we were able to pass this evidence on to the Coroner.
The witness was able to describe the dusty conditions in which they both worked inside various boiler houses, where the boilers and pipework were all covered with asbestos lagging for insulation. Although the Deceased had not removed the asbestos lagging himself, he was usually working in close proximity to the laggers who were doing the removal work in enclosed areas with no ventilation.
As no respiratory protection was offered at the time, he was unable to avoid inhaling the fine asbestos dust and fibres which would eventually lead to his terminal illness.
This vital witness evidence was shared with the Coroner who returned a verdict of death by industrial disease.
The Defendant Company was in the process of liquidation, and so the liquidators and insurers were promptly notified of the claim. A medical report was obtained which confirmed the findings of the inquest, and a Grant of Probate was obtained in-house for the Estate to be administered.
No response on liability (legal fault) was forthcoming from the refinery’s insurers and so court proceedings were issued. A Defence was filed which failed to provide strong evidence to challenge the allegations of asbestos exposure.
Due to the Court delays during the COVID pandemic, the first procedural hearing could not be listed until the latter half of 2020, and so we and the Defendant’s legal representatives were able to conduct “without prejudice” discussions over the intervening months which resulted in the Defendant agreeing for judgment to be entered against them on the issue of liability.
Following joint medical evidence regarding the Deceased’s life expectancy, Part 36 settlement offers were exchanged, which led to a six figure settlement being agreed before the final assessment was due to be made by the Court.