Widow of middle-aged dad of 3 who died as a result of asbestos exposure receives settlement from former employer
The widow of a railway worker from Ashford, Kent, who passed away in his 50s due to asbestos exposure, is warning families to seek specialist support after a battle to obtain compensation.
Diane Morrison’s husband, Scott, passed away at the premature age of 58, just two months after receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by inhaled asbestos fibres which forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Between the years of 1989 and 2017, Scott worked for the Chart Leacon depot in Ashford. During his time there, he was exposed to asbestos in several areas, including:
- Handling of old train parts containing asbestos, including brake blocks friction discs/pads, and horn pads
- Emptying skips full of discarded parts containing asbestos
- Asbestos dust falling from corrugated asbestos building structures
The depot was sold by British Rail to Bombardier Transportation UK Limited in 1995. It is now closed and is currently in the process of being demolished.
Scott, a father of three, first became ill in September 2018. After weeks spent in and out of hospital, undergoing regular chest drains, he was diagnosed and admitted to a hospice. He was due to undergo chemotherapy to extend his life expectancy by several years, but passed away before this could happen, just two months after his diagnosis.
Due to the speed at which Scott’s cancer progressed, and having been responsible for his full-time care, it wasn’t until after his death that his wife, Diane, pursued his previous employers for compensation due to his asbestos exposure. As Diane’s legal team, asbestos-specialists from law firm Hodge Jones & Allen (HJA), were unable to obtain evidence from Scott himself in order to identify the source of his asbestos exposure, it was thanks to Scott’s former colleagues providing crucial evidence, that they were finally able to get justice for Diane and her family over Scott’s premature death.
As part of the settlement, Diane’s legal team were able to recover some of the end of life hospice costs that Scott required before he died.
Diane said: “Scott was a wonderful husband, and a loving father, and he was taken from us far too early. He had so any plans for his retirement, which was still a fair few years off, that we’ll never get to do together.
“Scott’s deterioration from his diagnosis was so quick that he never got to show what an unsafe environment his previous employers had him working in. However, thanks to the team at HJA, who worked so hard for us during this process, we have, at the very least, got some justice for Scott, and we’d urge anyone who thinks they might have had exposure to asbestos to come forward now.”
Isobel Lovett, a partner at HJA, who fought tirelessly on behalf of Diane and Scott said: “Scott’s case was quite challenging as he had already passed away before we were instructed. Unfortunately, the case demonstrates just how awful the lasting effects of asbestos exposure can be… While we were unable to get Scott’s testimony, which is normally a key part of the process, working with Diane and other witnesses, including Scott’s former colleagues, we were able to get the evidence we needed.
“While the compensation won’t bring Scott back, it will help his family at this difficult time. No one should have to run the risk of developing a fatal illness as a result of doing their job, and we want to make sure that other sufferers know that we are here to ensure that they get the justice they rightly deserve.”
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