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The asbestos lagger’s story - killed by asbestosis & lung cancer
We successfully settled this fatal asbestosis/lung cancer compensation claim for Marion, the widow of John, from Dagenham, Essex. John’s diseases were caused by asbestos exposure as a lagger and heating engineer for three different London/Essex employers: Kitsons Insulation Ltd of Barking, Essex, Ellis (Kensington) Ltd and Norris Warming Co. Ltd. They each heavily exposed him to asbestos dust from removing and making up asbestos lagging, without protection, as a young lagger/heating engineer in the 1960s. Over 50 years later this caused his asbestosis and lung cancer at age 68. He died within 12 months and before he could claim compensation.
This was a challenging asbestos disease compensation claim. For asbestosis and lung cancer high levels of asbestos exposure need to be proved, eg from lagging, and compensation can only be obtained to the extent solvent paymasters can be traced. We were only instructed to make the compensation claim six months after John had died at an Essex hospital. During his life time he had been unaware he was suffering from asbestos-related diseases due to his laggers’ work, so no one asked him about his exposure history.
With this compensation claim we also faced the serious complication that John had been suffering from blood cancer-myeloma. Were asbestos diseases from lagging the sole cause of his death or did myeloma play a part? If not, how would the myeloma have affected him and his life expectancy if he had not developed asbestos diseases?
For the compensation claim we had to get the fullest accounts possible from John’s family about his employment/exposure from lagging- from his younger brother and Marion- based simply on what he had told them years earlier. Initially, we had to do this without his Revenue employment history. We identified his employment as a lagger for Kitson’s Insulations of Essex as his likely source of asbestos exposure. However, when the Revenue history eventually came through, we had to carefully research the employers listed to see if any others were associated with asbestos/lagging and might also be liable to contribute to the compensation claim. With the family’s assistance we identified two other previous employers of insulation laggers against whom a compensation claim could be made; Ellis (Kensington) Ltd and Norris Warming ltd, also near Essex. Obtaining further Revenue tax records helped prove the periods for which John had worked for each employer as an asbestos lagger.
All three employers were dissolved but we traced their insurers. Full medical and Inquest records were obtained and a consultant chest physician instructed. He supported an asbestos disease compensation claim, but identified the need for a haematologist’s advice about what effect myeloma would have had but for his lagging-related asbestos diseases. She advised the myeloma would probably have been successfully treated initially, but led to his death about 5 years later, fixing the limit of the asbestos lagging compensation claim.
Full letters of claim and a detailed schedule of loss were served on, with full supporting evidence, making compensation claims for asbestosis and lung cancer. Due to insurers’ delays we prepared paperwork to start High Court proceedings, putting the maximum claim value at £165,000. However, just before we issued the insurers admitted liability to pay compensation.
They initially offered £125,000. Further negotiations, leading to our own final offer to accept claim compensation of £155,000, which was agreed; a £30,000 increase on their initial offer. The compensation claim payment helped Marion to move away from Dagenham, Essex and start a new home with her daughters. We were able to successfully meet the difficult challenges of this asbestos laggers’ disease compensation claim without needing any barrister’s input.
Marion commented that she was "Extremely happy with the service Jeremy had provided and couldn’t fault it at all." She thanked Jeremy for “all of his hard work” and “would have no hesitation in recommending him and our firm."
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