Man awarded compensation after contracting cancer due to being exposed to asbestos

A 64-year-old man has been awarded £245,000 in compensation after he was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma.

In July 2014 whilst on holiday in Cyprus, the man began having breathing difficulties and on his return he saw his GP. A scan showed that one of his lungs were filled with fluid. This was drained and he was sent for a biopsy. When he received the results in December 2014, it was confirmed that the gentleman had asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

As a member of the Unite Union, he contacted Unite Legal Services, who got in touch with personal injury solicitors and they were asked to make a claim on the man’s behalf. An investigation was then carried out to identify when he was exposed to asbestos.

The father of two began working for a rail company in 1966 as a trainee cleaner and fireman. He was responsible for delivering correspondence to teams around the train depot. He also had the task of cleaning out the train maintenance shed on a regular basis. After his training, the gentleman was promoted to fireman and worked on the footplates of the trains. During this time, diesel trains were insulated with asbestos, which got stripped during routine maintenance and repairs. After three years of working on the railway, the man left and joined the Royal Air Force and later went on to become a software designer for an IT company.

Speaking about his diagnosis, the gentleman said:

“My diagnosis was a huge bombshell for me and my whole family. At the moment I feel well in myself but I don’t want to know the long-term prognosis because I’d rather make the most of the time I have, instead of lingering on it. It’s been a really traumatic time getting used to the thought of my illness, my son even moved his wedding forward so I could be there.

“I really worried that the legal process would be traumatic, but it wasn’t at all. Unite Legal Services dealt with my case so sympathetically and professionally throughout, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.”

North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, Karen Reay commented:

“The devastating effects of asbestos disease are clear – it is unacceptable that workers pay the price for negligent employers and unsafe working conditions.

“The diagnosis is distressing for the individual as well as those nearest and dearest to them. At this time, the importance of turning to specialist legal experts in this complex area of law should not be underestimated. We made sure that our member received full compensation quickly and is now able to spend valuable time with his family knowing that they are financially secure.”

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