The Claimant was employed as an assembly line worker between 1968 and 1990. The company later ceased to trade, but was succeeded by CSL. Around the age of 77 years, the Claimant began to suffer a persistent cough. Following referral for X‑rays, a left pleural effusion was shown, with consolidation. By this time, she was also suffering from shortness of breath.
Following further X‑rays and an HRCT scan of the chest, fluid was drawn and biopsies were taken, resulting sadly in diagnosis of a mesothelioma, a tumour linked with asbestos exposure.
The prognosis was poor, with an average survival rate of just 9-14 months post-diagnosis.
The elderly claimant lived with her sister, and hoped to conclude a claim for damages very quickly, to put her affairs in order and achieve peace of mind, knowing that her sister would be provided for, financially.
Although the company was no longer trading and had no known insurers, through forensic investigation Skinners were able to ascertain the “buyout” arrangement between the employer and D Plc and to establish that under its terms, liabilities for the dissolved employer passed to D Plc / their insurers.
The Claimant’s employment did not involve the production of asbestos products or its use as part of the process. However, on investigation it emerged that she had been subject to environmental exposure – the roof of the workplace, finished in asbestos sheeting which had been poorly maintained. During the 1980’s, a section of the roof was replaced, the work undertaken over several weeks. Whilst efforts were made to contain any debris produced, on expert analysis these were deemed to have been inadequate, the sheeting used failing to contain substantial quantities of the dust generated.
Liability was disputed by solicitors on a number of grounds, but the case was ultimately successful with damages recovered for pain and suffering / loss of amenity, the substantial time spent by relatives and friends providing care and the financial dependency lost by the sister as a result of the shortened life expectancy. Damages were recovered in a six-figure sum, prior to the Claimant’s demise. Although passing away just months following conclusion of the case, her wish to set her affairs in order and to ensure that her sister was provided for financially, were duly realised.