Essex man receives compensation following mesothelioma diagnosis

An Essex man exposed to asbestos during the 1950s and 60s has received a substantial settlement following his diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Tom Church, 88, worked at two train depots between 1950 and 1965, first as a general handyman and later a train wagon inspector. He would often work alongside colleagues who were removing and mixing asbestos lagging, and would also disturb asbestos dust while inspecting the wagons, further increasing his exposure to the toxic substance.

In July 2016, Tom developed a cough that he assumed was a cold. However, when it failed to subside he visited his doctor. After further visits he was given a CT scan and had fluid drained from his lung, at which point he was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

Tom now requires a wheelchair as he becomes too tired walking. He has a cough and has lost his appetite. 

He contacted Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.

Tom said: “On a day-to-day basis I need help from my family with almost everything I do, from walking to washing and getting dressed. My daughter, Sheree, and her husband have moved into my house to look after me, which I never thought would happen as I used to be so independent and active.

“For years I’d come home from work dusty and dirty, but I didn’t ever think anything of it – and certainly not that it would cause me an illness later in life.

“Unite Legal Services has supported my family by advising me on my options and quickly secured compensation so that we can cover the costs of adaptations to my home. That’ll hopefully make my life easier. Their support has helped relieve a lot of the anxiety about how my family will manage in the future.”

Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary from Unite the Union, said: “Unfortunately, too many former rail and industry workers have gone on to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos related illnesses, and Tom is no exception. Long-term asbestos exposure at work has left him extremely ill and in need of near constant care from his family.

“Unite Legal Services is proud to support its members who have developed an illness or disease as a result of their employer’s negligence, even if the exposure is several decades old, to secure the highest amount of compensation as quickly as possible.”