Member with asbestos disease awarded £425,000 compensation

Unite Legal Services has supported union member, Bob, to secure a significant compensation payout in an asbestos disease claim, which includes provisions for further funds to be released should he require future medical treatment.

The 63-year-old, from Lancashire, developed breathing problems in the summer of 2015, which was later found to have been caused by the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma. He had planned to move abroad but was unable to do so because of the diagnosis.

He said: “One minute I was planning to live abroad, the next I was being told that I had a fatal and irreversible disease. I had no idea how to deal with it and my situation seemed hopeless.”

Bob was exposed to asbestos between 1969 and 1978 when working as an electrician for a paper manufacturer, which would use asbestos materials to lag machinery. Asbestos dust would commonly circulate through the building and Bob was not provided with safety equipment to protect himself from breathing it in.

He turned to Unite Legal Services, who helped him secure a settlement of £425,000. A court order also means that the former employer must cover the cost of any future medical treatment, at an initial limit of £100,000, but it could increase if needed.

“I contacted Unite Legal Services who, thankfully, were excellent,” Bob continued. “They immediately offered me support in starting my compensation claim. I was worried that the legal process would take a long time, but they did everything very quickly. They kept me updated along the way, securing the money that will allow me to pay for treatments to make life much more comfortable as I cope with my disease.”

Ritchie James, North West regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Mesothelioma is a horrific disease that can develop suddenly and rapidly, decades after the exposure to asbestos has taken place. Bob’s plan to move abroad with his family was crushed by the diagnosis of this disease, which was caused by the negligence of his former employer.

“Unite Legal Services is proud to support our members who have suffered because of this avoidable disease. The efforts of our legal specialists helped not only secure substantial compensation for Bob, but also ensures further provisions for future care. The cost of treatment that is not currently available on the NHS, such as some forms of immunotherapy, is extremely high, so specialised lawyers are necessary to ensure that these costs are claimed and successfully recovered.

“All of this, as is the case for every case backed by Unite Legal Services, will be free from any deductions from the final amount.”