Malcolm developed chest pain and became short of breath so he was admitted to hospital and abnormalities were noted on a chest x-ray.
He was asked if he had worked with asbestos and advised he may have a tumour. Fortunately, a biopsy confirmed he did not have cancer. He was diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening of the lungs, a condition caused by asbestos exposure.
Malcolm was permanently short of breath and at risk of developing mesothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos.
Malcolm believed he had been exposed to asbestos at a factory, which had long since shut down. The company that had owned the factory no longer existed.
Malcolm contacted Unite Legal Services for advice on seeking compensation. Unite Legal Services tracked down the insurance company responsible for insuring the factory's employees. Witness evidence was taken from trade union officials and colleagues who had worked at the factory, which confirmed that Malcolm had been exposed to asbestos.
The insurance company admitted liability and Unite Legal Services obtained a significant sum in compensation for Malcolm.
In addition, Unite Legal Services obtained a court order that allows Malcolm to claim more compensation from the insurers if he should develop mesothelioma in the future.
Peter Kavanagh, Unite regional secretary, said: “The alarming reality is that the number of asbestos victims is set to increase following years of employer neglect and a lack of protection for workforces against this deadly industrial disease.
“After Malcolm realised his previous employer no longer existed, Unite Legal Services provided swift legal expertise to secure compensation for him, and obtain a court order to cover any future medical care he may require.”