Unite Legal Services secure compensation for family following asbestos death

The family of a Unite member who died from asbestos-related disease has received substantial compensation.

The former design draftsman died less than six months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, just one week after his 80th birthday.

He worked for an appliance manufacturer in Peterborough from 1970 to 1981, where he designed and inspected machine parts insulated with asbestos lagging. However, his employer didn’t provide him with any protection from inhaling asbestos dust, or warn him about the risks.

In 2014, after suffering from lethargy and breathlessness, he visited his doctor. He was sent for further tests which confirmed the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer that develops decades after exposure to asbestos. There are currently around 2,500 people diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK.

Before his death, he contacted Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.

His family was thankful for the “professionalism” and “dedication” shown by Unite Legal Services during the claim.

“It was tragic for all of us to see him change from a fit and healthy man so quickly after finding out he had the horrible disease,” said the member’s daughter-in-law. “We took him to the doctors as soon as he got ill but little did we know that his breathing problems were the result of asbestos exposure more than 30 years previous. It’s almost unbelievable that he was allowed to work near asbestos for so long without any kind of protection.

“The pain of losing my father-in-law still hurts. If it wasn’t for the fantastic work of Unite Legal Services in bringing closure on why this happened, and supporting our family throughout the case, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Our member’s family has tragically seen first-hand the dangers of working with or around asbestos. Unfortunately this is not an unusual case, and we have supported thousands of members and their families who have lost loved ones as a result of this deadly disease, ensuring they receive 100 per cent of the compensation without any deductions.

“We hope that the support of Unite’s specialist legal service has helped not only to secure substantial compensation but also to bring some comfort and closure for the family.”