Unite member compensated after asbestos death of uncle

Unite Legal Services has secured compensation for a member after his uncle Ian died as a result of an asbestos disease.

Ian died in July 2014 following a diagnosis of the fatal lung disease, mesothelioma.

He was employed as an apprentice for a firm in Hull from 1955 to 1960, where he would work alongside colleagues that applying asbestos insulation on pipework and boilers. The work caused asbestos dust coming off the insulation to float in the air. Ian would breathe this in, not knowing the dangers of asbestos.

The disease caused Ian to suffer breathlessness and weight loss prior to his death.

Ian’s nephew - and Unite member – Colin, turned to Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim on behalf of his uncle.

“My uncle was a proud man,” said Colin. “Even years into his retirement he enjoyed driving and going on holiday. We had noticed his health deteriorate but he reassured us there was nothing wrong.

“The team at Unite explained the process to me in layman’s terms and it was very swift and well-managed from start to finish. I’m really glad I turned to Unite Legal Services when I did, as it meant our family could hold those responsible for Ian’s death to account.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “While information about Ian’s exposure was limited, we were able to draw on decades of experience of helping other members to trace former colleagues of Ian who had been exposed to asbestos at the same employer, and we also obtained expert evidence from medical professionals. 

“When it became clear that Ian’s life limiting illness was caused by asbestos, we supported Colin to ensure he received the answers to why his uncle developed the disease that took his life.”