Industrial Disease

Plumber dies due to Exposure to Asbestos at Work

We successfully helped a family obtain compensation for the loss of their father, due to the exposure to asbestos in his work as a plumber. We secured over £100,000 in compensation from those responsible for exposing the plumber to asbestos.

The plumber, Bill, had left school, undertaken an apprenticeship and worked for the majority of his life in the plumbing industry, working for a number of employers, but also being self-employed for many years. Towards the end of his career he undertook less frontline work, but was still, from time to time, involved in hands-on activities, exposing him to using asbestos in various forms.

He retired after a lifetime of service, looking forward to a long and happy retirement with his wife, children and grandchildren. All was well until his late 70s when he experienced breathing difficulties and was losing weight. His GP referred him to hospital whereupon, following a number of tests, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos. He was told that, sadly, the disease was incurable. He remained under the care of his hospital and continued to battle the illness. However, as is often seen with cases of mesothelioma, there was a rapid decline in his health. The family provided all the necessary care before Bill was admitted to a hospice. He passed away a little later, within about 8 months of diagnosis.

Shortly after diagnosis Bill, through his son, contacted IBB Law, whereupon we met with Bill and his family within days. We had further meetings over a short period of time. During this period, we were able to take a very detailed work history from Bill, although his recollection of some of the places he worked and who worked for was not entirely clear, which was understandable as we needed to investigate events going back to the 1950s. In the end, we were able to obtain a comprehensive account from Bill about who he worked for, where he worked, the work he undertook and the materials he used, including those materials containing asbestos, such as a sealant known as PC4, and Monkey Muck, and the handling of asbestos pipes.

Separate investigations enabled us to obtain a full record of Bill’s work history which enabled us to piece together his career. Unfortunately, a number of the businesses Bill had worked for, were no longer trading and thus it was not easy to investigate the history of those companies and who their insurers may be. The identity of the insurers of those businesses was critical, as they would hold the insurance, to cover the payment of compensation to Bill. Fortunately, we were successful in tracing a number of insurers of various companies Bill had worked for and therefore claims were intimated against those insurers.

We also obtained expert evidence to demonstrate that insufficient steps had been taken by Bill’s employers to protect him from exposure to asbestos, alongside medical evidence to prove that his illness, mesothelioma, had arisen out of exposure to asbestos, and nothing else.

Although insurers acting for the former employers did not formally accept legal responsibility for what had happened, they nevertheless were persuaded to negotiate a financial settlement of the claim although, sadly, that did not come about until after Bill had passed away. No amount of money could make up for losing a husband, father and grandfather although the payment by insurers gave some comfort, and an acknowledgement of responsibility. The compensation of over £125,000 has provided some support the family.

To start an asbestos compensation claim or to find out more about how you make a claim, please contact us today by calling 0333 123 9099 or email