Asbestos sufferer secures £1.3million and specialist medical care
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Mr A was exposed to asbestos during the course of his work.
Sadly, in January 2019, he learned he had developed mesothelioma – a terminal cancer caused by inhaling deadly asbestos fibres.
At just 49-years-old, Mr A was younger than a ‘typical’ mesothelioma sufferer but what caused his mind to race was the worries of future practical and financial problems now facing his family.
Thankfully, after seeking the help of Digby Brown’s Industrial Disease team, he ensured his family’s future was protected – and he even accessed treatment that could delay this devastating illness.
How our client realised he had an asbestos-related disease
The family man had been medically discharged from work a number of years ago after a back injury but during his early retirement he started feeling weak and out of breath.
In a routine visit to his GP, he happened to give a small cough which caught the sharp-eared doctor’s attention, this resulted in many x-rays and scans and finally a biopsy which eventually revealed the diagnosis: Mr A had mesothelioma.
Mrs A, who had loyally been with her husband at every appointment, added: “We knew it wasn’t normal to suffer with these symptoms for so long, but we didn’t expect meso – we were just shocked.”
Mr A continued to feel exhausted, weakened and struggled to cope with daily tasks on his own so his wife practically became his carer. But she wasn’t alone – Mrs A had help from a local support team, similar to that of Asbestos Action or Clydebank Asbestos Group.
She added: “My husband was only given three to five months when diagnosed so we didn't really know what to do or expect.”
“We were reliant on the advice and help of those around us, so the local charity was great. They then recommended we get in touch with solicitors to consider our options.
“We couldn’t understand why a lawyer was important – I mean, this was a health issue, but we didn’t know what else to do so we took their advice and made some calls.
“We didn’t realise how important a solicitor would be until we came to Digby Brown.”
Getting legal help for asbestos claims
Mr and Mrs A asked several local law firms for advice but the response was always the same: ‘It’s too specialised, we can’t help.’
As if coming to terms with the diagnosis wasn’t hard enough, Mr and Mrs A now had to deal with doors being closed on them - the last thing they needed at such a delicate and traumatic time.
Mrs A said: “I took the advice of the charity and asked around, but no firm would come near us until a firm in England said ‘You need Digby Brown’ – so I jumped online and filled out the enquiry form.”
Legal help for industrial disease cases matter
After receiving Mrs A’s online enquiry form Jillian Mackenzie, Associate at our Glasgow office, investigated Mr A’s work history, financial documents, medical records and worked alongside leading experts to evaluate everything: his prognosis; his care needs; his financial losses; and the impact and losses this would have on his future and the future of his wife and children.
Raising a court action helped Digby Brown secure an admission of liability from Mr A’s former employer and as a result, this ensured he and his family received the level of compensation they were entitled to and not just what the employers wanted to pay.
This included £1.1m in damages plus a further £200,000 for immunotherapy – a pioneering treatment used to help cancer and mesothelioma sufferers.
Mrs A said: “Digby Brown kept us advised every step of the way and when we learned the case was worth seven figures, we thought she was joking.
“But then Jillian explained she had the paperwork, calculations and expert opinions to prove this was a genuine and fair value – we nearly fell off our seats.
“Then on top of that, to have Digby Brown help arrange private immunotherapy treatment… well, it was just everything we could hope for.
"And we didn’t even need to go to court.
“No amount of money will ever replace what has been taken from us – we are simply recovering losses and holding an organisation to account for the pain they caused.
“It was only after seeing the amount of work Jillian put in that we realised how important these cases are.
“My advice to people is to not rush into anything, take all the advice you can get and don’t take the first thing that comes along.
“Listen to the experts.”