£100,000 settlement for family of Welsh mine worker who died of asbestos disease

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Novum Law’s specialist team in Cardiff has helped the family of a Welsh mine worker secure a £100,000 asbestos disease settlement after his death from mesothelioma, terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

The man was an electrician for almost his entire life, leaving school at 16 to take up an apprenticeship at the National Coal Board in 1961, where he worked for nearly 30 years.

He started his career as an apprentice electrician at Ogilvie Colliery in Deri, Caerphilly until it closed in 1975 and then moved to Penallta Colliery, near Hengoed, until its closure in 1991. At both pits, he dismantled and shut down the mining operations when they closed.

He was exposed to asbestos in the mines where it was used as an insulation material to wrap cables, wires, and pipes. Asbestos was also present in arc chutes (used to confine arcs or high voltage sparks) and in the components of fuse boxes, brake linings and clutch facings.

No steps were taken to warn him of the dangers of exposure to asbestos, and no personal protective equipment was provided.

The man had been healthy before his premature death aged just 72. He was enjoying his retirement, pottering around the garden, and spending much of his time at the family caravan in Tenby. His wife noticed he was gradually losing interest in his garden, getting out of breath using the stairs or walking and experiencing back pain.

When he was referred to the Royal Gwent Hospital, 13 days before his death, doctors initially diagnosed pneumonia. However, a CT scan revealed a thickening of the lining of his lungs and spots on his lungs. His condition deteriorated rapidly and sadly, and he died in intensive care on 30 March 2017.

His family sought legal advice from specialist asbestos disease lawyer Phillip Gower from our Cardiff office.

Phillip Gower said:

“Very sadly, our client’s husband developed Sarcomatoid Malignant Mesothelioma of the pleura (lining of the lungs), as a direct result of his exposure to asbestos in the mines.

“I was instructed by his family to investigate his death and to pursue a claim for civil damages. We obtained evidence about his asbestos exposure from former work colleagues at both collieries, and a family member, who also worked as an electrician for the National Coal Board.

“On the issue of High Court proceedings against the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, who inherited the liabilities of the National Coal Board, the case was settled for substantial damages of £100K.

“No amount of compensation will replace the family’s tragic loss. However, it means they now have the answers they needed, and the family have the financial security he would have wanted for them.”

Novum Law’s asbestos disease lawyers have several ongoing enquiries arising from former miners and pit workers from the National Coal Board and other nationalised industries across Wales.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, or a family member has died from an asbestos disease, contact us today on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or email info@novumlaw.com.

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