Specialist asbestos disease solicitors from Novum Law have helped a council tenant exposed to asbestos from a housing estate in London get a six-figure settlement.
Solicitor Phillip Gower, who specialises in asbestos disease compensation claims, secured the compensation for ‘Mrs T’, who is only in her mid-50s, and has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Mrs T was exposed to the deadly asbestos fibres and dust due to the use of asbestos as a fire-retardant material in each of the two council flats she’s lived in her entire adult life.
Asbestos boards were used in the walls, windows and door surrounds.
In her first council property, Mrs T’s partner at the time had drilled holes into the walls to put up curtain poles and built a wall unit for the Livingroom which he screwed into the wall to secure it safely.
The DIY created a lot of dust which needed to be cleared up, which we now know was microscopic particles of toxic asbestos. At no time were tenants warned not to screw items into walls or carry out maintenance work.
In the second council flat which Mrs T moved into, it was renovated by the council about 13 years into her tenancy. The renovation works involved the fitting of a new kitchen, a shower in the bathroom and tiled walls.
The refurbishment was messy and dusty and tenants were not given the opportunity or advised to move out of their flats during the work. There were no warnings given about the dangers of damaged or disturbed asbestos dust or fibres being released into the air and no protective equipment such as masks were given to tenants.
Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis
In 2019, Mrs T started to feel unwell. She went to her GP after experiencing pains in her chest which got worse when she breathed deeply. Her GP referred her to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich where a chest X-ray revealed excess fluid outside her lungs (referred to medically as pleural effusion). The fluid was drained and sent to the laboratory for tests.
Mrs T was then referred to Guy’s Hospital for a thoracoscopy which is a procedure involving an examination of the inside of the chest using a thoracoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end. The thoracoscopy revealed lots of small nodules on the lining of her lungs. A biopsy confirmed that she had malignant epithelioid mesothelioma.
Mrs T says:
“I was knocked for six by the mesothelioma diagnosis. To be given the news that I have asbestos-related cancer in my mid-50s is devastating. I have been so upset and at times extremely angry that I have been exposed to asbestos through no fault of my own. I am desperately trying to come to terms with the diagnosis and my ongoing treatment but it is very hard.”
Asbestos and council housing
Phillip Gower says:
“The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades. Tragically, Mrs T’s case just goes to show that deadly asbestos is still around in buildings and in council properties. Even in the 1980s through to the 1990s, asbestos was used in council properties in London and in other parts of the UK. In some of the larger council estates, it was used as part of the very fabric of the buildings.
“The potential health risk for council housing tenants cannot be underestimated. Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012), the legal responsibilities imposed on employers to prevent asbestos exposure or to minimise risk to the lowest level as possible applies equally to landlords and property owners.
“It goes without saying that if asbestos is present in properties, or any buildings for that matter, warnings should be given and adequate protection offered to everyone, including tenants, who may come into contact with it and inadvertently inhale it.”
Reaching a mesothelioma settlement
Mrs T’s case took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and was in a fast-track mesothelioma list in London and before it was due to go for a court hearing on 20 January 2021, it settled at a joint settlement meeting in December
Phillip Gower says:
“I was delighted to help Mrs T secure a compensation sum without the need to go to court. This money will not only help her to access immunotherapy treatment privately, which may help prolong her life, but it gives her financial security and peace of mind that some justice has been served.”
The numbers of women being diagnosed with mesothelioma is on the increase. To learn more about the causes and the importance of making a mesothelioma claim, visit our women and mesothelioma page.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, Novum Law’s team of specialist asbestos disease solicitors can help on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.
To find out more information, contact us on Freephone: 0800 884 0777 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.