Novum Law secures mesothelioma compensation for self-employed carpenter

Expert asbestos disease solicitor Andrew Stinchcombe has secured £155,000 compensation for the widow of Harry*, who developed the asbestos cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working as a carpenter.

Exposed to asbestos as a carpenter

From 1961 to 1985, Harry was employed as a carpenter, often helping to build homes on large building sites in Frome and Trowbridge.

His work regularly involved cutting and fitting asbestos sheets to make soffits for roofs and porches. Using a handsaw or angle-grinder provided by his employer, Harry would cut as many as 4 to 5 sheets per session, which would take about 1 hour.

The soffits would then be drilled or nailed so they could be fitted. This work often took place indoors and generated large clouds of asbestos dust.

Harry would also regularly fit garage roofs using ‘big 6’ corrugated asbestos sheets, which he would cut to size. This created asbestos dust that settled on him and which he brushed off with his hands. Finally, at the end of his day, Harry would use a broom to sweep up all the asbestos dust and debris, causing even more dust which he breathed in.

Mesothelioma diagnosis

In October 2019 Harry developed breathing difficulties and chest pain. After lots of tests including a pleural fluid aspiration, CT scan of his chest, a thoracoscopy and a biopsy, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Sadly, mesothelioma is a terminal cancer with a short life expectancy. Harry started to receive cycles of palliative chemotherapy aimed at controlling his mesothelioma symptoms and preserving his quality of life.  However, Harry unfortunately developed serious chemotherapy side effects. His treatment had to be discontinued and he died in November 2020.

Mesothelioma compensation for carpenters

After he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, Harry contacted Novum Law’s expert legal team to help him make a compensation claim. Specialist solicitor Andrew Stinchcombe took on his case, and immediately helped Harry apply for the state benefits he was entitled to as an asbestos disease victim, which he received in full.

Andrew and his team then started looking into Harry’s mesothelioma compensation claim.  The claim was complicated because like many carpenters, Harry was self-employed later in his career.

This meant it was hard to prove whose fault it was that he was exposed to asbestos. Harry’s former company argued that he was not treated as an employee and that they did not owe him compensation.

However, Novum Law was able to show that although Harry was technically self-employed at the time much of his asbestos exposure took place, he was in fact treated as an ‘employee’ of the company running the building site where he worked. For example, the company gave him the asbestos materials he worked with, and told him what he should do.

Novum Law used evidence from witnesses, medical experts and engineers to support Harry’s case, and issued court proceedings against his former employer to progress his claim. Very sadly, Harry died before his case concluded. However, Harry’s widow carried on with his claim, which settled in May 2022 without the need to go to court.

Andrew says:

“Harry’s case was complicated, but far from unique. Many former self-employed carpenters were negligently exposed to asbestos by the people and companies they carried out work for, leading to them developing asbestos diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma.

“They have every right to make a claim for the pain and suffering they have experienced, and our expert team will stand with them every step of the way towards accessing support and compensation.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma after working as a carpenter, Novum Law can help you on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis.

Don’t leave it too late: you typically have 3 years to start an asbestos compensation claim after your diagnosis, or after the date of your loved one’s death. Call us on 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form to arrange a free, no obligation chat.

*Client’s name has been changed to protect privacy.


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