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BT Engineer Mesothelioma Compensation Action Started Shortly before Claimant’s Death

August 13, 2012

An inquest into the death of a former BT Building Contract Manager has heard that the deceased made a BT engineer mesothelioma compensation action shortly before he died.

At the inquest, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing was told that Derek Butler, aged 74, from Weston in Somerset – a former BT draughtsman and Building Contract Manager – had been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer earlier this year, an industrial disease often caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Dr Harrowing heard from Mr Butler’s consultant physician – who confirmed that Derek had died from malignant mesothelioma, and was also read a statement composed by Derek shortly before his death, in which Derek explained the reasons why he believed he had contracted the deadly cancer.

The statement revealed that Derek had worked for British Telecommunications from 1967 as a draughtsman and, from 1980 until his eventual retirement in 1996, as a Building Contract Manger. Although many of Derek´s responsibilities revolved around planning the remodelling of buildings that were being converted from mechanical telephone systems to electric telephone networks, he was often called upon to be present at building sites to supervise the work.

It was during his time at these building sites that Derek was exposed to asbestos coated telephone wires which – as the remodelling was in progress – released a significant amount of asbestos fibres and dust into the atmosphere. According to Derek´s statement the protection supplied by BT against exposure to asbestos was comprised of several plastic sheets which failed to protect people working at the site.

Derek had begun a BT engineer mesothelioma claim for compensation shortly before his death and speaking at the conclusion of the inquest Dr Peter Harrowing said: “Mr Butler did not work directly with asbestos but when working with BT and working with buildings which were remodelled it was likely he was exposed to asbestos during that work. I accept the medical cause of death as being one due to industrial disease.”

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Diffuse Mesothelioma Cancer Compensation Fund Established by Government

June 21, 2012

The Minister for Welfare – Lord Freud – has revealed details of a diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation fund which will be established to aidt those diagnosed with work-related mesothelioma cancer who are unable to trace their former employers.

The scheme enables victims of the asbestos-related disease, diagnosed with work-related diffuse mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012, who are not able to trace their former employers or their former employer´s insurers to claim against the fund.

The diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation scheme will be funded by the insurance industry and is expected to pay up to 300 million pounds in compensation for diffuse mesothelioma cancer over the next ten years.

Speaking at the official launch of the scheme, Lord Freud said “We have worked tirelessly together with the insurance industry to agree this package of measures on behalf of those who face this terrible disease. The new scheme will mean that, for the first time, sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma, who cannot trace either a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer, will have access to extra payments.”

Although welcomed as a step in the appropriate direction, campaigners for mesothelioma sufferers and representatives of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have criticised the scheme for not being sufficiently far-reaching.

They claim that it is not fair that those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer prior to the 25th July will not be included in claiming diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation if their former employer is untraceable, as will victims of asbestosis, pleural plaques and asbestos-related lung disease.

The introduction of the fund to help former employees unable to claim diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation will not affect the rights of former employees who have contracted the disease while working for companies still in existence such as BT.

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Firm Found Guilty of Factory Injury due to Disabled Safety Features

May 25, 2012

A man who suffered a fractured jaw and facial injuries due to tampering with his machine at work has been awarded 2,500 pounds compensation for factory injury due to disabled safety features following a Health and Safety Executive investigation.

Grzegorz Chylenski (33) from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire was using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine at PG Components Ltd in Cheltenham, when he reached into the machine to retrieve a dropped component. As he did so, he was hit on the head by the moving parts of the machine, suffering a fractured jaw and cuts to his face.

After the incident in August 2011, the Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation into Grzegorz´s injuries and discovered that the safety features which stopped the machine´s operation when the door was open had been disabled. It was discovered that the safety feature had been disabled deliberately to increase the productivity of the machine and its operator.

At Cheltenham Magistrates Court, PG Components Ltd pleaded guilty to causing factory injury due to disabled safety features and breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined 11,200 pounds, ordered to pay 2,777 pounds in costs and compensation of 2,500 pounds to Grzegorz for factory injury due to disabled safety features.


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No Win No Fee Asbestos Claims Will Not be Subject to Changes

April 11, 2012

The government´s justice minister, Jonathan Djanogly, has revealed that “No Win, No Fee” asbestos claims and claims for compensation for asbestos-related diseases will be exempt from the changes being introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill later this year.

Under the original plans to amend No Win, No Fee Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), the government was keen to remove access for all claimants to no-win, no-fee legal representation, but the Department of Justice has bowed to pressure from the Lords and from campaigners to exempt those suffering from mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening.

In a statement before the Commons, Mr Djanogly said there had been “careful reflection about the special case of mesothelioma sufferers”, and a delay would now be imposed to the removal of access to No Win, No Fee asbestos claims. Mr Djanogly also said the government was looking at ways of making it easier for sufferers and their solicitors to trace their former employer’s insurers.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan welcomed this concession for No Win, No Fee asbestos claims, telling the House “The key question here is should victims of industrial diseases like mesothelioma have to hand over part of their damages to their lawyers and insurer, or should the wrongdoers fund the cost of the successful litigation?”

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Former Miners Wins Almost £74k Asbestos Compensation for Mesothelioma Cancer

March 15, 2012

A former miner, who was exposed to asbestos fibres during an eighteen year period employed in two Nottinghamshire collieries, has been awarded 73,890 pounds compensation for mesothelioma cancer by a judge at London´s High Court.

Dennis Ball, aged 92, worked at the Sutton Colliery and the Moorgreen Colliery between 1967 and 1985 where, it had been claimed, he was exposed to asbestos fibres which were responsible for the development of mesothelioma cancer.

In his work injury claims action for compensation for mesothelioma cancer, it was alleged that the National Coal Board failed to warn Dennis against the risk of exposure to asbestos and offered no form of personal protective equipment. Liability was admitted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change who administer liabilities on behalf of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation.

Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court heard how Dennis had been in physically health and living independently in his home, prior to being found lying on the floor of his flat struggling for breath in March 2010. Dennis was later moved to a care home and diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.

Mrs Justice Swift awarded Dennis 73,890 pounds work injury claims compensation for mesothelioma cancer, which included 50,000 pounds for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity and a further 20,000 pounds for the years of his life he will undoubtedly lose.

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Six-Figure Settlement for Stress at Work Injury Claims Action

January 12, 2012

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) – Scotland´s largest teaching union – has released selected details of work injury claims settlements paid to its members in the last year, including one which saw a teacher receive a six-figure settlement for their stress at work claim.

The unnamed teacher suffered a stress-related psychiatric injury after their employer did not heed the teacher´s warnings of an excessive workload and EIS General Secretary, Ronnie Smith, was quick to point out that the growth of cases where teachers were sustaining psychiatric injuries or stress-related illnesses should be taken as a warning by council employers that the demands placed upon teachers was becoming too much.

In addition to stress at work compensation claims, other occupational injury compensation payments were made to teachers who had suffered physical attacks from children under their care and one EIS member who contracted mesothelioma cancer after being exposed to asbestos. Overall, EIS members received in excess of 650,000 pounds in work injury claims compensation in the last year.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Work-related stress can take many forms and affect individuals in different ways. The Scottish government expects councils to take appropriate action at a local level to minimise the risk of stress or injury and any related claims through their own local health and safety procedures for staff and pupils.”


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Compensation for Mesothelioma Injury Claims Awarded to Ferry Worker

December 27, 2011

A ferry worker, who contracted mesothelioma cancer as a result of being exposed to asbestos, has been awarded 1.45 million dollars in occupational illness injury claims compensation by a jury in Seattle.

Roger Hammett (84) of Maury Island, Washington, was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in August 2010 after working all his life on naval vessels, commercial ships and ferries. Before his diagnosis he was a fit active man but has now been given less than a year to live by doctors.

Although many of the vessels on which he worked may have contributed to his condition, a compensation for mesothelioma injury claim was made against Sea-Land Service Inc. – a ferry company for whom Roger worked during the sixties aboard the SS Seattle travelling between Seattle and Kodiak Island in Alaska.

It was alleged in the claim for occupational illness compensation that Roger´s exposure to asbestos was most intense aboard the SS Seattle due to the company being in violation of government health regulations regarding the material. It was claimed in court that even if Sea-Land Service Inc. were unaware of the government regulations at the time, they should have been due to the volume of information available.

The jury at Kings County District Court ruled that because of Roger´s many different employments during a 60 year career at sea, Sea-Land Service Inc. were only to be held 70 per cent liable for his condition and awarded him 1.45 million dollars.

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