A Swindon family has received £98,000 in compensation from British Rail following the death of a former employee who was continuously exposed to asbestos during the forty years he worked there.
Valentine Thomas of Avonmead, Swindon, died in 2011, aged 88, but was only diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos after his death. A widower, he was nursed by his children who have been compensated for the expenses they incurred.
The family’s solicitor, Brigitte Chandler, a leading industrial disease lawyer and partner with Swindon law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall, who has represented many hundreds of railway workers over the last 30 years, said that Mr Thomas had also suffered from deafness caused by his former workplace.
“Even though the Swindon works closed in 1986, former workers are still developing symptoms of asbestos exposure now,” said Brigitte Chandler. “Anybody who has worked in an environment where asbestos is present, no matter how long ago, and who is experiencing breathing problems or discomfort should seek a medical opinion.”
Mr Thomas resumed work for British Rail in 1947 when he returned to Swindon after the war. He worked in various departments until his retirement in 1986, including stints as a carriage fitter.
“He was asked to strip locomotive boilers covered in asbestos,” said Brigitte Chandler. “The workmen were expected to strip them out and were given no protection.
“Mr Thomas’ family were able to bring a claim as the Department of Transport is covering claims for people who worked at British Rail in the past. However, even when employers cannot be traced or no insurance can be found, insurers have set up a scheme which means people can apply for compensation – but only if they have been diagnosed after 1 July 2012.”
Swindon and South West Asbestos Group is a regional charity which provides support groups and a free advice service to people suffering from asbestos disease and their families.
For further details contact Swindon and South West Asbestos Group, telephone 01793 532995 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.asbestosgroup.co.uk
For further information contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793 511055 or email@example.com
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