This article was published on February 3rd, 2016
A 74 year old Royal Navy engineer has brought about a compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence after contracting an incurable cancer called mesothelioma.
According to the claimant the engineers used to get “covered head to foot” in asbestos powder as it was used to insulate pipes back then and the engineers were tasked with removing it. He worked as a naval engineer from 1958 to 1963 and it is during this time in the Navy that he believes he was exposed to the toxic substance which has led to his terminal condition.
“The asbestos had to be removed and replaced by hand and we were covered head-to-foot in the white asbestos powder – we’d get it in our eyes and up our noses,” he said. “I’ve got severe back pain, chest pain and feel pretty grotty all the time.
The veteran is asking to be treated the same as civil claimants who contracted the disease whilst working for their employers. The dangers of working with asbestos were not as well-known back in the 50’s and 60’s as they are now and employees can claim against their employers if they were not protected from working with this dangerous material in the past. It can take many years for the true damage to health to reveal itself.
The defence minister said he was “reviewing the options”.
“Whether [compensation] should be applied to this group is a complex issue that has been the subject of much discussion.”
This case is particularly interesting as the claim comes after the 16 December 2015 cut-off date which was set by the MOD as a last date they would provide compensation to defense staff if diagnosed with asbestos related cancer.
The claimant argues: “What dates have got to do with it is beyond my comprehension, and they’ve got to step forward and pay us proper compensation in line with our civilian counterparts.”
The ex-naval engineer has been given two months to live and hopes that if he is successful, any compensation he wins will help his three sons who have supported him through his debilitating illness.
Companies and institutions whether they are public or private have a duty of care to ensure their employees are not unduly exposed to dangerous or harmful substances. Whilst asbestos is not used anymore, there is still a lot of it about and it should be handled with care whether you are working close to it or removing it. If you are diagnosed with a condition or illness relating to exposure to a dangerous substance then you may be entitled to compensation
Speak to one of our specialist solicitors who will listen to your individual case and handle every aspect of your compensation claim, providing the support and expertise you deserve. We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess the viability of your personal injury claim.
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