We Solicitors were instructed to act for a retired plumber and maintenance worker who was employed by the Bolton and District Hospital Committee and based at Bolton District Hospital. He was employed at the Hospital between 1961 to 1964 and again for twelve months between 1966-1967.
When we first met Mr Mason he seemed in good health at the end of April. However his deterioration after that was rapid and sadly Mr Mason died at the beginning of August 2013. His wife continued on with the case as she said it was something her husband would have wanted to see through to the end in the name of justice.
Mr Mason’s main duties whilst working as a maintenance plumber were to fix and maintain the miles of pipework within the hospital that were often lagged with asbestos insulation. He described frequently having to remove the insulation and drill into the asbestos which caused fibres and dust to be breathed in. There was no personal protection provided by his former employers in the form of masks or breathing apparatus.
Despite large employers being aware of the dangers of asbestos as erarly as the 1930’s many employers took little or no steps to ensure their employees were effectively protected from the dangers of asbestos.
Asbestos fibres, when inhaled, can lodge in the lungs and it often takes between 20-40 years for the cancer most associated with asbestos, mesothelioma, to be noticed. Sadly for Mr Mason and other victims there is no cure or effective treatment for the disease. Whilst the prognosis for any victim is a best guess, life expectancy rarely, in the writers experience, exceeds 12-18 months from the date of diagnosis.
The Bolton & District Hospital Committee are no longer in existence and there have been various successor bodies. Ultimately the Secretary of State for Health was pursued to settle this claim. Court action followed but the solicitors representing the Government and Secretary of State agreed to settle out of court for a significant six figure sum.
Steven Evans the partner dealing with the case stated ” Sadly this story is all too common. Whilst we do everything we can to try and afford our clients and their families some peace of mind that their loved ones are financially secure, we are left in a perverse situation whereby the case is worth far more once the victim has passed away. It seems grossly unfair that many victims do not have the benefit of the full compensation within their lifetime”.
He also said ” Mr Mason always came across as a really nice, hardworking family man who sadly contracted this terrible disease like thousands of other former UK workers. Whilst I hope the number of people diagnosed does start to decline I am personally seeing no evidence of this and the number of people contacting me only seems to be increasing”.
A member of the Mason Family stated “We really appreciated the service that Steven Evans and his team at WE Solicitors gave us. They were down to earth and seemed to understand what we were going through as a family. When we needed to contact Steven he was always available and we spoke to him at night and over weekends. The rest of the time they left us to get on with caring for Brian and then grieving for him when he passed away.
The compensation we recovered will never bring Brian back but it would have given Brain some peace of mind knowing that his wife is secure and that he received the justice he so rightly deserved for suffering in the way he did from this terrible disease”