As part of our Spotlight On series to find out more about the people behind the firm’s successes, we had a chat with Marion Voss from our Leeds office.
Marion Voss is a senior solicitor and team leader in the Leeds office who has been with Thompsons since 1998. She is an avid walker, a member of the National Trust and a sports enthusiast who has played football and netball for Thompsons in her day. When she’s not at work, Marion enjoys swimming, watching football, visiting the theatre and going to events with her children.
What has been the most challenging case for you at Thompsons and why?
There are two claims that I remember particularly well, and they were both fairly early on in my career. They stand out because they were both unusual and required detailed investigation into liability.
I represented the estate of a woman who was tragically killed by a tree that fell on her car while she was stationary in traffic. I had to instruct a tree expert and ended up learning a vast amount about the risk posed to the general public by trees, the risk assessments local authorities carry out on trees and
Marion Voss, from our Leeds office
how to check if a tree is safe or whether there is a danger of it falling, especially in high winds.
The second case involved investigating a microlight accident. I had to gather reports and information about how to fly a microlight safely, taking into account wind speeds and air currents, and how they are affected by trees and other objects when taking off and landing.
What do you enjoy most about working at Thompsons?
When I joined Thompsons more than 20 years ago, I was aware of the firm’s outstanding reputation for taking on large corporations and acting on behalf of the individual. Thompsons provided me with the perfect platform to develop my experience of representing claimants on challenging and complex cases.
I have benefitted from working alongside Thompsons’ extensive contacts including unions and asbestos support groups. I have met a wide range of fantastic people and organisations who are all committed to making the safety and rights of employees in the workplace a priority and that has been a privilege.
Working with a dedicated team of people committed to acting in their clients’ best interests, not a soulless commercial firm or part of a firm that acts for claimants and defendants, has been important to me. I am also a fan of the firm’s social club which involved lots of trips before the pandemic. One of my favourites was when we dressed up in crazy outfits to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
As well as those sorts of trips, we go out for dinner quite regularly and have an annual Christmas jumper day for Save The Children, which I introduced. Even through lockdown, my team have kept in touch socially via Zoom.
What is the most satisfying thing about your job at Thompsons?
I am part of a highly skilled team. A claim is often the only recourse that a client can pursue while they struggle with the horrific injuries caused by the asbestos dust they have inadvertently breathed into their lungs.
The challenges are continual in these claims, from investigating sources of exposure(s), to tracing witnesses and even finding missing spouses. It is so satisfying at the end of all of that to obtain compensation on a client’s behalf from insurers who invariably fight claims on several fronts.
When I started working in this field, there was very little treatment for mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer. In those days, victims were only expected to live for about 12 months after being diagnosed, but now there are lots of hopeful developments, including immunotherapy treatments, which can not only help increase life expectancy, but also ease symptoms. I have found it pleasing to witness this progress.
At Thompsons, wherever we can we seek settlements where insurers cover the costs of this sort of treatment through private medicine. The future is looking more encouraging, however, with the NHS starting to offer immunotherapy and a treatment which involves using gold tubes to attack the cancer.
I work closely with Mesothelioma UK and am proud that Thompsons is part of its legal panel. We appreciate all it does and we get involved in fundraising for the charity. We have organised a sponsored bike ride to raise money and also a Christmas carol competition, which we all did virtually, and I’m delighted that our team won the much coveted crown of ‘Best Musical Performance’ for it!
In addition to working with the national charity Mesothelioma UK, I am grateful for the excellent relationship both I and the team have with Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST) and SARAG, the Yorkshire and Humberside Asbestos Support Group. Time and again, I have seen the exceptional support they give to individuals and their families who are affected by asbestos. Their compassion knows no limits.
I have achieved asbestos specialist accreditation with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers in recognition of my commitment, skills and experience in this area of law. This enables me to fight for those who seek to bring those responsible for devastating their health to account.
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.