A former welder has received a provisional settlement after being diagnosed with asbestosis, a lung condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

Ronald Smith, 78, from the Wirral in Merseyside, worked for a ship building company as a welder for 37 years. 

He started as an apprentice in 1955, when he was just 16 years old, and worked at the same firm until he was made redundant in 1992.

Throughout this employment, Ronald was regularly exposed to asbestos as he worked near laggers, who would apply asbestos insulation to ships that were being built.

"With no warning of the damage it could cause, our client was routinely exposed to asbestos for a significant period of his life."

Helen Templeton, of Thompsons Solicitors

Ronald began experiencing breathing problems and suffered from chest infections, often coughing up blood.

When the condition worsened he sought medical advice. An X-ray and scan found he had developed asbestosis, a lung disease that scars lung tissue and causes breathing and respiratory problems.

“As soon as my dad got home he would take off his clothes as they were covered in dust,” said Joanne, Ronald’s daughter.

“If he didn’t do this, it would go all over the house. As far as we were aware, the dust was nothing more than a nuisance - we never thought it could be life-threatening. I always put his clothes in the wash, so I worry I may be at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease too.”

Ronald and his daughter contacted Thompsons Solicitors. The asbestos disease specialists negotiated a provisional settlement for him with a condition that if his health deteriorates or he develops a more serious asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, he can reopen his claim.

Helen Templeton, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “With no warning of the damage it could cause, our client was routinely exposed to asbestos for a significant period of his life.

“In this case, we were able to obtain compensation for Ronald and an agreement that he can reopen the claim should his health seriously deteriorate as a result of his condition.

“We have helped thousands of individuals and families like Ronald’s who have been affected by asbestos and I would encourage anyone who has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease to contact our specialists for advice on how they might be able to make a claim.”

“Thompsons was truly excellent,” added Joanne. “We were always informed every step of the way and each process was explained in a way we could understand, not in complicated legal jargon. I can’t recommend them enough.”