The family of a 76 year old man who died from asbestos cancer in March has received substantial compensation from his former employers.

The former shipyard worker was exposed to the toxic dust while working as a joiner for three different Tyneside shipyards during the 1950s and 1960s.

After seeking medical attention from a GP for a painful chest and a persistent cough in May 2012, the North Shields man was dealt the blow that he was suffering from mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer which affects the lining of the lungs and which killed him in less than 12 months.

Industrial disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors

He approached industrial disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate his case before he died. Their investigation proved he was negligently exposed to asbestos by his employers during the course of his career, but had not been warned of the dangers nor given adequate protection from the dust.

At one shipyard he cut up asbestos sheeting to make fireproof doors– but the employer did not provide him with a suitable mask. Another role saw him involved in stripping and replacing asbestos lagging – again, without any form of protection to prevent him from inhaling the dust.

Secured substantial damages within six months

With the aid of a specialist Thompsons’ solicitor, he secured substantial damages within six months of the launch of the case but died shortly thereafter.

Speaking before he died, the shipyard worker said: “As a joiner on Tyneside I was always going to end up working on the shipyards. I enjoyed my years there but I had no idea that my work would lead to me becoming so ill later in life.

“My wife and I were utterly devastated when we were given the prognosis but I was determined to claim compensation so I could make sure that she was provided for in the future. I can’t thank Thompsons enough for their quick and efficient handling of my case.”

Helen Jones, an industrial disease specialist at Thompsons, added: “Compensation can never make up for the loss this family has suffered but it will help to provide financial security and a sense that his former employers have been held to account for their negligence.