A woman who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work has received a six-figure compensation payment with backing from Thompsons Solicitors.
Susan Stevenson, 65, worked as a visual display unit operator in the returns department of a catalogue warehouse in Peterborough from 1988 to 2003.
Throughout her employment, maintenance staff, including her husband, worked in a nearby control room carrying out repairs and, in doing so, disturbed asbestos that was present in partition walls. They were not provided with protective equipment or sheeting to separate the areas, so asbestos dust contaminated the warehouse.
It was only after she left the company that she found out the control room had to be dismantled by licenced asbestos removal contractors.
Near her retirement in February 2015, Susan began suffering from breathlessness, which prompted her to visit her GP. After several tests and a biopsy to drain fluid from her lungs, she was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma.
Following this, Susan contacted the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST) and industrial disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a compensation claim on her behalf.
She said: “I would often walk in and out of areas where repair work was carried out to pass on messages to staff, but I was never made aware that I was at risk of inhaling asbestos. Looking back, I remember that dust would fill the air and sometimes get on my clothes, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
“When I began to struggle breathing from walking up stairs and doing general housework, I knew something was wrong. My diagnosis was a total shock. I never thought I’d be at risk of developing something so serious in my line of work, I’m devastated.
“I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened and how the disease is going to affect me long-term, but having the support of Thompsons has been invaluable. I’ve been given step-by-step guidance throughout the legal claim as well as sound advice about the effects of exposure to asbestos.”
Steve Fitzwalter, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The dangers were well documented as long ago as the1960’s that even low levels of asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, yet Susan’s employer continued to ignore the risks and did not provide adequate protection for its warehouse workforce.
“Licenced contractors were eventually brought in to remove asbestos from the building, but this was too little too late for Susan who is now unfortunately one of the thousands of people every year in the UK who are paying the price for having been negligently exposed to asbestos at work.
“The specialist legal support Thompsons was able to offer Susan has enabled her to promptly obtain full financial compensation during her lifetime.”