A woman with asbestos-related cancer has won her legal battle for justice as Birchall Blackburn Solicitors secured her a six figure settlement figure.
Joyce Harding, 78 years old from Lowestoft, contracted the mesothelioma disease after her husband’s previous employer negligently exposed him to asbestos over 30 years ago.
Between the years 1975 and 1977, Mrs Harding would welcome her husband Arthur home following his shift as an assistant caretaker, dust down his overalls and put them into the wash.
The clothes however were contaminated with asbestos due to his work tasks in communal boiler rooms in a block of flats. As a result of shaking the overalls and coming into contact with her husband after work, Mrs Harding was exposed to significant quantities of asbestos fibres and dust.
The couple were unaware of the danger at the time but in January 2012, Mrs Harding suffered persistent nausea and vomiting which was followed by chest pain a few months later. The family was left devastated when she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in July 2012.
Specialist lawyer, Dianne Yates, partner at Birchall Blackburn Solicitors based in the North West issued court proceedings after Mr Harding’s previous company, Ruskin Park Housing Association, denied responsibility. An out of court settlement was secured on behalf of Mrs Harding as her health continues to deteriorate.
Mrs Harding commented: “It’s hard to believe that carrying out normal household tasks and looking after my husband could be so dangerous.
“The lack of protective clothing and advice from my husband’s employer as he carried out his day to day job has left me with a fatal disease and my family are obviously heartbroken.
“The cancer is having a terrible effect upon me and I am unable to live my life to the full, or do simple jobs around the home.”
“My husband and I are both very grateful for the help we received in securing the settlement so quickly and I urge anyone who could have potentially been exposed to the asbestos to seek expert advice like I did.”
Once asbestos fibres are inhaled they can penetrate the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body, more often than not the cancer affects the lungs, but can also arise in the stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma), the sac around the heart and the testis. Around 50 people a week in the UK die from mesothelioma.
Dianne Yates commented: “This is an unfortunate case which required a great deal of empathy but we hope we have helped to bring some justice to the suffering Mrs Harding and her family have to endure.
“With very limited life expectancy, the settlement sum will go towards the care now required to ensure that Mrs Harding is as comfortable as possible.
“In any case like this we always have the strongest desire to do the best we possibly can for the client and make the employers who knew of the dangers of asbestos responsible for their actions.”