Llandudno junior school cleaner is casualty of Mesothelioma
Mrs C used to work as a cleaner in a Llandudno junior school from the mid 1970s to early 1990s. Many schools, built before 2000, will contain some form of asbestos. It is present as thermal insulation on pipes and boilers, in insulation boards used for fire protection and floor / ceiling tiles.
Sealed and undamaged asbestos materials will not release fibres into the atmosphere, but if disturbed , asbestos fibres can be breathed in by building occupants. This is more likely to happen as asbestos materials age and deteriorate.
The activities most likely to lead to the disturbance of asbestos materials in schools and colleges are building and maintenance work. However, depending on their location, asbestos materials could also be disturbed through the everyday impacts typical in schools.
One of the duties of Mrs C as school cleaner was to sweep the boiler rooms, including the pipes. The pipes were old and in a poor state of repair, so she was actually sweeping dust that contained asbestos fibres.
During her time there, a second school was built and Mrs C then had to clean up after the builders and tradesmen. The school ceilings were made of a type of asbestos tile, which over time would come lose and fall to the ground. Mrs C had to stick them back up, which meant handling the rough and broken edges of the asbestos tiles and breathing in toxic asbestos dust as a consequence.
Biopsy confirmed mesothelioma diagnosis
In 2019, she developed a painful chesty cough and was referred to hospital for tests and scans. The results of which led to a biospy which unfortunately confirmed the devastated news of a mesothelioma diagnosis.
She contacted our team of mesothelioma solicitors a couple of months later - early 2020 and we visited her at her home to talk through the claims process for mesothelioma. We took a statement regarding her work history with specific reference to asbestos exposure at the primary school and took evidence from medical experts to prove the link between this exposure and the diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer.
Covid-19 had a bearing on our progress with this claim as the first lockdown was in place and lines of communication with the defendants were erratic. There were delays in the response to emails and phone calls. However in this case it was important to conclude the claim while Mrs was still alive - she had lost her husband some years ago and her grown up children were not dependants. This meant that she needed to conclude the claim during her lifetime to recover her pension loss.
Her condition worsened and she was admitted to a local hospice, so an offer was made to the insurers of the local council to settle the claim. They made a counter offer, which Mrs C decided to accept and they agreed to cover the costs incurred at the hospice. The claim settled within 5 months of her instructing our solicitors for in excess of £120K. Sadly she passed away a few days later, but at least she had some comfort from the knowledge that the claim had settled and the Council had admitted liability for failing to protect her from the perils of asbestos exposure.
If you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease - for example mesothelioma, we can advise you as to whether you can make a claim. Please call the number below, request a call-back or chat online and ask for Warren or Kathy.
Jennifer is a Partner in our Personal Injury team and Head of the Bath and Swindon Industrial Diseases Teams. She exclusively represents sufferers of asbestos related diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening, and their families.. Read more >