A 64-year-old Gateshead man whose life will be cut short by deadly lung disease mesothelioma has successfully claimed for compensation against former employers.
Wilfred Craig’s life was “torn apart” after a persistent cough and loss of breath led to doctors diagnosing him with incurable mesothelioma. The asbestos-related illness causes him severe breathlessness and chest pains, while he will require round-the-clock care in the final few months of life.
But Mr Craig’s family should be financially stable for years to come after his personal injury solicitors challenged George Wimpey & Co, owners of the joinery were Mr Craig worked in the early 1960s, following the tragic diagnosis.
During his employment as a joiner’s apprentice, Mr Craig was regularly exposed to asbestos, the principal cause of mesothelioma, as he fitted shuttering for manhole covers, cut asbestos sheets, boxed pipes, lined ducts and cupboard doors with asbestos and fitted soffits.
The majority of his employment at George Wimpey & Co involved cutting asbestos sheets on a circular saw and left Mr Craig's clothing covered in asbestos dust, which he shook off using his hands, causing him to further inhale asbestos dust particles.
Insurers acting on behalf of Carillion Construction Ltd, successors of George Wimpey & Co, initially argued that the level of asbestos exposure undergone by Mr Craig was within health and safety limits for the time.
In March, such arguments were disputed by Mr Craig's lawyers and rejected by the court.
"I am so angry to think that my life and those of my wife and children have been torn apart unnecessarily because of my former employers' negligence,” said Mr Craig.
"Throughout my employment I was never provided with a mask or any protective clothing because I was working with asbestos. Had I been given this equipment to protect myself I wouldn’t be in this dreadful situation.”
Mesothelioma affects thousands of workers every year. As symptoms can take decades to develop, opportunities for compensation arise often long after employment has ceased. Those suffering from similar a illness should instruct solicitors immediately and, like Mr Craig, secure a financial cushion to guard against the heartbreaking blows of industrial disease.
Personal Injury solicitor Dawn Humphries specialises in this type of industrial injury, if you would like any advice, contact her free on 0800 954 9935.