Hotpoint was a major employer during the 1960s in Llandudno Junction, Wales, manufacturing household goods. Unbeknown to employees, asbestos was used in the manufacture of its white goods.
Our client assembled top loading washing machines where the brake linings and other components comprised of asbestos, exposing him and other workers to asbestos as part of their daily jobs.
The factory environment also endangered employees. When it rained, the roof leaked and when it was windy, the corrugated sheeting shifted, causing dust and debris to fall down onto the machinery and workers below.
There were reports of the women wearing hats to keep the dust out of their hair. Former employees also recall rotting matter from seagull's nests falling through during the many periods of maintenance. Most were unaware that the sheeting contained asbestos and dust hung in the air around them. Rather, it was a case of brushing the dust off the machinery and their clothing and continuing work.
Bridget brought a claim against the insurers of the company for failing to protect her client. Initially, the claim was denied but Bridget was able to locate Hotpoint files in the national archives at Conwy containing important information for the case. This proved a real turning point since shortly after uncovering the files, the defendant accepted responsibility for causing mesothelioma.
Bridget initially visited her client at home to assess their needs. With no family living close by, it was important to ensure paid help for home care was in place, plus vital equipment as the disease progressed.
Bridget initially arranged an assessment for care and then instructed a case manager to work with her client to oversee the right help was in place which still allowed our client control over what was provided and when. With the care and manager's fees being indemnified by the claim, the case manager took the stress out of sourcing local companies and also acted as an initial go-between with medical services available, included the local GP.
This generated the suggestion of a modified bathroom, delivery of hot food and pieces of equipment.
Bridget said she was particularly pleased to help in this way since it meant her client could remain independent in his own home while benefitting from the advice of a case manager.
"Compensation is only part of the claim, we get to know our clients well early on in a case and the thought that I can make a difference to someone's well-being is a rewarding part of my job," she said.
Settlement was agreed without the need to proceed to trial.
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