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A flurry of asbestos compensation claims against a formerly government-owned shipyard are expected to exceed £150m.
The shipyard, based in Belfast used to be owned by the government before privatisation in the late eighties. Former employees did not know about the harmful effects of asbestos at the time and many have since been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition.
Tens of thousands of people worked at the shipyard after the Second World War and already there have been thousands of people compensated. Some people affected by the asbestos were also the wives of workers who washed their husbands’ clothes.
Around £60 m has already been paid out and the Department of Enterprise expects to pay our a further £86m. Over the next 50 years, the government expects the compensation bill will be over £150m.
A former employee who has received compensation from the government in respect to exposure at the yard was diagnosed with asbestosis two years ago and is now in his late seventies said he didn’t know himself and his colleagues were at risk at the time. He added that there was no extractor fan where he was working and no masks were given to shield from the dust.
He said: “No foreman or manager in my time ever said that there was asbestos in here and that you had to watch yourself,”
Asbestos was once known as a very useful substance to work with and its popularity grew in many industrial environments in the last century, in particular, the shipbuilding sector.
The effects of asbestos exposure do not often appear until decades later, sometimes up to 40 years. Symptoms are respiratory related and can be very debilitating for victims. Mesothelioma is a terminal illness also related to asbestos exposure and life expectancy is usually short following diagnosis.
In many cases, it is possible to claim personal injury compensation even if your former employer doesn’t own the company any longer or the company has been dissolved.
It is also possible to claim compensation for asbestos exposure if your symptoms appear decades after you have been exposed.
It is advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer who specialises in industrial illnesses and has the knowledge of current legislation that will help you be successful in your case.
Please contact Jefferies Solicitors who will be able to help work with you on your asbestos claim. We are able to work with many of our clients on a no win no fee* basis. Please call us on 0800 342 3206 to tell us more about your circumstances and find out more about no win no fee.
If you have suffered as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.
Contact Jefferies’ no win, no fee solicitors on our national accident helpline above or complete our quick online enquiry form. One of our team of experienced specialists will get in touch to discuss your prospect of claiming for accidents or injuries, in confidence.
Published 13th February 2015.