Mr Watson was born in Chelmsford, Essex, in 1944. He worked in retail and then in a hardware store for many years. He began working as a plumber for Frank Wilson Plumbing & Heating Limited in 1972 and in 1975 he took the business over.
When Mr Watson was employed by Frank Wilson Plumbing & Heating Limited, some time between 1972 and 1975, he was exposed to asbestos at the Ripley Arts Centre in Bromley. He had to go into the boiler room there in order to replace a pump on the pipework, this being the pump for the central heating system.
On this job Mr Watson worked in a confined space in the boiler room. The boiler and associated pipes were lagged with asbestos material. Some of the lagging was already powdery and loose when Mr Watson began his work. He remembered that there was dust on the floor that had fallen down from the pipes over the years. In removing and replacing the pump Mr Watson disturbed and shook the pipework and was exposed to asbestos dust, which he inhaled.
Importantly, Mr Watson was not given any warnings about the dangers of working with asbestos, nor was he provided with any protective equipment, even though low levels of asbestos had been known to cause serious injury since 1965.
In about September 2014 Mr Watson developed a pain on the left side of his torso. He thought he had strained a muscle picking up a heavy weight. His GP referred him for an x-ray. He underwent further procedures and investigations before he was, sadly, diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma.
Mr Watson contacted Andrew Morgan for assistance in February 2015. Andrew met Mr Watson and took a detailed statement from him. It seemed to Andrew unlikely that the insurer for Frank Wilson Plumbing & Heating Limited would ever be found so he made a claim to the new Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS).
DMPS accepted that there had been negligent exposure which had caused Mr Watson's mesothelioma and agreed that no insurer had been found. In April they made an award to Mr Watson of £128,548, which included a contribution towards legal costs. However, because Andrew had conducted the case so efficiently Mr Watson was able to keep some of the costs contribution for himself.
Mr Watson went on to say:
"I did not expect any compensation due to the fact I was either self employed or sub-contracted. I was so surprised to get the compensation; it was only six weeks from when I first saw you".
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