Basil Anderson worked for the Southern Gas Board, for 40 years in Hampshire until retiring in 1995.
Mr Anderson's employment began in 1955 and he became a qualified gas fitter at the end of his apprenticeship in 1961. As an engineer he cut holes in asbestos panels to be fitted over fireplaces for the new North Sea Gas fires. He cut flues made of asbestos materials; removed deteriorating asbestos seals in boilers; and used asbestos rope to seal installation piping. When Mr Anderson was promoted to a managerial position he was still exposed to asbestos when supervising engineers who were carrying out the same tasks as he had done previously. Mr Anderson worked all over the county as a British Gas employee covering Petersfield, Waterlooville, Havant, Chichester and Portsmouth as well as neighbouring Guildford.
Mr Anderson was fit and well until April 2015 when he began to experience violent coughing fits and a sudden loss of appetite. After a GP appointment Mr Anderson was sent for an x-ray before immediately being referred for a CT scan. The scan showed that three quarters of his lung was full of liquid. A biopsy was undertaken and Mr Anderson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2015, 60 years after he was first exposed to asbestos and almost 30 years since the privatisation of his former employer.
It is not unusual for 40 years or more to pass before the symptoms of mesothelioma emerge. Mr Anderson made the link between his illness and his asbestos exposure so many years previously.
Andrew Morgan, a Partner in our Asbestos Team, took on Mr Anderson's case. He secured the crucial evidence of Mr Anderson's witness statement, by visiting him at his home within days of the first telephone call. Andrew obtained all the necessary records and instructed a medical expert so that Mr Anderson did not need to visit any medical experts in person.. Andrew was able to obtain all necessary records to obtain an expert report without any inconvenience. The relevant insurers were traced and notified of Mr Anderson's claim in November 2015. Mr Anderson received a substantial settlement less than five months later.
"The quick settlement of Mr Anderson's claim shows how crucial it is to have the right team working for you if you think you have been affected by asbestos. Our experience and knowledge in this specialist area enabled us to get the compensation to which Mr Anderson was entitled despite the disappearance of his employer in the 1980s. If the company that employed you no longer exists, it may still be possible to bring a successful claim. I am pleased that Mr Anderson is allowing us to share his story to highlight this fact."
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