William Searle was born in 1945 and left school in the early 1960s. He was exposed to asbestos whilst working for great Western Railways shortly after. Sadly, in August 2010 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma around 50 years after his exposure. Mr Searle contacted Andrew Morgan, partner and mesothelioma claims expert at Fieldfisher, to pursue a claim on his behalf. Andrew was able to secure £400,000 a few days before the case was set for trial.
In his early years Mr Searle had a variety of jobs which involved manual labour including a spell working as an engine cleaner for Great Western Railways (GWR) at their depot in Truro, Cornwall. Laggers employed by GWR would undertake running repairs on the asbestos lagging that insulated the steam engine boilers. Any areas of lagging that had been compromised would be hacked off and replaced by the laggers. This created substantial asbestos debris beneath the engines. It was Mr Searle's job to clean up the asbestos debris that the laggers generated. He also worked close by the laggers when they were preparing and applying lagging and in this way he was exposed to substantial quantities of asbestos dust.
Redundancies were announced with the introduction of the Beeching cuts and so Mr Searle left GWR and eventually entered into engineering. He started his own business, Cutlass Mechanical Engineering, in 2006. He obtained substantial contracts working on railway and other infrastructure projects in Devon and Cornwall. It was his plan to move into high quality engineering work for specialist markets. He had intended to work full time to age 70 and to derive some income from the business after retirement. In the meantime he intended to invest heavily in new machinery to improve profitability and to access new markets.
Sadly Mr Searle was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma in August 2010. He instructed Andrew Morgan to make a claim later that year.
Andrew confirmed that BRB (Residuary) Limited was the successor to Great Western Railways (GWR) and to British Rail (BR) and he made a claim. He obtained an early admission of liability and an interim payment for Mr Searle of £50,000.
Mr Searle's greatest financial loss was the loss of income from his business in the future, and from the loss of capital from its sale when he intended, eventually, to retire. Andrew Morgan therefore instructed a forensic accountant to prepare a report and obtained statements from a number of Mr Searle's commercial clients as to the quality of his work and as to their likely need for the services of Cutlass Mechanical Engineering in the future.
Mr Searle identified a need for a significant capital investment to purchase a new water jet to help build the business so Andrew applied successfully for a further interim payment of damages of £75,000, making total interim payments of £125,000.
Mr Searle was keen to attend Court in person to give his evidence and the case was listed for trial in London for 16 July 2012.
Andrew instructed Matthias Kelly QC to represent Mr Searle at trial. Just a few days before the trial Andrew was able to negotiate a settlment totalling £400,000 which Mr Searle was happy to accept.
Obtaining the interim payments and then settling the case in July allowed Mr Searle to move his business to more up to date and convenient premises so that he could install the new water jet, the future engine of his business, in August 2012.
After the claim, Mr Searle had this to say: "Field Fisher Waterhouse were excellent to work with. Andrew handled my mesothelioma claim in an efficient and professional manner. I really couldn't have asked for any more, the service was excellent. I have already recommended Andrew to others".
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