Family of Sheffield labourer killed by asbestos win compensation battle

The family of a Sheffield labourer who died after being exposed to asbestos have been awarded compensation, reports the Sheffield Star.

Derek Naylor died aged 77 of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer often caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

He worked as a general labourer on building sites in Sheffield during the 1960s, often alongside joiners sawing asbestos boards and listeners mixing powdered coatings containing the deadly substance.

He would then sweep up the debris, generating clouds of toxic dust which he breathed in. He was only diagnosed with mesothelioma after his death in 2012, having suffered from increasing breathing difficulties and chest pains in his later years.

His family were initially told by lawyers they had no grounds for a claim. But John Das, a specially accredited asbestos solicitor from Dedicated Accident Solicitors (DAS), agreed to take on their case, securing what the firm described as a ‘substantial’ amount of compensation.

Derek’s nephew, David Wildgoose, said:

“We felt like we got what the family deserved, after all we’ve been through.

The compensation that we received helped the family greatly. It really helped Derek’s sisters at a time when that level of compensation would come in very handy for them.”

Asbestos is the largest killer of workmen in the UK, according to DAS, causing twice as many deaths each year as road accidents.

The use of asbestos is now banned in this country, but the symptoms of mesothelioma and other diseases caused by the toxin often take years to show, and it continues to claim lives.

Mr Das said he was keen to raise awareness among other families after helping Derek’s relatives.

“The family initially faced an uphill struggle, because they were turned away by a firm of national solicitors,” he said.

However, they tell me that the compensation they have received, since we took over the case, has enabled them to achieve some peace and comfort.”

Derek’s family were awarded compensation after making a claim against Derek’s former employers JW Sivil and P Hassall (now MCA Yorkshire).

DAS said the case was settled in 2015 by P Hassall’s employment liability insurers Zurich and it was not known whether the insurer had then pursued Sivils for a contribution.