Ministry of Defence agrees asbestos death claim for former dockworker’s family
A settlement has been secured for the family of a former dockworker who died after contracting the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.
Posted on 25 August 2021
Terence Luckhurst, who died in December 2020 aged 71, was exposed to asbestos between 1973 and 1974 while he was working as a Ministry of Defence (MoD) slinger’s mate at HM Dockyard in Chatham, Kent.
Terence’s work involved sorting metal and in particular, asbestos lagged pipes that had been removed from ships. The asbestos lagging was old and in a state of disrepair and Terence said there were clumps of lagging on the floor as he swept. The work released asbestos fibres and dust into Terence’s working environment, his hands and his clothing.
He was never warned about the dangers of asbestos and was not provided with any protection.
Terence was fit and healthy, but In 2019, he developed chest pain and breathlessness and following investigations was diagnosed with the fatal cancer, mesothelioma.
Following his diagnosis his family instructed Daniel Easton and Heetasha Khosla to investigate a claim for compensation in respect of his exposure to asbestos while employed by the MoD.
The MoD defended the claim and argued that Terence’s levels of asbestos exposure were so low that they would not be deemed dangerous by standards of the day. However, two days before the Court hearing, they admitted liability for his claim.
A six-figure settlement was negotiated which reflected the pain and suffering caused by Terence’s illness and included provision for Terence’s future private medical costs.
Although Terence pursued treatment through a clinical trial and was investigating the possibility of immunotherapy, he died in late 2020 shortly after settlement of his claim.
Leigh Day solicitor Heetasha Khosla said:
“Terence was very brave in the face of his cancer and was determined to provide for his family after his death. We are glad to have been able to help and to have been able to secure a six-figure settlement on Terence’s behalf.”
Joint head of the firm's asbestos and industrial diseases team and acknowledged as a leader in this field