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Pneumoconiosis and silicosis case studies

Leigh Day is a specialist law firm with some of the country’s leading Industrial disease and asbestos lawyers. We have a track record of succeeding with cases on behalf of those diagnosed with industrial related illnesses through no fault of their own. Here are a few recent compensation cases we have worked on for silicosis patients.

Find out more about pneumoconiosis and silicosis compensation claims here.

Alan’s case: sandblaster with acute silicosis 

As a sandblaster since the early 1990s, Alan's job was to use high pressure blasting equipment inside a blasting shed to sandblast a variety of objects and remove paint, rust and dirt.  

Alan, who lived in Hounslow, spent many years working at film studios where he sandblasted items which were used on film sets. Films he worked on included Sleepy Hollow, Tomb Raider and Harry Potter.  

ln 2016, Alan developed a cough, then shortness of breath and within two years his condition had deteriorated so much that he had to stop working. Biopsies revealed that he had an unusual and complex form of rapidly progressing silicosis and mixed dust pneumoconiosis.  

Alan instructed Leigh Day in March 2019. Even though it appeared that he was past the three-year time limit for bringing a personal injury claim, Leigh Day's investigations confirmed that there were errors in his medical records and that he was still within the time limits to pursue a claim.  

Alan recalled that when he started working for De-Corrosion Services Limited in 2010, he was provided with a different type of sand than he had used before, which was finer and created more dust when he was working.  

He stated that in 2016 he was instructed to re-use the sand, which also increased the amounts of dust he was exposed to. This was strongly denied by the defendant during the legal claim.  

The defendant admitted liability for Alan's claim and a six-figure settlement was agreed in August 2020. The settlement included a significant sum to allow him to pay for private carers.  

Alan died aged 63. The compensation was therefore paid to his family.  

John’s case: mine and construction workers with chronic silicosis

Leigh Day represented John who developed respiratory and rheumatology symptoms due to dust exposure in the construction trade from the 1960s to 2018.    

The claim was pursued against three Defendants, who disputed liability throughout. In addition to the silicosis, John was unusually diagnosed with Caplan’s syndrome, resulting in rheumatoid arthritis including swollen joints in his hands which prevented him from working. We used expert evidence from respiratory and rheumatology experts.

The claim was settled just three weeks before trial on a provisional basis, which secured John’s ability to return to court to request further damages if he suffers progression of his silicosis or develops more serious conditions in the future.   

The name of the client has been changed to protect his privacy.   

If you have been diagnosed with pneumoconiosis or silicosis, you may be eligible for compensation. Speak to our team today.

Terence’s Case: former miner working with pneumoconiosis 

We acted for Terence Frith, a former mine worker, who suffered pneumoconiosis as a result of significant exposure to respirable silica dust.  

Mr Frith was negligently exposed to high quantities of dust working in mining and tunnelling, and safety provisions were practically non-existent, a situation which was typical of the mining industry despite the widespread knowledge of the dangers of silicosis at the time. 

When describing how he drilled blast holes into the rock floor using a handheld drilling machine, Mr Frith said, “I could not see the next person standing close by or my hands in front of my face because of the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Somebody might be arms’ length away from me, but I couldn’t see him because of the amount of dust. The only thing I could make out was the beam of light from his helmet.”  

Our industrial disease claim team went to court and won his case recovering a substantial sum for Mr Frith’s pain and suffering and consequential losses.   

As well as cases where silica dust exposure has happened in Britain, Leigh Day has also brought silicosis claims for foreign nationals injured by multinational corporations.  

Steven’s Case: machinist with hard metal lung disease

Leigh Day represented a machinist, Steven, who was diagnosed with hard metal lung disease in 2020.   

Hard metal lung disease is a rare disease caused by exposure to particles of hard metal alloys.   

Steven had worked for his employer as a machinist for over 25 years. His employer is a small business which specialises in producing turbo chargers for high performance rally cars.  

While machining components for the turbo chargers, Steven used tools made from hard metal alloys, including tungsten carbide and cobalt. He recalled that his work exposed him to dust particles and that for the majority of his employment, he had not been provided with a mask.   

Steven instructed Leigh Day, who issued a claim in the High Court against his current employer. The Defendant denied negligence.   

The court granted permission for our client to rely on reports from four different experts: Respiratory Medicine, Pathology, Occupational Health and Nursing Care. The medical evidence confirmed that Steven’s medical condition was likely to impact on his ability to work in the future, and the claim included damages for loss of future income.   

Steven’s case was settled in November 2023 with a six-figure payment of compensation paid to him.  

The name of the client has been changed to protect his privacy.