The nature of these asbestos related diseases means that symptoms usually don’t show for years, often decades, after the exposure; so, finding out that something which happened a long time ago will result in certain pain, suffering and death, can be a huge shock to everyone.

Derek’s Story is part of a campaign to raise awareness about asbestos-related diseases across the UK and to let the victims and their families know that it might be possible for them to seek compensation and receive a measure of justice for their illness, stress and suffering.

A large proportion of people who develop asbestos-related conditions were exposed to the substance when working in the construction or heavy industry, as was the case with Derek.

Derek was a labourer in the building industry in Sheffield during the 1960s, and his regular duties included the handling and disposal of materials on site during demolition and construction, sometimes in confined and poorly ventilated spaces, which is where his exposure to asbestos occurred.

Derek started to suffer with breathing difficulties decades later, which worsened rapidly and sadly, he passed away. It wasn’t until the coroner’s report was released that his family realised he had been a victim of asbestos exposure and that mesothelioma had caused his death.

Derek’s family approached a well-known national group of solicitors to see if they might have a case for compensation on his behalf, but were told that there were no grounds for a claim. However, seeking justice for Derek’s suffering; they refused to give up and later contacted a local firm, Dedicated Accident Solicitors, to see if they could help where the other solicitors had not.

Dedicated Accident Solicitors visited Derek’s family in their home and were able to give them the good news that it looked like a strong case could be established. The claim was successful, with a significant sum of compensation awarded, and Derek’s family finally felt as if they were able to gain a measure of justice, peace and closure for what Derek and the family members had been through.

If you’re looking for more information about asbestos-related diseases or the next steps to take if you, or a member of your close family, have been diagnosed with one, please contact us.

Derek’s nephew, David, tell his uncle’s story in his own words below:

Transcript of Derek’s Story, as told by his nephew, David:

Derek was my uncle, on my mother’s side of the family. I was quite close to Derek; he wasn’t married and didn’t have any children of his own, so I used to visit quite a lot, particularly when I was younger, with my mum.

Derek, we believe, was exposed through work. Derek worked in the building industry for most of his working life and he was a labourer, so during the course of his job he would be cleaning, tidying the site, disposing of materials and so on; that’s where we believe he picked up asbestos, during his working life. He was on site generally cleaning up after trades like joiners, plasterers, artexers, potentially in confined spaces, in small room; sometimes not always well ventilated.

When Derek passed away, we didn’t realise at the time. We then realised after the coroner’s report that he’s died as a result of Mesothelioma. Prior to that, he’d suffered with his breathing, which significantly deteriorated over the latter part of his life. He used to be out of breath quite a lot, which was hard as he was very active; he was always out walking with his dog; he loved to go out. It got increasingly harder for him as time went on.

Initially, we did approach quite a well-known group of solicitors, because we were made aware that potentially we could make a claim on the family’s behalf. We were actually told that we didn’t have any grounds for a claim, that we’d left it too late. We then later saw an advertisement in a local newspaper for Dedicated Accident Solicitors and we thought we’d give it a try.

John (Das) came to see us and had a good chat with us. We explained everything that had happened. Contrary to what we’d been told previously, John thought we did have a case and he thought it was quite a strong case. So John explained what the situation was, what was involved and what would be required. We were very pleased.

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.

Based on my experience of dealing with John, I’d have no hesitation in recommending him, because he’s so approachable, he breaks everything down so you can understand exactly what’s going on at each stage of the process. He was just a lovely guy to deal with.

John Das video transcript

I’m John Das, the Director of Dedicated Accident Solicitors, and one of only thirty two solicitors in the UK with national accreditation as an asbestos disease specialist, granted by the Association of Personal Injury lawyers.

Asbestos is the number one killer of workmen in the UK. You may be interested to know that asbestos-related deaths account for more than double the amount of people who are killed in road traffic accidents in the UK every year.

Derek worked as a general labourer for Sheffield building companies in the early 1960s and he was exposed to asbestos when he worked in the close vicinity of joiners who were sawing asbestos boards. Regrettably, Derek is no longer with us, and the family initially faced an uphill struggle, because they were turned away by a firm of national solicitors. However, they tell me that the compensation they have received has enabled them to achieve some peace and comfort.