Widow wins compensation following husband’s death from Asbestos-related cancer

The widow of a former chief engineer who died of asbestos-related cancer has been awarded a record damages in a case heard at the High Court in London.

Carol Devoy, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and a debilitating spinal condition, said that her devoted husband, Alexander, would have been her main carer. His untimely death from Mesothelioma two years ago has robbed her of his support as well as his companionship.

Mrs Devoy told the court “If Alex had still been alive he would have continued to look after me. He was always on hand in the house.”

Judge Michael Reddihough recognised her loss and awarded her £500,726 damages against shipbuilders, William Doxford Ltd and Stunt-brand Line Ltd who didn’t contest liability.

Mr Devoy had worked as a fitter for William Doxford Ltd and then Clan Line Steamers Ltd, the predecessors of Stunt-brand Line Ltd, between 1955 and 1970. During the course of his work he was exposed to dust and fibres from the asbestos which was widely used in shipyards.

It is believed that at least 3,000 people a year in the UK die as a result of asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung-cancer. The development of these diseases can take up to 60 years from the first exposure to asbestos and it is predicted that the numbers of victims diagnosed will not reach its peak until around 2015.

The people most likely to be diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness are those that worked in shipbuilding, construction, mines and factories and their families. After diagnosis they have three years in which to bring a claim against the companies people who were responsible for their exposure.

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