Opinion Of Lord Carloway: Shipyard Worker Wins £25,000 Asbestos Battle

Thompsons secure £25,000 compensation for lung disease client

A Scots fitter has won £25,000 damages after a Court of Session Judge held that his lung disease was caused by exposure to asbestos while working in the shipyards.

Lord Carloway ruled that Bill Hynes' breathless is due to asbestosis, and not a rheumatoid condition as his former employers argued, and that he now runs a significant risk of developing fatal conditions like mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Bill, from Galashiels, who spent almost 20 years in the yards said: "This was always about the principle, and not the money, welcome though it is.

"When I started working in the yards in 1956 the air used to be thick with asbestos dust, but although the employers knew the risks, none of the lads had a clue.

"They used to make snowballs with the stuff and chuck it about the place."

Bill started his career with Simon Lobnitz who built dredgers at Renfrew, and went onto to work in six other yards including John Brown's and Scotts on the Clyde, and at Barrow-in-Furness.

His former employers will share the cost of the damages between them.

Bill who has 9 grandchildren, and 1 great grand child, left the yards in 1974 to work in a bookmakers. He added: "The worst part of it is that my breathlessness means I can't play with my grandchildren the way I did with my own kids.

"And although the experts say there is only a small chance of developing mesothelioma, the fear is always there lurking in the back of your mind."

His solicitor Tom Marshall of Thompsons Solicitors said: "This was a complicated case because Mr Hynes has a number of other medical conditions.

"But it is an important decision because Lord Carloway held that Mr Hynes was suffering from pleural plaques, and asbestosis, directly as a result of asbestos exposure while he worked in the shipyards.

"That may help other workers who are only now suffering from the deadly after-effects of unsuspectingly breathing in asbestos dust at their place of work many years ago."

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