Lancashire County Council has paid out £672,094 in compensation to people suffering from asbestos-related illnesses over the past five years, figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request reveal.
An additional £14,246 was also awarded to asbestos victims by Preston City Council. During the last half decade, 17 people have contacted Lancashire County Council regarding an asbestos claim. Three of the claims ended in a pay out, five did not result in any compensation at all, and six of the cases have not yet been closed – although one of the six claimants has received £50,000 in interim damages, reports lep.co.uk.
All but one of the people who claimed to have breathed in asbestos fibres used to work for the council in some capacity. Job titles of the claimants range from teacher to heating engineer. The majority of the cases are related to mesothelioma, but there was also one for asbestosis and an unspecified ‘industrial disease’, reports blackpoolgazette.co.uk.
Geraldine Coombs, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said it has repeatedly noted any public buildings in the UK that contain asbestos should be identified, so the offending material can be removed accordingly.
“Asbestos exposure is often regarded as something that only impacts those working within heavy industry, but the presence of the material in so many public buildings, such as school and hospitals, means that more and more people who are not working in traditional construction trades are being affected through no fault of their own,” she added.