Sintons secure payout for Vickers office worker who contracted mesothelioma at work


A woman who contracted mesothelioma while working at one of the region’s biggest industrial plants, despite having an office role rather than working on the factory floor, has secured a six-figure payout from her former employer.

Mrs Smith, from Newcastle, worked as a wages clerk at Vickers Armstrong for four years from 1961, starting employment at the industrial giant as a 17-year-old.

Vickers Armstrong is one of the best-known names in North East industry, producing tanks and munitions for use around the world. It its heyday its Scotswood Road site employed around 25,000 people.

While Mrs Smith’s role at Vickers Armstrong was office based, she would visit different parts of the vast site in the course of her employment.

Last year, Mrs Smith, now 72, was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a terminal cancer which originates from historic exposure to asbestos. After vigorously defending the claim, Vickers Armstrong have now paid a six-figure sum to Mrs Smith, after the asbestos exposure was proved to come from her time at the plant.

Mrs Smith said: “Back then, no-one knew anything about asbestos or that you might be contracting an illness through just doing your job. It just wasn’t even a consideration.

“When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma it was a big shock as I had always worked in an office and not actually on the factory floor, which is where you probably think asbestos is found, although walking around the site as I did, I would have been in all parts of the factory.”

Law firm Sintons represented Mrs Smith throughout her claim, and since being instructed in June 2015, have conducted thorough and extensive investigations to secure her settlement.

Specialist asbestos solicitor Raelene Lingam – recently praised by Legal 500 for her deep knowledge and careful handling of claims – was able to secure Mrs Smith a lump sum payment within weeks of being instructed, alongside a weekly benefit.

Mrs Smith has also been able to adapt her home to better accommodate her needs, including having a shower fitted, and Sintons also introduced her to the Walkergate Mesothelioma Self-Help Group, a dedicated support group set up by the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

“Sintons have been brilliant and Raelene is very different to what you expect a solicitor to be like – as well as being able to get me a settlement, she has got the most lovely manner and I really enjoyed our chats. Nothing was ever too much trouble and I have been involved at every step of the way. I would recommend her to anyone.”

Raelene, who worked as a senior intensive care nurse prior to becoming a solicitor, also used the fast track mesothelioma procedure through the High Court to secure Mrs Smith’s settlement in the quickest possible time.

She said: “This was a claim which was vigorously defended by Mrs Smith’s former employer, although we ensured that she was shielded from this, while still keeping her up to date at every stage of her claim. We conducted highly detailed and thorough investigations on her behalf to ensure she received the settlement she deserves, to ensure she is able to make the necessary changes to her home and her life while she undergoes ongoing treatment for her mesothelioma.

“Sintons has a deserved reputation for its legal expertise while at the same time offering a deeply personal service. We are highly experienced in asbestos related claims and our expertise really comes to the fore in hard-fought cases such as this. I am very pleased we have been able to secure this settlement for Mrs Smith.”

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