Damages awarded over mother's second-hand asbestos death

By Gary Adair

A landmark case in Scotland has been decided in favour of the family of a mother who died from second-hand exposure to asbestos.

William Sweeney had been employed at Babcock & Wilcox boiler-making factory in Renfrew in the 1960s and was exposed to asbestos. His wife Adrienne Sweeney contracted mesothelioma after coming into contact with the asbestos dust on his overalls. Mr Sweeney died in 2008 and Mrs Sweeney died in 2015. Babcock International Limited defended an action brought by the couple's family, but their solicitors were able to call on a former colleague of Mr Sweeney to provide evidence of the working conditions.

Compensation was awarded in the sum of £247,000. Mrs Sweeney's daughter highlighted the plight of many other women like her mother, who "were unaware how unsafe it was to be handling the asbestos dust that came from these work clothes or of the contamination risk to their own and their families' lungs".

It is thought to be the first time in Scotland that a case involving second-hand exposure to asbestos has been successful.

If you require advice about making a claim for compensation from a solicitor specialising in asbestosis in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by clicking here.