GEC settle asbestos case involving Southport Telephone Exchange
27 Feb 2021
In 2019, Fozia Hussain at the Asbestos Law Partnership was instructed by Mr Hinchcliffe to investigate a claim into his diagnosis of pleural thickening, a disease which affects the lining of the lung.
Mr Hinchcliffe remembered working with asbestos when he was employed for a short period by the General Electrical Company (GEC) in the early 1970s. He recalled coming across asbestos when working at a telephone exchange in Southport. He had to handle bags that were full of asbestos fibres. These bags, which resembled bean bags, were sandwiched between the cables to protect and insulate them from any sparks.
However, Mr Hinchcliffe initially struggled to pinpoint the exact location of the telephone exchange within Southport. This was a problem because without evidence of his workplace, the claim would not be able to succeed.
This led to detailed investigations into the telephone exchanges of Southport. Fozia was assisted on this case by Luke Thomas, who carried out much of the research into these telephone exchanges:
“The difficult part in this case was establishing the location of the telephone exchange in question. Mr Hinchcliffe initially described it as a two-floored, purpose-built building near a railway line, but there was very little to go on otherwise. Fortunately, the internet is a fantastic source of information for subjects as mundane as telephone exchanges.”
After sending over pictures of the various telephone exchanges across Southport, Mr Hinchcliffe immediately recognised one of the buildings as the correct location. Now no longer in use as a telephone exchange, the building is located on the outskirts of Southport in Blowick.
For added peace of mind, Mr Hinchcliffe drove out to Blowick to see the building for himself. This brought back a flood of memories, including the journey over from the nearby Churchtown telephone exchange, watching the trains go by during his breaks, and the fields that surrounded the area.
Soon after this discovery the case settled for £20,000 and Mr Hinchcliffe has the right to seek more compensation from GEC if his condition worsens or if he develops any other asbestos related illness such as mesothelioma. The terms of the settlement provide him and his family with added security for the future.
Following the conclusion of his case, Mr Hinchcliffe said:
“The ALP worked very efficiently and their communication was second to none. We cannot praise them enough for the hard work they carried out in ensuring I was awarded compensation.”