In the 1960s Mr George Barwick was employed by British Insulating Callender’s Cables (BICC) as a cable jointer’s mate. He worked at Battersea, Hackney and Fulham power stations, carrying out work on the cables and other equipment which was lagged with asbestos.
Mr Barwick could not avoid disturbing the asbestos lagging. While he was there he worked near others who were repairing the lagging, pipe work, plant and other equipment in the power stations, and who also disturbed asbestos.
From about 1972 Mr Barwick worked for Hackney Council. Initially he was an electrician, but from 1974, he also did general maintenance work. He worked on council housing building sites where asbestos panels were cut to size. Later, he handled these same asbestos panels when carrying out maintenance work to the properties.
From the late 1970s Mr Barwick worked in the boiler houses of tower blocks maintaining electrical equipment. This involved climbing over the boilers, plant, equipment and pipe work which were lagged with asbestos, inevitably disturbing the asbestos.
Mr Barwick would drill through the asbestos lagging creating much dust. He also worked in tank rooms at the top of the blocks where there was asbestos lagging. He would have to remove this lagging when dealing with pumps or valves, so could not avoid disturbing it.
In 2009, Mr Barwick was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. He instructed Andrew Morgan to make a claim on his behalf.
Andrew made a claim against both employers. To begin with they denied liability. Andrew began court proceedings and the court entered judgment against both employers and set a trial date to decide the value of the claim.
Mr Barwick was living in a town house at the time and had to go up and down stairs to from the sitting room to use the toilet or the kitchen. With his illness, this proved increasingly difficult. He needed to move to a bungalow in the same area to be able to get around his house. Andrew included a claim for the cost of moving house.
Shortly before trial Mr Barwick accepted a settlement of £260,000. This compensation allowed Mr Barwick to move from his town house to a bungalow as he had wished.
Andrew Morgan says:
"The purpose of a claim is to put the claimant in the same position as if the injury had not occurred, so far as money can do this. If unusual expenses are incurred, such as the cost of moving house, then those expenses can be recovered if they are reasonable, however unusual they might appear. It is important to understand the client’s circumstances and needs in full to ensure all proper items, however unusual, are covered in the claim."
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