Mr Barlow worked for the council between 1968 and 2011, starting as an apprentice and then as a joiner until the age of 21. It was during those early years that he was exposed to the asbestos dust that caused the fatal cancer.
Mr Barlow was sent to work in residential properties, schools and public buildings undertaking jobs such as repairing bath panels and installing fire protection in cupboards using asbestos sheeting. He also worked on the building of public baths, a hall, library and theatre in the forum at Wythenshawe, fitting asbestolux panels to the swimming pool. He was given no warning at the time that asbestos dust was highly dangerous.
He was only 63 when he noticed breathlessness, and had suffered many years of profound fatigue that was misdiagnosed until his condition was considered in full by medical experts in his claim. Mr Barlow consulted the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victim Support Group, who recommended that he take a civil claim and he approached Fieldfisher.
Mr Barlow was diagnosed during the Covid pandemic and restrictions meant meeting in person was not possible. But Bridget arranged a video conference meeting, during which she was able to establish how far the illness would impact on his daily life, and particularly that he would not be able to complete a project to extend his home. The additional expense incurred to the family in hiring professionals to complete the job was part of his claim.
Bridget visited their home while complying with Covid restrictions, to see for herself the extent of the works undertaken, what had already been done and how the Mr Barlow's plans had changed because of his condition.
When the claim settled, the Defendant included compensation not only for the professional workman, but also the additional help put in by family members.
Manchester City Council accepted negligence for the mesothelioma and initially an interim payment was made. Fortunately, as a result of the professional builders being hired, the works were completed and Mr Barlow was able to return to his family home for his final days.
Around £30,000 was claimed for the house extension, in addition to future maintenance on the house Mr Barlow had also provided childcare for his grandchild, and a similar sum was awarded for this.
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