Government In Asbestos Compensation U-TurnMarch 9, 2015
Personal injury lawyers have welcomed news that mesothelioma sufferers will now be awarded 100 per cent compensation after a government U-turn. A scheme was launched in April 2014 to compensate the estimated 3,000 lung cancer victims who were unable to trace their employers or the liable insurer responsible for their exposure to asbestos dust. However, compensation amounted to only 80 per cent of an average civil claim.
The nature of the disease is such that it is typically 40 years after exposure to the dust that symptoms begin to show and it may be difficult to claim compensation from companies and organisations that are no longer in operation.
The Department of Work and Pensions said the U-turn was a result of fewer people than expected taking up the payment scheme, explaining the amount was calculated from the sum industrial insurers were able to contribute. However, the lower levels had been heavily criticised by campaign groups and it is unclear whether this pressure was a contributory factor.
Welfare minister Lord Freud said: “With this scheme we are continuing to help the many victims and families that mesothelioma has left without financial support.” The increase however, will only apply to those who take up the scheme from the date of the announcement, February 10, and not to those who have already received the lower amount of compensation.
Macks Solicitors asbestos claims specialist Rebecca Montague said: “This is good news for future claimants. However, it should be retrospective to ensure all eligible sufferers receive the full payment. I would also like to see the scheme extended to those diagnosed with asbestosis.”
Middlesbrough MP Andy Macdonald, who has campaigned against the previous arrangements, welcomed the news but added: “It must leave a bitter taste for those sufferers who have not had their cases resolved on a full settlement basis.
“I call on the Government to do the decent thing and make sure that, where cases have resolved at less than 100 per cent, that they are now revisited and settled in full.”
The announcement has particular relevance in the North-East, where the history of heavy industry has led to a higher than average number of mesothelioma sufferers. Around 105 men per million in the region suffer from mesothelioma, compared to a national average of 65 per million.
Macks have asbestos solicitors in Middlesbrough who can help you trace your employers and their insurers if you have been diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma. Our industrial disease solicitors are experienced in dealing with both minor and serious aspects of industrial disease, including but not limited to lung cancer and mesothelioma. You can call in to our offices in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Darlington, or telephone 01642 252 828 to discuss your circumstances.