New legislation will improve asbestos compensation system in Scotland

Asbestos cancer sufferers

01.11.2006

The Scottish Executive has published new legislation to allow asbestos cancer sufferers with mesothelioma to claim full compensation, and to extend the right for compensation for grief and suffering to victims' families.

Under the current law sufferers of asbestos related cancer face the distressing dilemma of either settling their damages claim while alive, or not settling their claim before death so their relatives can claim greater awards. Most sufferers do not claim themselves so as not to disadvantage their families.

The new legislation, will remedy this situation by allowing the immediate family to claim damages for non-financial loss even if the deceased settled their own claim while alive.

Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said: Mesothelioma is a cancer for which there is no cure. It develops 20 to 40 years after asbestos exposure and kills fast. This is a terrible disease and the number of known cases is rising. There are now over 1,900 cases a year in Great Britain.

"We are determined to do all we can to minimise the distress this problem causes to sufferers and their families. We have recognised that current compensation arrangements are causing worry for them at an extremely difficult time.

"This legislation will free sufferers from the distressing choice between receiving compensation and allowing their relatives to benefit from greater awards. When illness takes hold, families should be supported - not worried by legal choices.

The Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill will amend section 1(2) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976 so that relatives' claims for damages for non-patrimonial loss are not extinguished by a person with mesothelioma settling their own claim while still alive.

Our personal injury solicitors in Scotland specialise in a number of serious injury and illness claims, if you or a loved one have been affected call us on 0808 250 7641 for a free initial consultation.