Lawyers Say Mesothelioma Bill Is ‘Missed Opportunity’

‘Second-Rate Solution’ Means Asbestos Victims Will Miss Out On Over £40,000

09.01.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist lawyers who have represented thousands of asbestos-related disease victims say that victims of mesothelioma are being given a second rate solution by government as a new bill gets set to be passed by Parliament.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has campaigned for over 20 years for the rights of sufferers of the terminal cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos decades ago. Now lawyers at the firm say the new mesothelioma untraced insurance scheme, which is being established to help provide some compensation to those victims who cannot identify a relevant employers’ liability policy, is a missed opportunity.

The new scheme will provide 75 per cent of the average compensation that could have been available to them in a civil court asbestos claim but expert lawyers from Irwin Mitchell say that their research shows that this means victims will miss out on around £43,000 on average and that eligible claimants deserve more.

On Tuesday, the Mesothelioma Bill was debated in the House of Commons with several amendments proposed, including raising the payment percentage to 80 per cent as well as pushing back the original start date of  25 July 2012. Any victims diagnosed before this date will miss out, as will victims of other asbestos-related diseases as MPs voted to reject any amendments to the Bill.

Adrian Budgen, head of the national asbestos litigation team at Irwin Mitchell said:

Expert Opinion
While it is good news that some victims will now be able to receive a settlement when they may have been unable to bring a claim against a relevant employers’ liability insurer, we feel that this is a missed opportunity by the Government to give them the fair compensation they deserve.

“Ultimately, we believe that the scheme commencement date should have been much earlier – February 2010 was the proposed amendment – and that the amount offered to victims should have been 100 per cent of the average civil compensation. There was a very strong argument put forward in the Commons for the payment percentage to rise to 80 per cent, which had cross party support, but MPs voted against it with a small majority.

“Mesothelioma sufferers are basically being unfairly punished twice, once because they were not protected by their employers who knew the risks of asbestos exposure and failed to act, and also because they are now being given a second rate solution rather than a fair settlement.”
Adrian Budgen, Partner

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our expert mesothelioma solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.