Payments For Government Asbestos Scheme To Rise

Lawyers Welcome Improvement To Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme But Remind People It Should Be A Last Resort


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The Government has announced that payments for their ‘last resort’ scheme for sufferers of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma who can’t trace an insurer will increase.

The Department of Work and Pensions has advised that compensation paid through the scheme will rise to match 100% of the average damages victims would be able to claim in a civil case, up from the current 80%.

However specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing many victims of mesothelioma expressed disappointment that the 100% figure will only be applicable from people diagnosed after 10th February 2015.

In the first 10 months of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme £19 million was paid to hundreds of mesothelioma sufferers across the country who were unable to pursue a claim as their employer's liability insurer was untraceable.

Expert Opinion
We welcome the increase in the tariff as it means that victims of asbestos who cannot find the relevant insurer to bring a civil claim, will have access to a fund of last resort that now provides 100% of the average damages.

“However, by definition ‘average’ is less than many would receive and so for many it will still mean that they receive far less than they would receive if they received 100% of the damages that they would be entitled to if they could successfully purse a compensation claim

“Moreover, the fact remains that everyone diagnosed before today’s changes, who is eligible for the scheme, will still only receive 80% of the average damages that they are entitled to.

“These victims of asbestos exposure are suffering from a horrible and aggressive terminal cancer through no fault of their own and should not be punished once again simply because an insurance policy cannot be traced. We repeatedly called for the Government to pay out 100% of the individuals entitlement and feel very strongly that at very least the increase in the average payment should be backdated to the beginning of the scheme.

“It should also be remembered that this scheme is intended to be a last resort and we would advise people to seek specialist advice before applying as some applicants will be entitled to more than the average payments that the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme will provide.

“More worryingly, direct applications could result in victims losing out altogether because the scheme will only pay compensation if the victim can show that legally they would have had a good case if the employer or its insurer could have been traced.

"This means that they still have to demonstrate that the exposure occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the employer. There is a real concern that in making a direct application and, without the assistance of a specialist lawyer, the mesothelioma victim or his/her dependant could fail to overcome this hurdle, or otherwise inadvertently provide information which means that the claim fails.”
Adrian Budgen, Partner