Action required on mesothelioma
A north west lawyer has repeated calls for the Government to take serious action to support mesothelioma victims – as victims, their families and support groups today (Tuesday) take to the streets to fight for justice.
The call from Geraldine Coombs, a Partner at leading Manchester law firm Irwin Mitchell, comes as mesothelioma support groups from across the country gather to demonstrate at the Association of British Insurers annual conference – petitioning for an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB).
Irwin Mitchell is leading a number of campaigns – and has already gathered thousands of signatures in a petition - calling for the Government to take urgent action to safeguard the position of workers who develop mesothelioma and who are unable to trace their former employer’s insurers.
At present, innocent victims of mesothelioma who cannot trace the insurer of an employer which has gone out of business are unable to claim damages - meaning they cannot get the compensation they deserve. The proposed ELIB scheme would operate in the same way as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau which pays out on compensation claims for road users hit by uninsured and untraced drivers, acting as insurer of "last resort".
Geraldine Coombs said: “We fully support the campaign. The fact that victims and their supporters need to hold demonstrations is a clear indication that there are serious faults within the system – something which the Government has been slow to
recognise and act upon.
"There are simple steps that justice demands the Government could and should take and we have been calling for them to be implemented for some time yet our pleas and those of the people suffering continue to fall on deaf ears."
As well as calling for the creation of an ELIB, Irwin Mitchell has also called for other measures to be implemented, including a national database recording current and historic details of employers’ insurers and the creation of a National Centre for Asbestos-Related Diseases - to coordinate medical research into the treatment and cure of mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.
Coombs continued: "At Irwin Mitchell we see first hand the effect that this terrible disease, mesothelioma, has on victims and their families. At present terminally ill patients and their families are being deprived of the compensation they deserve and it is costing the tax payer millions of pounds."