Specialist Asbestos-Related Disease Lawyers Welcome Increase to 80% Compensation
Specialist lawyers representing many victims of the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma have welcomed the Government’s announcement that it plans to increase the amount of compensation offered under a new ‘last resort’ payment scheme.
The Mesothelioma Bill was passed by Parliament earlier this year to provide compensation to victims of the terminal cancer who could not trace the relevant employers’ liability insurer. However many victim support groups along with MPs and asbestos lawyers from Irwin Mitchell campaigned to raise the limit from 75% to 80% of the average mesothelioma settlement.
A last minute vote during the parliamentary debates failed to raise the cap but the Government has now made a u-turn on its decision and ministers have announced that they will seek to amend the new Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme to provide 80% compensation to victims. The Scheme will open to applications from 6 April 2014.
Research by Irwin Mitchell showed that if payouts were capped at 75 per cent of average compensation, mesothelioma victims may miss out on around £43,000 based on a typical settlement.
Adrian Budgen, Head of the National Asbestos-Related Disease team at Irwin Mitchell who has represented thousands of victims, said:
Expert OpinionThis is good news for mesothelioma victims and should have been included in the original scheme. But whilst we welcome the increase there is still a significant shortfall from what victims would be entitled to receive in a civil compensation settlement.
“The cap is particularly hard to understand when the Financial Services Compensation Scheme provides 90 per cent compensation, where the insurer is in liquidation.
“It takes decades from the initial exposure to asbestos for symptoms of a related illness to appear, but once they do the consequences are devastating for those families affected. Through no fault of their own they are forced to suffer a horrendous terminal illness and it is only fair that they receive the appropriate compensation.
“Mesothelioma cases by their very nature are complex, often going back 40-50 years and involving very detailed investigations. Mesothelioma victims have faced many legal challenges in recent years and we will continue to fight for their rights because what they really deserve is full and fair financial security for their families." Adrian Budgen - Partner
It is estimated that more than 300 mesothelioma sufferers a year miss out on compensation solely because their former employer’s insurers cannot be traced as a result of serial failures by the insurance industry to keep proper records. From January 1972 it was compulsory for employers to have Employers’ Liability insurance cover and the evidence is that the overwhelming majority of businesses had it before then.
If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.