Asbestos related injury reforms

The Mesothelioma Bill – announced in the recent Queen’s Speech – aims to create a payment scheme for people with the disease where no liable employer or insurer can be traced.

If enacted, a fixed-costs claims process will aim to pay out in three to five months in contrast to the under three months where an employer or insurer is known. Under the scheme, from July 2014 anyone in the UK diagnosed with mesothelioma after 25 July 2012 will be able to make a claim. The scheme will be funded by a levy on insurers of employers.

The Association of British Insurers director general, Otto Thoresen, has welcomed the Bill and said: “Mesothelioma is a devastating disease which has a terrible impact on sufferers and their families. The insurance industry wants to do all it can to help sufferers and has worked with the government on this package of measures that will deliver help to claimants much faster, including to those who would otherwise go uncompensated.”

However, the details of the scheme have been criticised by certain claimant personal injury lawyers because it will apply only to mesothelioma and will not cater for other asbestos related illness such as lung cancer. It has also been estimated that settlements under the scheme would be 30% lower than the average compensation received currently, potentially leaving mesothelioma sufferers them thousands of pounds out of pocket.

For further information please contact our Personal Injury team.