Share this story
The widow of an asbestos-related cancer victim has been failed by a government scheme designed to make compensation more readily available, Manchester Evening News reported earlier this week.
Irene Pointon from Chorlton is struggling to receive compensation following the death of her husband Sidney because his diagnosis came just 15 days before the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme was launched.
Under the scheme, victims who are seeking justice from an employer who cannot be tracked down will be able to seek compensation from a pool funded by the insurance industry.
For decades, asbestos was used as a building material across the UK, with tradesmen in particular being exposed to the dangerous mineral. Although use of the substance is now severely restricted and regulated, 2,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year and as many as 20 tradesmen die from asbestos damage to their lungs each week.
Although the scheme has helped many victims seek justice, its inflexibility on timing is now leaving victims such as Irene Pointon without compensation.
It also continues to unfairly make a distinction between victims whose employers’ insurance companies do the right thing and take responsibility for having caused the deadly disease and those left with no one to fight their corner. For victims whose employers can no longer be tracked down, compensation is capped at 80% of the average settlement. It’s obviously better than nothing but still leaves a lot to be desired.
As mesothelioma continues to affect thousands of families across the UK, it’s essential that the government reconsiders the scheme to address this manifest injustice. There has been a total disregard for employees’ health by the employer, and the horrendous results of their negligence and now the failure of the insurance industry to allow the worst-off to be properly compensated adds insult to injury.
Rather than an insurer-driven agenda seeking to restrict genuine claimants’ access to justice, the government scheme should be directed at ensuring that people like Mrs Pointon receive the compensation they deserve and need.
Mrs Pointon’s solicitors Pannone have called for common sense to help those in similar situations: “This situation is unjust and inflexible.” We believe this is a fair evaluation and a call to action that National Accident Helpline fully supports.
More from this category
Jonathan White, National Accident Helpline's Legal Director, explains why the Ethical Marketing Charter was established and outlines its goals.Read more
Over the last decade there has been a significant spike in the numbers of women taking legal action.Read more
Jonathan gives his top tips on the application process, common mistakes and how to avoid winding up your colleagues!Read more
The state of the UK’s roads is a major bugbear for the majority of drivers, especially when it comes to the ever-growing issue of potholes.Read more
What have Barack Obama, Derren Brown, Gandhi, Jerry Springer, John Cleese, Gerard Butler, Nelson Mandela, Henri Matisse, Margaret Thatcher, Franz Kafka, Sandy Toksvig, and Gaby Logan got in common?Read more