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Finally, justice for mesothelioma victims

Jonathan White, National Accident Helpline head of legal, blogs about the new government scheme that helps give mesothelioma sufferers better access to justice and how this will make a difference

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1 April 2014 / legal-blog

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Today is an important day for people suffering from mesothelioma.

The cancerous disease caused by exposure to asbestos has marred and taken many lives, but today a new scheme enters into force that will make justice more readily available for all victims.

Under the new compensation 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.

Thanks to a recent amendment to the scheme by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), sufferers will be eligible for 80% of the average settlement, rather than compensation being capped at 75%.

The scheme marks a significant improvement in the way victims of serious diseases and conditions – often caused by failures of health and safety – are treated.

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, as many as 20 tradesmen die from asbestos damage to their lungs each week. In total, 2,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

It is against this backdrop, it is encouraging to see the Government support victims and help them seek justice.

The negative health impact of asbestos is now widely known, and increased awareness has encouraged thousands of victims to seek compensation for being exposed to the dangerous building material, many of them while at work.

As I wrote in my recent blog, the new scheme will mean that sufferers won’t lose out just because they worked for an employer who was responsible for their cancer and failed to take responsibility for the illness and suffering it caused.

(Bizarrely, support for mesothelioma victims has not been unanimous, with the insurance industry opposing the DWP’s recent move to extend the scheme.)

At National Accident Helpline we will continue to fight on behalf of victims to ensure they will not have to suffer further in the courts after already succumbing to a deadly disease.

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