Share this story
7 March 2014 / legal-blog
A blog article by Jonathan White
People suffering from mesothelioma, the cancerous disease caused by exposure to asbestos, finally received some good news this week. They will be given more compensation for their suffering, thanks to an eleventh-hour announcement by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Under the new compensation scheme due to start in April, 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 the DWP’s last-minute change of heart, sufferers will be eligible for 80% of the average settlement, rather than compensation being capped at 75%."
Mesothelioma is an intensely painful fatal condition caused by exposure to asbestos. For decades, asbestos was used as a building material across the UK. Its use is now severely restricted and regulated, but people are still being exposed. Each year, approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with the cancerous disease. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 20 tradesmen die from asbestos damage to their lungs each week.
Now that its negative health impact is known and campaigns by HSE and other bodies have increased awareness, thousands of victims are seeking compensation for being exposed to this dangerous building material, many of them while at work.
For many victims, seeking justice – and compensation to help pay for medical bills – is difficult. Mesothelioma is a ‘hidden killer’. Symptoms sometimes only develop decades after exposure to asbestos, and some employers that were at fault have long ceased to operate.
This is why the DWP’s rule change will mean greater access to justice. It will mean that sufferers won’t be unfairly punished for having worked for an employer that not only was responsible for their cancer but also failed to take responsibility for the illness and suffering they caused.
Yet the announcement has not been welcomed by everyone. The insurance industry condemned the DWP’s move. In Post magazine, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) criticised the announcement, instead calling for action to “tackle the high legal fees involved in mesothelioma claims”.
Luckily, those with greater concern for victims of the cancerous disease prevailed in making the right decision for mesothelioma sufferers.
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