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Home > News > Personal Injury News

20th June 2006

Government set to restore right to claim mesothelioma compensation

Mesothelioma compensation was cut earlier this year

On 3rd May we reported that the House of Lords had ruled that thousands of mesothelioma sufferers and their families would face enormous cuts in their compensation.

This was because they had decided that in cases where sufferers had been exposed to asbestos by more than one employer and at least one of the employers no longer existed or was not insured, then the full amount of compensation would not be awarded.

Victims of asbestos-related disease will be able to claim compensation again

When the Government realised how unfair this decision was to the victims of the deadly asbestos disease they acted quickly to propose an amendment to the Compensation Bill which would restore the right to full compensation for the innocent victims of mesothelioma.

The proposals to amend the Compensation Bill were put forward today by Lord Falconer, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor and John Hutton, Secretary of State for the Department of Works and Pensions.

Lord Falconer said "The Government is acting quickly to help claimants suffering from this terrible disease to receive the compensation to which they are entitled as soon as possible. I intend to bring forward an amendment to the Compensation Bill to provide that in these cases negligent employers should be jointly and severally liable, so that the claimant can recover full compensation from any relevant employer. It would then be open to that employer to seek a contribution to the damages awarded from other negligent employers."

John Hutton said "This will bring a better chance of compensation for thousands of people who contract mesothelioma because they were exposed to asbestos at work.

"I have seen first hand the devastating effect this disease can have on individuals and their families - it can lie dormant for years then kill quickly. The consequences of the Barker judgment would have made it much more difficult for sufferers and their families to get the compensation they deserve, so I am pleased to announce today that we are going to take action to make claims easier."

Ian McFall, national head asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors who deal with all of Clear Answers' claims said "The government has shown a real compassion and a commitment to sufferers. This is exactly what we have been urging it to do. We said we wanted clear, swift and decisive action to reverse the impact of Barker. This amendment will restore the right to full compensation and benefit thousands of mesothelioma sufferers and their families. It is vital that this amendment becomes effective without delay."

But because there are some mesothelioma sufferers and their widows whose compensation claims will be decided by the courts in the near future, McFall stressed that the amendment must also cover those claims.

"We have cases due for hearing within days which could result in claimants losing up to 90% of what they would receive after this amendment takes effect. The amendment must apply to all cases including those where the final outcome has not yet been decided by the court. If it fails to do that it will simply create another injustice for a uniquely disadvantaged group of victims who happen to have the misfortune of their case being concluded before the change announced today takes effect. We could end up representing clients on the same day who have developed the same illness caused by the same employers but one would recover full compensation and the other would not simply because they brought their claims at different times. The government must ensure that the amendment is worded carefully to avoid that happening".

Compensation Advice

Clear Answers' lawyers specialising in Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are able to offer further guidance on likely damages to anyone suffering from an asbestos-related illness, to the families of sufferers, or to anyone who suspects that they or a member of their family may be suffering from, or may have suffered from a work-related asbestos disease.

Telephone us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online claim enquiry forms.

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