Swindon & Southwest Asbestosgroup

Swindon & Southwest Asbestosgroup

Archive for the ‘Legal Ruling’ tag

Proposed Mesothelioma Bill

without comments

At the beginning of December 2013 the Government have made an announcement that they are not going to go ahead with a new mesothelioma pre-action protocol or fixed fees as was recommended by the Association of British Insurers. The insurance industry is also to review its proposal to fund and set up an electronic case management system. This is good news for mesothelioma victims. The Government have recognised that the consultation proposals wouldn’t help to settle cases quickly for mesothelioma victims and shows that the Government has listened to impassioned arguments of victims and their families and their representatives. The proposed changes would have resulted in mesothelioma claimants receiving reduced legal fees and possibly having to meet some fees themselves. This will no longer be necessary. Likewise the new protocol would have restricted the ability of industrial disease lawyers to make speedy applications to the court to bring an early outcome to the claims particularly in areas where there was limited life expectancy. The Swindon Asbestos Group was involved in campaigning against the Governments proposed changes and welcome the Governments announcement.

In the meantime the Government are bringing through a Mesothelioma Bill to provide a compensation fund for those people who can not claim against their employers as they are no longer in existence and no insurance can be found. This is good news as these people have not been able to bring claims in the past. Under the proposals, asbestos victims would receive 75% of the average compensation awarded had their employer’s insurers been identified. However during a debate in parliament, some MPs have called for 100% compensation. Stephen Hepburn, Labour MP for Jarrow said “I think the proportion should be 100% and that insurance companies should be fined a further 25% for ignoring their responsibilities over the years.” A number of MPs including Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Kate Green also called for the eligibility cut off date to be moved back to February 2010. At the moment this scheme will only affect those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 25 July 2012.

Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning pointed out to MPs that insurers have so far resisted plans for this scheme and were dragged to the Department for Work and Pensions to negotiate the details. He urged MPs not to do anything which would delay the passage of the bill. The bill will now be scrutinised at committee stage during which members of the committee will have an opportunity to add any amendments.

Anybody who is diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure with a company no longer in existence should seek legal advice. It is likely they should be able to bring a claim under this scheme if they have been diagnosed on or after 25 July 2012.

Written by admin

December 16th, 2013 at 3:56 pm