The government’s last-minute decision to increase compensation for some mesothelioma victims is to be welcomed.
However the move – which will see sufferers and their families receive 80% of the compensation they are entitled to, rather than 75% as previously planned – does not go far enough.
Most people who contract mesothelioma – a fatal cancer of the lung lining – do so after being exposed to asbestos at work by their employer, often decades before symptoms develop. Under the Mesothelioma Act, passed earlier this year, a scheme will see reduced compensation paid to victims and their families when the negligent employer’s insurer cannot be traced – but only if they were diagnosed after 25 July 2012. Despite the fact that they played no part in their illness, they will still only receive 80% of the compensation they would have won had they been able to trace their former employer and take them to court.
Campaigners had long called for an increase, but it is only now that the administrative costs of the scheme are being finalised that the commitment to paying 80% compensation can be confirmed.
Kirsten Scott, senior partner at specialist firm Beecham Peacock Solicitors, welcomed the increase but maintained that it is unfair to penalise those who have contracted a deadly illness through no fault of their own.
She said: “This is certainly an improvement on the original plans, and we welcome the increase. However, the fact remains that the victims of this terrible disease did nothing whatsoever to contribute to their suffering. They were simply going to work and doing their jobs, and trusting that their employers would not expose them to unnecessary harm.
“It is an insult to offer them anything less than 100% of the compensation they are entitled to.”
Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle can advise on all aspects of making a claim for industrial disease. For more information call 0191 2323048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org