The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has criticised the consultation paper for mesothelioma claiming that it is based on a number of misconceptions about how claims for Mesothelioma are carried out.
Last week the consultation, which will affect the final drawing up of the Mesothelioma Bill, closed and in their response APIL outlined the importance of realising that the conception given off in the paper that the claims process for Mesothelioma was straightforward and repetitive is entirely inaccurate.
Their response said: “Whilst there are, of course, required and necessary steps in all mesothelioma claims, the amount of time and work that is required to complete each step of the process varies greatly from one case to another, and the number and nature of the steps taken varies greatly.
“For example, the defendant insurer may be known and the claimant solicitor may be able to contact them immediately. In other cases, the defendant employer may have been a small business, such as a hair salon operating in the 1960s, whose insurers may be very hard to trace, and the solicitor may need to conduct extensive research and even contact an insurance archaeologist before the claim can proceed further.”
APIL has also reiterated their earlier concerns regarding the reforms to the way mesothelioma claims are handled, claiming that they are unworkable and unfair and missing an opportunity to help cancer victims.
Former president of APIL, Karl Tonks said: “What dying mesothelioma victims need from the legal process is a protocol which provides them with automatic interim payments; early admissions of liability from culpable defendants and easier access to medical, work and pensions records. Such changes would speed up the conduct of these cases and cut costs in the process.
“The proposals in the consultation to introduce a new protocol to settle more cases out of court sounds like a great idea in principle but taking cases to the specialist mesothelioma court is usually the only way to persuade defendants and their insurers to admit liability for causing the disease, and to get the claim settle quickly. It is also often the only way to obtain early interim payments to help provide some comfort for the victim in his final months, without having to wait for the case to end.”
Mr Tonks finally added what is obvious about most of the governments proposals for reform within the personal injury industry and that is that they are largely in line with the insurance industry’ ruthless agenda to cut their own costs.