So common sense has finally prevailed and Mesothelioma victims who are forced to use the Mesothelioma Act in order to get the compensation they deserve, will finally receive 100% of what the average victim does going through the courts.
The increase from 80% previously was introduced from Monday this week after it was recognised that the number of claimants actually going down this route was far less than the government had originally participated.
The Minister for disabled people, Mark Harper, made good of his word to review the scheme stating: “The number of claimants has proven to be below the level anticipated. I made it clear through the passage of the Mesothelioma Act that I planned to monitor the scheme to gauge the extent that the assumptions made when it was being set up had been borne out in practice, and would also consider the impact on insurance companies who pay for it.”
“It is already clear that the insurance industry, through its Employer Liability Tracking Office, is doing an increasingly good job at tracing insurance policies, which means sufferers can more easily pursue compensators for a remedy.”
The news has been welcomed by the personal injury industry, especially the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), who have campaigned tirelessly and vowed to continue campaigning until such an amendment was made.
APIL President, John Spencer, did however criticise the Government for not affording Mesothelioma victims 100% compensation in the first place, saying: “Mesothelioma victims need full compensation and should never have been penalised simply because their former insurer could not be traced.”
“The Government should be applauded for acting quickly to exploit the lower than expected uptake of the scheme, but it is still highly regrettable that 100% compensation was not available for all mesothelioma sufferers from the inception of the scheme.”
Scott Rees and Co’s Partner for Serious and Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, echoed the APIL President’s words.
He said: “This is great news for the victims of mesothelioma and a light at the end of a very bleak tunnel. This is a terrible disease and it should never have even been questioned as to whether the victims deserved 100% compensation or not.”
“Thankfully in this case the government has seen the error of their ways and it is refreshing to see a minister coming through on a commitment to monitor and react on a policy, rather than just letting the originally unfair conditions continue to play out.”
More than 2000 people are diagnosed in the UK with the asbestos related killer, Mesothelioma, every year and a further 2000+ sadly lose their lives from this terrible disease.
The diffuse mesothelioma payment scheme was introduced by the Mesothelioma Act in April last year to try and help those who could not trace their former employers or their insurance companies because they had ceased trading.
The increase was predictable as Lord McKenzie of Luton did exactly that last year when it was passing through the House of Lords and many will see this as a ‘better late than never’ adjustment.
Despite the increase in damages there is still a long way to go to fully improving the terms of the act. As it stands, only those with Mesothelioma through exposure inside the workplace are covered by the act and it also excludes victims other major asbestos cancers.
The focus now will shift towards convincing the government to review the Act’s exclusivity and open it up to help other victims who are suffering from terminal illnesses just because they turned up to work.