Industrial disease sufferers offered online fixed recoverable costs claims scheme

X-ray showing the formation of mesothelioma

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has offered sufferers of the industrial disease, mesothelioma, a new process for claiming compensation backed by an online case management system which will be funded by the insurance industry.

Approximately 2,200 people die from the disease each year in England and Wales and the life expectancy for someone who contracts it is only 7 to 9 months from diagnoses.

It is therefore a huge concern for all involved that it takes 50% of claims for compensation for the disease over 12 months to settle, meaning most sufferers are deceased before they reach their payout.

The proposed new process, which will now go to a consultation, will mean that for those cases that do have a traceable insurer, the recovery time for damages will be resolved in six months in most cases with the most straightforward claims to be dealt with in three months.

This will be made possible by a Mesothelioma Pre-Action Protocol (MPAP) which is designed to cut out litigation and would replace the current pre-action protocol for disease and illness.

Speaking about the new proposal Justice Minister Helen Grant said: “The improved out-of-court process will help to ensure they can access any compensation they are due as quickly as possible.”

Within the proposals for consideration the MoJ has suggested three models for the Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC) regime for mesothelioma claims.

They include:

  • A single flat fee where one fixed sum will be recoverable to cover all cases settled within the MPAP, irrespective of variations such as level of damages awarded;
  • Separate flat fees for different stages of the MPAP – under which the total single flat fee could be broken down by the stages of the MPAP, with individual staged fees only being recoverable once the relevant stages of the MPAP have been undertaken; or
  • Multiple flat fees or variable fees under which there would be a set of flat fees for different groups of mesothelioma claims, or alternatively an FRC scheme with variable elements on top of  a lower base flat fee or staged fee

The consultation is due to close on the 2 October 2013 and you can have your say on the proposal.

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