Mesothelioma scheme in the Queen's Speech

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Mr S suffered orthopaedic injuries and permanent damage to his pituitary gland in a motorcycling accident. Mr S recovered £360,000 on a provisional damages basis.
Mr W suffered a serious knee injury in a motorcycling accident and he went on to develop chronic pain syndrome forcing his early retirement. Mr W recovered £575,000.
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Mr T suffered an ankle and knee injury in a motorcycling accident and was unable to return to his former work as a Baker’s assistant. Mr T recovered £395,000.

Government’s Mesothelioma scheme announced in the Queen’s Speech

The Government announced in the Queen’s Speech a change to the way in which Mesothelioma compensation claims are to be handled in future.

The changes won’t come into effect until July 2014, when a scheme will be put in place to compensate sufferers where an insurer can’t be found – in these cases, the claimant was often exposed to asbestos at work 20, 30, 40 even 50 years ago.

Consequently, lots of Mesothelioma victims have difficulty in tracing back through the years in order to find the identity of the insurer of the employer who was most likely to have been responsible for them contracting this horrible, fatal disease.

Did you know – it’s been compulsory for Employers to have Employer’s Liability Insurance for over 40 years, but it’s still a struggle to find out who insured whom!

Whilst there’s some comfort to be drawn in that at least some action is being taken by the Government to force insurance companies into action, it doesn’t do anything for other sufferers of ‘asbestos’ related diseases who face an equally bleak and very uncertain future – Mesothelioma is just 1 type of asbestos related illness.

The scheme will do nothing for about 50% of victims of asbestos who don’t fall into the Mesothelioma category. Also, the changes are likely to result in a flat payment of damages – irrespective of the individual needs of sufferers and their families.

Speculation in the legal world is that the new scheme will probably serve to reduce payouts to vulnerable victims of Mesothelioma by as much as 30%, whilst trying to hide the reduction behind the cloak of a speedier system of payments.

The reality is probably going to be that the victim will receive a lower level of damages, paid to him slightly earlier than under the present scheme, but, when the dreaded illness finally takes its toll, leaving behind his dependents with less money for their uncertain futures.

It’s a cockeyed view of fairness in our opinion, and can’t be considered as being in the interests of the injured victim struck down by the illness, nor in the long term interests of their dependents.

We await confirmation of the detail from the Government as the parliamentary year develops.

Written by Wai

Wai Yi is our joint Managing Director. She joined the firm originally as an articled clerk to the founder, Keith Beardsell and qualified as a solicitor in 1989. She became an equity partner in 1997, and upon the creation of Beardsells LLP in 2011, she became joint Managing Director. You can follow Wai Yi on Google+.

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