Mesothelioma Bill Edges Towards Royal Assent
9th January 2014
The Mesothelioma Bill has almost reached the Royal Assent stage. It underwent its third reading in the House of Commons on January 7th, before returning to the House of Lords for final consideration. It is scheduled to become law in July this year.
This bill will see people who have developed mesothelioma able to claim compensation through a diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme, helping hundreds of people who would otherwise be unable to receive help.
Paul Goggins, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, was a fierce advocate of the Mesothelioma Bill, striving to increase the amount of compensation sufferers of the disease would receive. He tragically died from a brain haemorrhage before the bill passed, with MPs listening to his amendments to the bill despite his absence in dedication to his hard work as he lay critically-ill in hospital.
Concerns about the Mesothelioma Bill
It would be wrong to criticise the Mesothelioma Bill too harshly – it will undoubtedly provide much-needed personal injury compensation to thousands of people who developed a fatal disease due to asbestos exposure, and is crafted in such a way as to give insurers the onus on footing the bill for settlements, rather than the taxpayer.
We have previously outlined some of our concerns with the Mesothelioma Bill, and these concerns have not yet been fully ironed-out. People will only receive 75% of the compensation they would have received had they been able to trace the liable insurance company and claim industrial illness compensation directly from them, for instance.
MP Tracey Crouch argued that this should be increased to 80%, saying that while 100% would be the best outcome, the Mesothelioma Bill would likely not have made it so far if this was the only available option.
She explained that while 5% might not sound like an awful lot, it actually is an additional £6,000 for mesothelioma compensation claimants.
However, the fact of the matter is, the figure will be pegged at 75% because the insurance companies that fund the scheme said it can only cost them 3% of their gross written premium, and that increasing the levy to 80% of the amount a mesothelioma personal injury compensation claimant would receive from a liable insurer would push the cost of the scheme slightly above this 3% boundary over four years, despite falling to just 2.61% over ten years.
Many organisations have been pushing for the Mesothelioma Bill to award recipients more than 75% of the amount other mesothelioma compensation claimants receive, with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) describing this as “not the justice” that mesothelioma sufferers deserve.
APIL President Matthew Stockwell confirmed the organisation will continue pushing to increase the availability of justice anyone who has been injured due to workplace safety mismanagement can receive.
We at Clearwater Solicitors are ready to help you claim compensation if you have developed mesothelioma or any other industrial disease. Call us on 08000 430 430 or fill in our online enquiry form to find out more.