Mesothelioma Compensation Claim Consultation Reaches Closure
7th October 2013
Mesothelioma is a terrible condition caused by exposure to asbestos. It is incurable and frequently leads to the death of the sufferer, and is regularly caused by the negligence of the sufferer’s former employers. At Clearwater Solicitors, ensuring that people with mesothelioma can access the compensation they need as quickly as possible is one of our key priorities, so we were pleased to discover that the government wants to speed up the personal injury claims process for people with these conditions and was holding a consultation on the issue.
In many cases, the victim does not receive justice or succeed in their industrial illness claim and dies from mesothelioma before the case is concluded. While their dependents or loved ones can receive this compensation, slow resolutions to these personal injury claims can significantly worsen the last few months of the victim’s life.
While some of the proposals in the consultation – such as setting up a compulsory payment scheme that will allow the victims of the condition to recover compensation when they are unable to trace the employer who is liable for their illness – are much welcomed by our personal injury solicitors, some of the other proposals could create concern.
Apil Concerns About Mesothelioma Compensation Claim Proposals
We echo the statements of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), which pointed out that while introducing a protocol to encourage out-of-court settlements might seem like a positive step, in many cases the only time that employers admit liability is when they are taken to the specialist mesothelioma case.
Furthermore, this is usually the only way that these industrial illness compensation claimants can receive early interim payments, which can be essential if they are to pay for their medical expenses or receive the palliative treatment and care they need in their last months of life.
Research from APIL suggests that, under existing protocols, defendants admit liability in under 10% of claims, with 25% of claimants saying defendants to not admit liability during the protocol period at all.
APIL pointed out that all of these cases eventually ended in success for the mesothelioma compensation claimant, so there is no particular reason that employers did not admit liability immediately. Ignoring the way that insurers and employers act in these industrial disease claims and imposing a more rigid system will simply play into the hands of defendants and see more mesothelioma sufferers spending their final months in “pointless legal wrangling”.
The consultation concluded on October 1st and it is likely insurers would have had a large role in it. While the government said the aim of the consultation is to result in a larger number of mesothelioma claims being settled before the end of the victim’s life, APIL suggested that the insurance industry’s cost-cutting attempts could see this aim failing and cause additional difficulty to people with mesothelioma. We at Clearwater Solicitors will keep a close eye on the results of the consultation and any future legislative changes, so we can continue to give our clients the best possible service.