The Government are currently debating the Mesothelioma Bill which will provide a fund from the insurers to pay compensation to mesothelioma sufferers who were exposed to asbestos with an employer which is no longer in existence and where the insurers cannot be traced. This will only affect those diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 25 July 2012. Under the proposals, victims would receive 75% of the average compensation awarded had their employers’ insurers been identified. However at the debate this week in Parliament some MPs called for 100% compensation. Stephen Hepburn, Labour MP for Jarrow said “I think the proportion should be 100% but insurance companies should be fined a further 25% for ignoring their responsibilities over the years.” A number of MPs including Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Kate Green also called for the eligibility cut off date for diagnosis to be moved back to February 2010.
Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning pointed out to MPs that insurers have so far resisted plans for the scheme and were dragged to the department for Work and Pensions to negotiate the details. He urged MPs not to do anything which would delay the passage of the bill. The bill will now be scrutinised at committee stage. If anybody who is suffering from mesothelioma and has been diagnosed on or since July 2012 and has not been able to bring a claim as their employers are no longer in existence, they should make contact with us with the view to filing a claim once the Mesothelioma Bill becomes law.
The Government has also just announced they were rejecting the insurance industries proposals to change the way in which mesothelioma claims are handled. They have rejected the principal of fixed fees which would have limited the amount of legal fees which mesothelioma claimants could claim. Likewise the Government have rejected a new mesothelioma pre action protocol as recommended by the Association of British Insurers which would have restricted the ability of lawyers to move claims along and apply to the court for early resolution particularly in cases where there is a limited life expectancy.
Charles Lucas & Marshall have actively campaigned the Ministry of Justice with the assistance of Swindon MP, Robert Buckland, against these proposals which would have been detrimental to mesothelioma patients and welcome this result.
For further information contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793 511055 or email@example.com
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