The government scheme designed to help mesothelioma sufferers and their families is undergoing a radical change as far as payouts are concerned. Sufferers of this devastating disease, caused by exposure to asbestos, will be entitled to claim compensation to the extent of 100% of the average civil claim.
Previously limited to 80%, this significant increase could see individuals receiving up to £54,000 more in compensation, and is aimed at helping those unable to make a claim under their employer’s liability insurance.
Generally seen as a U-turn by the government following strong criticism of the lower payment threshold, the new rules presently cover claims made from 10th February 2015.
Works and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud, had this to say about the government’s change of heart:
It is partly thanks to the success of the insurance industry in tracing liable insurers and employers that we are able to make these changes as part of our ongoing commitment to support Mesothelioma sufferers.
Employers and insurers no longer in existence
One of the problems experienced by Mesothelioma patients and their dependants is being unable to trace employers/insurers due to the length of time elapsed before being diagnosed, which is often between 15 and 40 years.
Life expectancy is generally only 8-9 months from diagnosis, leaving bereaved families with no financial support.
Those having made claims before 10th February are currently not eligible to receive the additional amount, leaving many people disappointed. Pressure is already being put on the government to backdate payments, however, as demonstrated by campaigner, Andy McDonald:
I call on the Government to do the decent thing and make sure that, where cases have resolved at less than 100%, that they are now revisited and settled in full.
It is thought that the original figure of 80% had been based on the assumption of a greater number of people applying. It remains to be seen whether the government will listen to campaigners supporting those who had to claim the lesser amount.
Details on the government compensation scheme and how to apply are available at: www.mesoscheme.org.uk or by telephoning: 0131 331 9090.