The Mesothelioma Act 2014, passed on 31st January 2014, established a compensation scheme funded by a levy placed on insurance companies. Under this Act, only Mesothelioma sufferers diagnosed on or after 25 July 2012, who cannot trace a former employer or insurers and who have not already received compensation, will be eligible for an award, providing they can prove negligent exposure. Successful applicants will receive approximately 80% of the average court award, which will include a sum for legal costs.
The scheme is a fund of last resort, and will only pay out if no relevant employer or insurer can be traced.
The scheme also allows for families of deceased victims to bring a claim.
Ben Mitchell, industrial disease and asbestos specialist lawyer at Applebys Solicitors comments “Mesothelioma is a devastating form of cancer and sadly is incurable. Unfortunately, as the disease has such a long incubation period, from when someone first ingests asbestos dust to when the disease first surfaces, and in turn the subsequent legal claim is made against their past employers, this long period can cause significant problems.
“As the onset of the condition can take 20 – 30 years or longer, the company may no longer be trading at the time, with the premises closed down, the work force moved on and documents disclosed. This Scheme is very much welcomed and redresses what has been for such a long time a grave injustice to those sufferers who previously could not bring any claim where insurers could not be found. However, there is an uneasy feeling knowing that insurance companies took 100% of the premiums from these employers but the victims will not receive 100% compensation”