Victims of asbestos can now claim full compensation
Thompsons Solicitors has welcomed news that mesothelioma victims will have their right to full compensation restored.
During the third reading of the Compensation Bill on Monday July 17, hundreds of victims of the devastating asbestos-related disease learned they could again claim full compensation from their former employers.
An amendment to the bill also means victims whose cases were settled during the last few weeks because the court would not adjourn their claim can now apply to the court again to seek the full value of their award.
Reversing decision made earlier this year about Mesothelioma
The Compensation Bill aims to reverse a House of Lords ruling on 3rd May 2006 over mesothelioma payouts.
Victims of the devastating disease have been left in limbo after the Law Lords made it harder to bring a successful case against employers where claimants had worked for more than one company.
The test case involved a compensation claim brought by Sunderland widow Mary Murray. The 84-year-old was awarded £45,000 in March 2004 after her husband John contracted the fatal illness, mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos during his time as a welder in various North East shipyards.
Mr Murray died in 1999, but one of his employers, British Shipbuilders (Hydrodynamics) Ltd., argued it should only pay a portion of the compensation because it had only contributed towards 42% of Mr Murray's asbestos exposure.
The House of Lords sided with the employers but weeks after the ruling Prime Minister Tony Blair gave his backing to a campaign to reverse the decision.
He said the Compensation Bill, a law to help regulate the personal injury claims industry, would be amended to ensure mesothelioma victims received their full entitlement.
This amendment tabled by the Government gives claimants in the future the ability to obtain full compensation from any of the companies who were at fault in exposing them to asbestos. It also allows mesothelioma victims, whose claims were settled following the House of Lords decision, to have their case reviewed. Some of those victims were left with massively reduced payments, with one North East widow left with £100,000 less than she was entitled to.
Head of Asbestos Litigation at Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle, Ian McFall led the campaign to restore full compensation for victims.
He said: “The House of Lords decision devastated many mesothelioma sufferers and their families around the country".
“I congratulate the Government for moving swiftly to give certainty to claimants.”
“It is a monumental step in the fight to ensure mesothelioma victims again have access to the justice they deserve.”
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.