A Derbyshire family has called for the Government to help asbestos victims and their families obtain compensation.

Dad-of-two Stephen Ward, 48, from Repton in Derby was diagnosed with asbestos related lung cancer mesothelioma in June 2009.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and there is no cure.

Mr Ward was exposed to the dangerous dust while working as a semi skilled mechanic for Gary Oliver Car Sales Limited in Castle Greasley between 1982 and 1983.

He instructed specialist lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors in Nottingham, to pursue a claim for compensation but it is likely he will never see a penny because his former employers are no longer in business and the company’s employer’s liability insurers cannot be found.

Call for Employers Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) to help asbestos victims

Now Mr Ward has joined with the Derby Asbestos Support Team, trade unions and Thompsons Solicitors in calling for the government to set up an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB).

Currently anyone who cannot trace the insurer of an employer which has gone out of business is unable to obtain compensation.

Thompsons Solicitors has always pointed out that whilst the Motor Insurance Bureau enables those injured by uninsured drivers to get full compensation, as many as one on ten asbestos victims unable to trace their employer’s insurers are left with nothing.

An ELIB would act as a fund of last resort for to compensate injured workers where the employer has ceased trading and the insurer cannot be found.

This would plug the black holes in records of employers’ liability insurance into which an estimated 5% to 10% of asbestos related disease claims fall.

Did you work in the car sales trade or for Insurance Brokers in the Derby area?

Specialist asbestos claims solicitor Reuben Greenwood of Thompsons has made extensive enquiries on behalf of Mr Ward with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) who were unable to trace the insurers. Mr Greenwood’s enquiries extended to tracking down the former company director in Spain who was unable to recall who the insurers were for the periods when Mr Ward was employed.

Mr Ward is also calling for anyone who worked in the car sales trade or for Insurance Brokers in the Derby area to come forward if they have any information about who insured Gary Oliver Car Sales Limited.

Mr Ward has two sons, Martin, 23, and Ben, 18, and his wife of 27-years, Sally. He is known in the area for playing goalkeeper for Repton Casuals, a position he excelled in for 16 seasons before injuring his knee.

Please contact Thompsons Solicitors with information about the insurers of Gary Oliver Car Sales Ltd of Cappi Hill, Castle Greasley, Derbyshire

Following his diagnosis Mr Ward underwent radical surgery to remove his left lung and has had chemotherapy.

He said: “When we went to the hospital to find out the results of my biopsy the last thing that was on my mind was that it could be cancer. I thought the worst thing he could tell me was that I would have to take tablets the rest of my life. It was a devastating blow to be told it was mesothelioma.

“I couldn’t believe that my work had caused this disease. Compensation wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do but I soon realised that if time was as short as the experts said that I needed to ensure my wife and children were provided for financially.

“It is difficult to believe that there are no records to show who my employer’s insurers was. The quicker an ELIB is put in place the better, not just for me but for all victims of asbestos related disease who are in the same position as I am.”

Joanne Carlin from Derby Asbestos Support Team said: “Unfortunately the number of people suffering from asbestos related disease in the Derbyshire area is increasing as a result of the area’s industrial legacy. Mr Ward’s predicament is common because many of the employers who negligently exposed their workers to asbestos have ceased trading and records of their insurers are not available. An ELIB is the only answer to ensure that innocent victims like Mr Ward and his family receive the compensation they are entitled to.”

Reuben Greenwood at Thompsons said: “Asbestos victims don’t have time for the ABI to sort itself out. There should be an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau funded by a levy on the insurance industry that mirrors the right to full compensation that is available to people injured or killed by uninsured drivers.

Anyone with information about the insurers of Gary Oliver Car Sales Ltd of Cappi Hill, Castle Greasley, Derbyshire please contact Reuben Greenwood on 08000 224 224.