Employers’ liability Bill launched in Parliament12 March 2009
Call for Asbestos Victims to write to their MP
Thompsons Solicitors is calling for asbestos victims and their families across the UK to write to their MPs asking them to support a Private Member’s Bill which, if successful, will make it possible to claim compensation in cases where an employer’s insurer cannot be traced.
Andrew Dismore, Labour Member of Parliament for Hendon and vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, has published his Private Member’s Bill, the Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) Bill.
An ELIB would plug the black holes in records of employers’ liability insurance into which an estimated 5% to 10% of asbestos related disease claims fall.
At the moment a claimant who cannot trace the insurer of an employer which has gone out of business is unable to claim damages.
Same protection for injured workers as there is for injured motorists
The Bill would give the same protection for injured working people as there is for those injured on the roads by uninsured drivers. Where a negligent driver who is uninsured causes injury or death the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) pays full compensation to the victim.
Mr Dismore said: “There are only two types of insurance which are legally compulsory: for cars and for employers.
“If a driver does not have insurance, then there is a residual “insurer of last resort” arrangement, the Motor Insurance Bureau, which will pay out if somebody is injured due to a negligent driver who was not insured.
“However, there are no similar provisions in relation to employers’ liability. Some employers do not have insurance, clearly a criminal offence, but it is not fair that an injured worker should lose out as a result.
“Of equal importance, though, are the cases of those who contract illnesses or diseases during the course of their employment, which illness only comes to light possibly decades later. Often it is impossible to track the insurer or employer concerned who may have long ceased trading; or only after extremely expensive and difficult legal enquiries.
“An Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau, similar to that of the Motor Insurance Bureau, is the answer. This would enable injured workers, or those suffering from long term diseases or illnesses, to be compensated.
“This scheme is long overdue, and I hope that the House will give my Bill a second reading on Friday 13 March.”
Ian McFall Head of Asbestos Policy at Thompsons Solicitors the UK's most experienced trade union law firm said: “This Bill will be welcomed by all our clients, the injured as well as the families of those who have been killed due to negligent asbestos exposure who currently face getting no compensation because the insurance industry has failed to identify who insured their ex employers."
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.