Justice for Asbestos Families16 April 2007
Thompsons Solicitors is launching a national campaign to achieve justice for asbestos families across the UK.
Thompsons, one of the UK’s leading claimant personal injury law firms, is demanding equality for families affected by asbestos in England and Wales after it was revealed they are receiving tens of thousands of pounds less in compensation than their Scottish counterparts.
The firm is highlighting an injustice in the way compensation for bereavement is awarded to families who have lost a relative to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.
In England and Wales the level of compensation is set at £10,000 by law and is only payable to the spouse but over the border in Scotland payments up to £30,000 have been made to bereaved widows.
Not only widows but other family members in Scotland can also receive compensation of between £10,000 to £15,000.
Thompsons wants to see a change in the way payments are assessed so families across the UK receive compensation in line with the amount currently paid to families in Scotland.
Head of Asbestos Policy
Thompsons head of asbestos policy, Ian McFall said: “The law must be changed to ensure families in England and Wales are entitled to the same level of compensation for bereavement a family in Scotland. The imbalance is unjust and cannot continue.
”£10,000 is a derisory sum for the grief caused by the death of a close family member. Whole families suffer terribly when they lose a loved one to mesothelioma. They carry the emotional burden with them the rest of their lives.”
In England and Wales the amount of compensation paid to bereaved spouses is fixed at £10,000 by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
However, in Scotland the level of bereavement payments is decided by the courts. In Scotland each individual case is looked at on its merits. In Scotland compensation can also be paid to children, siblings, grandchildren, parents and common law partners.
In some fatal personal injury cases Scottish juries have decided that compensation for bereavement of up to £50,000 should be paid to widows.
Recently the Scottish Parliament changed the law to make it easier for families to claim for compensation for mesothelioma. The change was made following a campaign by Thompsons Scotland and was covered extensively by Scottish media including the BBC at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6253709.stm.
Our campaign to achieve justice for asbestos families across the UK has also been covered by the BBC at 'Bid to increase asbestos pay-outs' and in the Mirror at 'Asbestos Law 'Unfair'', Manchester Evening News at 'Pauline campaigns for fairness', The Herald at 'Lawyers want asbestos compensation in England to match Scotland' and the Yorkshire Evening Post at 'Asbestos tragedies - fight for a fairer deal'.
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.