Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SPEEDING UP MESOTHELIOMA CLAIMS part-1

Introduction
The Forum is grateful for the recent opportunity to meet with Janet Howe, Ministry of Justice
(MoJ), about the draft mesothelioma pre-action protocol, and for the opportunity to re-engage
in the discussion on the best way forward for speeding up mesothelioma claims.
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum – UK (Forum) submitted proposals to the
DWP for the improvement of mesothelioma claims in November 2006. Our proposals
included suggestions for change to the Industrial Injuries Scheme, the Pneumoconiosis etc.
(Workers Compensation) Act 1979 and to statute and common law rules (Appendix A).
We share the concerns of ministers and their officials about the many failings of the common
law system which denies compensation to so many mesothelioma victims, and fails to deliver
compensation in a timely way to those who are indeed ‘fortunate’ enough to succeed in their
claims.
The cards are truly stacked against mesothelioma sufferers:
• their disease has the dubious distinction of having the longest latency of all, consequently
tracing insurers is a nightmare;
• they often give up a claim in-life to secure financial security for dependants on death;
• they often do not live long enough to know the outcome of their claims;
• the delay in getting medical records can add sufficient additional delay to deny
compensation in life;
• even when damages are won, the FSCS validation process can delay payment until after
death;
• the latest insurers legal challenge (the ‘trigger issue) is now delaying payments in some
mesothelioma cases.
The government could make a huge difference, and deal a ‘better hand’ to mesothelioma
sufferers by acting to remove the above obstacles and delays. Our proposals below address
the concerns we have about the claims process, both pre-action and post-action.

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