Victims of diffuse mesothelioma and their families may be eligible to receive compensation averaging £125,000. Local Councillor is encouraging anyone who is suffering from this disease locally, or family members, to look into this scheme.
The new compensation scheme for diffuse mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has paid out over £15 million in its first 7 months. But the Department for Work and Pensions says there are hundreds more victims who may be eligible for compensation and is calling for them to come forward, estimating that £32 million could be paid out by the end of March 2015.
The new package of support – funded by the insurance industry – opened in April this year. It is designed to provide compensation for people suffering from diffuse mesothelioma, or the families of those who have died from the disease.
It is estimated that every year 300 people struggle to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records cannot be found.
Local Lib Dem Health spokesperson, Councillor Dawson, who himself has had past workplace exposure to asbestos says:
“For years, many victims of this awful disease have been failed by both successive governments and the insurance industry. At last, the Coalition Government are taking action to end an injustice that has left many victims and their families without financial support while suffering terribly.
This scheme is already up and running but there are many more victims and their families who could receive compensation averaging £125,000. I encourage anyone who believes they are eligible to come forward.
Compensation packages include a sum that can be put towards the payment of legal fees and are made directly to individuals. The scheme has been designed to accept direct applications, which enables people to apply without the aid of a solicitor. In such cases, the individual retains the money included for legal fees.
The scheme is available both for sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma who were diagnosed after 25 July 2012, and families of sufferers who have died, and who can’t trace a liable employer or an employers’ insurer.
The DWP recently announced that the estimated costs of this scheme in the financial year 2014/15 will be £32 million.
Men over 65, who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively, are now among those most at risk of mesothelioma.
Details on the Government compensation scheme and how to apply are available at www.mesoscheme.org.uk and on 0131 331 9090
More about diffuse mesothelioma
Diffuse mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of internal organs, such as the lungs, and almost always arises from exposure to asbestos. Life expectancy from diagnosis is 8 to 9 months on average.
Diffuse mesothelioma takes a long time to develop – it is sometimes 40 to 50 years after exposure before symptoms appear – which means that some workers were negligently exposed to asbestos at work but their employers are no longer in existence to make a claim against. Insurance records from the time are also often incomplete.
The new scheme will pay those who develop diffuse mesothelioma as a result of negligent exposure to asbestos at work and are unable to claim compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer. The scheme applies to people diagnosed with mesothelioma from 25 July 2012.
The number of diffuse mesothelioma deaths increased to 2,535 in 2012 from 2,311 in 2011. This was largely due to an increase in male deaths aged 65 years or older (Mesothelioma register).
In 2012 there were 2,126 male deaths and 409 female deaths.
The number of new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) has increased from 2,125 in 2012 to 2,145 new cases in 2013.
Other DWP schemes which make payments to people who contract diffuse mesothelioma:
- The Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 provides lump sum payments to workers with certain dust related diseases (including diffuse mesothelioma), whose employer or insurer cannot be traced. On average these payments are £18,000 for diffuse mesothelioma claims.
- Part 4 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 provides lump sum compensation for all diffuse mesothelioma sufferers, regardless as to whether the disease was caused through exposure to asbestos in employment or not – these payments are £20,000 on average. £9.4million worth of payments were made in 2013/14.
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