MP’s are lobbying the Government to exclude solicitors from any government run scheme to compensate workers for asbestos related pleural plaques.
Jim Sheridan, MP for Paisley has been quoted saying “We don’t want lawyers making a business out of other peoples misfortune”. Dennis Skinner MP for Bolsover pointed to the miner’s claims and alleged that some lawyers made millions out of the government scheme.
Clearly if a Government Scheme is brought into force to compensate victims of pleural plaques then costs will be a concern for the government having already paid millions for the miners compensation scheme.
However what must be remembered is that the majority of miners were more than happy with the service provided by their solicitors in respect of what was a complex scheme to obtain compensation. Instructing a solicitor to deal with the compensation claim meant that the miners got the compensation levels that they were entitled. Without the expertise of a solicitor many miners would not have got the compensation they deserved and the government paid the cost of this representation.
However some solicitors who represented the miners have been prosecuted by their regulatory body for deducting fees from the compensation paid out. This does not mean that the whole of the legal profession is out to make money from people’s misfortune. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers are there to fight on their client’s behalf to ensure that they get the compensation they deserve. Without this dedicated representation many would not get the correct level of compensation and many others will not apply to the scheme at all as they find the process intimidating and confusing.
Generally schemes set up by Governmental bodies are complex and one only has to look at the social benefits and appeal system to see what a long winded and sometimes bewildering process making any type of claim can be. All that will happen if lawyers are excluded from the process is that the most vulnerable in society will not get the compensation they are entitled to and so desperately need. Once again MP’s are arguing to remove the very persons from the system that stand up for the rights of the injured and vulnerable.