Following the Government’s announcement this morning that only some pleural plaques victims will receive a compensation payment more details of their asbestos plan have been made known. We have summarised them as
- A one off £5000 payment to pleural plaques victims who had lodged their claim at court at the time of the House of Lords judgment in October 2007. Although WE Solicitors welcomes this it, only a small fraction of pleural plaque victims (approx 6,000) will receive this payment and many thousands will not be compensated. WE Solicitors support the fight to have this payment extended to all victims.
- A Working Group will be set up. This will look at ways that civil justice system can be improved to decrease the time taken to conclude mesothelioma claims.
- The establishment of an ‘Insurer of Last Resort’ who will compensate victims unable to trace the insurer of dissolved companies. Many victims do not receive compensation because the insurer who provided cover to companies for compensation claims cannot be found. WE Solicitors welcomes this new system as it will benefit thousands of people who suffer from debilitating and life threatening illnesses who cannot claim through no fault of their own. However, WE Solicitors believes that it would be very unfair if the compensation for the victims who use the ‘Insurer of Last Resort’ is lower than the victims who can claim directly from the insurer.
- The setting up of an improved tracing system for insurance policies.
- An increase in the statutory payments made by the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Worker’s Compensation) Act 1979 and the Mesothelioma Act 2008 to better reflect compensation made in the civil courts.
- £3,000,000 to pay for a national Cancer Research Institute, which will make the UK a leader in the field of asbestos related disease research.
Whilst these are steps in the right direction WE Solicitors feel they do not go far enough.
We would ask the Government to change the law so all pleural plaques victims can claim compensation.