Compensation Setback for Asbestos Related Claims
Recent calls for an increase in the levels of compensation offered for Mesothelioma sufferers have been set back. The government’s Mesothelioma Bill has been passed by the House of Commons by a majority of 40 votes. Campaigners had urged ministers to ensure victims of the asbestos related condition receive 100% of the total compensation available to them through a successful civil court claim instead of the 75% included in the legislation.
Work and Pensions minister Mike Penning who steered the bill through parliament feels that the new law will still offer the best possible deal in light of pressure from the insurance industry. “The insurers did not come happily to the table to have this discussion. When the discussions with [work and pensions minister] Lord Freud started, they were told to come, and the negotiations were based on what we could get agreement on without putting a further burden on business. We have to look at the context. Nothing had been done for so long, but now something is being done and the insurance companies are not happy about it” he said.
The bill will provide the opportunity for workers who were negligently exposed to asbestos but have so far been unable to trace the responsible employer to claim compensation through a scheme funded by a levy on current insurers. The UK has one of the highest mesothelioma rates in the world with 2125 new cases diagnosed in 2012.