Asbestosis sufferers win key battle in industrial illness compensation claims

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As we have written before, the no win no fee personal injury claims process was changed dramatically on 1st April 2013 as the Government passed ‘The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012, which shifted part of the legal costs of making a claim for personal injury compensation from the losing party to the claimant.  This law effectively reduced the amount of compensation that people would be able to obtain as anyone making a claim for personal injury compensation on a no win no fee basis after 1st April 2013 now faces a deduction of 25% from any settlement that they receive, as this is now used to contribute towards the cost of the claim.

Exemptions

Despite the LASPO Act 2012 cost implications affecting the majority of people making claims for personal injury compensation, the Government initially provided an exemption for people making an industrial illness compensation claim for the condition of mesothelioma.  The exemption from the requirement to lose up to 25% from any settlement awarded was to remain in place until a full review of the implications that this would present to claimants was completed.  The review was completed at the end of 2013 and the Government decided that the people making a claim for mesothelioma compensation had no reason to not have to claim under the same costs basis as all other claimants, and should contribute up to 25% from any settlement that they receive towards the costs of making their claim.

Many within the no win no fee personal injury compensation industry, including Direct2Compensation and the specialist solicitors that we work with, felt that this was not fair and publicly said so.  Once again, the Government ignored the widely held view that people who had suffered a severe health problem as a result of their working conditions many years ago, should suddenly be unable to make a claim for industrial illness compensation without having to lose a portion of their compensation because of a new law that greatly favours the insurance sector.  The same insurers who factored in the full cost liability that they would face if they lost a claim at that time as they charged this risk to policy premiums at the time the insurance that is now claimed upon was sold.

Unsurprisingly, the asbestos victims’ support groups forum UK wouldn’t accept the Governments decision to deduct compensation from mesothelioma and commenced legal action against the Government.

Unfair

The case against the Government has now been heard and the High Court has ruled in favour of mesothelioma claimants and found that the Government’s plans to deduct up to 25% from a claim settlement to contribute to the fees of a claim for compensation made by people who were either seriously ill, dying or dead as a result of being exposed to asbestos dust during their working life were unlawful.

After the hearing, the Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying that it was “disappointed” at the outcome of the hearing.

Members of the support group who brought the claim reported that they were extremely happy with the outcome of the court case and stated that a sense of fear and unnecessary stress had been removed from the many people suffering ill health as a result of mesothelioma and had given those people the confidence to now pursue their claim for industrial illness compensation.

Prior to this judgment, the support group found that some people had delayed or avoided making their claim as they were scared of the possible costs of making a claim for compensation.

Mesothelioma compensation

People can make a claim for compensation as a result of damage caused to their health during their working life, such claims for compensation are known as industrial illness or industrial injury claims.

The condition known as ‘Mesothelioma‘ is an aggressive cancer that often takes many years to develop, usually not presenting symptoms until people are older and often after they have retired.  It is caused by exposure to asbestos and by inhaling dust particles from asbestos that hook in to the lining of the lungs and eventually lead to a very aggressive cancer of a terminal nature.  The average life expectancy of a mesothelioma sufferer is  only nine months from being diagnosed with the condition.

Each year a large number of people are diagnosed with an industrial injury or illness and are left in severe ill health and worrying about providing for their families.  At Direct2Compensation we are geared up to assist you with a claim for mesothelioma compensation or any other industrial injury or illness.  We know your rights and can help to link you with a specialist solicitor who will be able to take legal action on your behalf against your former employers and their insurers.  Even if the companies that you worked for years ago no longer exist or have merged you can still make your claim for compensation.  Don’t delay, contact us today and let us help you claim compensation on a completely no win no fee basis.

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