Mesothelioma proposals are a ‘missed opportunity’ says APIL (Weekly News)

Government proposals to reform the system for mesothelioma claims are ‘unworkable and unfair’, said APIL following closure of a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation this week.

The MoJ sought views on a proposed dedicated mesothelioma pre-action protocol (MPAP); a secure electronic gateway for managing claims, and fixed recoverable costs.

APIL said that dying claimants need early interim payments, early binding admissions of liability from culpable defendants, and easier access to medical, work, and pension records.

The association surveyed its occupational health special interest group (SIG) members who said that defendants routinely ignore the provisions of the existing protocol which then causes delays to settlements and generates unnecessary costs. Also, a drive towards settling a mesothelioma claim in the victim’s lifetime is not always in the best interests of the victim or his family, and the right to choose how and when a claim is resolved should be retained.

“This consultation has clearly been informed by the insurance industry’s relentless agenda for cutting its own costs,” said APIL’s immediate past president Karl Tonks in a press release. “But the discussion is far from over and we will be doing everything we can to ensure people dying of this terrible disease are the real focus of any reforms.”

The full APIL response can be downloaded from the website.

James Walsh, Partner who heads Wolferstans Solicitors dedicated asbestos litigation team says:"My team acts for a considerable number of mesothelioma victims bringing decades of experience within this specialist area.  We are based in Plymouth in Devon which is generally regarded as a particularly bad hotspot for asbestos victims with its historic link to Devonport Dockyard.  We deal though with mesothelioma victims throughout the country although primarily in Devon and Cornwall.

We feel strongly regarding the proposed Ministry of Justice reforms of mesothelioma cases and disagree with the ABI’s proposals which have been ill thought out to the detriment of the asbestos sufferers and their families.

We wholeheartedly support and endorse APIL’s response to the extent we adopt this as our firm’s response to the Mesothelioma Claims Consultation.  We trust our position will be considered within the Consultation of which the sufferers and families of this dreadful fatal disease has to be the priority as a opposed to the Insurance Industry saving costs.”

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