The Westminster Parliament and the asbestos tragedy

The House of Commons Select Committee have recently investigated  Mesothelioma legal claims due to the Government’s plans to remove the beneficial funding exemption on Mesothelioma actions following a  recent change in law.

It has recently been decided by the Government that in personal injury cases a contribution towards the solicitors costs should now be made by the person who has been injured as opposed to the insurers of the company that was negligent.. Mesothelioma cases are the only exception to this rule due to the severity of the condition and the need to avoid time shopping around for solicitors, however the Government are now looking to remove this exemption so even people that have contracted a terminal illness as a  result of their employers negligence will have to contribute towards the cost of pursuing that injustice.

This was considered by the Justice Select Committee who invited concerned individuals from both sides of the argument to give evidence on the matter.

This follows a scheme which has recently been introduced allowing a limited group of Mesothelioma sufferers to claim up to 80% of the value of their claim from a pot of money should the employer that had previously exposed them to asbestos be no longer be active or if they are unable to locate the correct insurers on risk for their period of employment. This pot of money is provided by the insurance industry as they have saved a lot of money over the years from insurance policies which have not been paid out in cases where the correct insurer is not easily identifiable.

Most interestingly the proposals to bring Mesothelioma claims in line with other personal injury matters was brought forward and recommended by the insurance industry who are the only people who will benefit from the changes sought to be introduced. On discussing this the Justice Select Committee made it clear that the Government and the Insurance Industry were working together on this issue. The Justice Select Committee put it to the Head of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) that there was a link between the payments made by the insurance industry into the pot of money for the Mesothelioma Bill and the insurance industries wishing for Mesothelioma sufferers to pay part of their own legal costs. This would result in a substantial saving for the insurance industry at the detriment of the Mesothlioma victim.  It was suggested this is why they had  previous meetings with the government and ultimately provided contributions toward the fund required by the Mesothelioma Bill. This question was put to the Head of the ABIseven times, however on each time it was not answered. The Justice Select Committee then stated that they had to conclude the answer to the questions was “Yes”, to which the Head of the ABI still did not reply.

The report into whether or not Mesothelioma victims are going to have to fund part of their claims out of their damages in a similar manner to other personal injury actions will follow once the Select Committee have completed their investigations. .  Until the change in Law occurs fortunately Mesothelioma victims will retain their ability to recover costs in full from the employer who negligently exposed them to asbestos which caused their fatal cancer which should be right in these terrible cases.  It is however, important to seek legal advice quickly if you have previously been exposed to asbestos and developed Mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness such as Asbestosis, Pleural Thickening/Fibrosis or  Lung Cancer.

 Please feel free to  contact your local asbestos experts without delay so we can ensure that you get the best service available.

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