Big News for Industrial Disease Claims – The Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill

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Mesothelioma is quite a rare cancer but it is becoming more common in the UK – around 2,500 people were diagnosed with it last year alone. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues which cover the lungs or abdomen. Mesothelioma is more prevalent in men than women, more than five times more men are diagnosed with it than women, and this is probably due to the fact that it is caused by exposure to Asbestos at work.

Asbestos is the main cause of Pleural Mesothelioma (which affects the chest) and the risk of being affected by this is higher if you have been exposed to large quantities of asbestos from an early age. There have been links made between asbestos and lung disease since the early 18th century, but it is only in the 1960s that the link between asbestos and Mesothelioma was revealed. The number of people being diagnosed with Mesothelioma is expected to continue rising, unfortunately, due to the heavy use of asbestos in industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many people who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma may be able to make an industrial disease claim, and their specialist doctor or nurse may give them some information – or they could contact the Mesothelioma organisation.

The biggest hope for people who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, as with many other cancers, is that research will find a cure. However, funding for Mesothelioma is relatively low compared to other diseases at the moment – which is why The Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill was recently put forward to the House of Commons. This bill proposes that 150 insurance firms should contribute to the research, to make up the shortfall of funding – and this has received great support through the country.

The original Mesothelioma Bill was brought in last year, as a helping hand for Mesothelioma victims who were perusing Industrial Disease Claims but are unable to trace the employer who exposed them to Asbestos Dust or their employer’s Liability Insurance. The Act established a payment scheme for victims diagnosed from 25 July 2012, andnow offers to pay around £123,000 (based on 80% average civil damages). The scheme is funded by a levy on those insurance companies who provide employer’s liability.

The amendment which has recently been put forward, would mean that about 1% of the total levy currently paid out by the active insurers, would be funnelled off into research activities instead. This would probably work out at about £3.5 million over 10 years being ploughed into Mesothelioma research. Research into this disease is vital as it can take between 15 to 50 years for the symptoms to appear, and if not diagnosed until it is at a developed stage the prognosis for victims is usually 2 to 12 months.

If you need any help with an industrial disease claim, then please contact Justine or Geraint at GO- Law on 01625 523 838 or email us on gowen@go-law.co.uk