The Government will not push forward proposals to speed up compensation claims for victims of the fatal asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, it has announced.
Out-of-court asbestos settlements
The plans were for a new out-of-court system aimed at helping mesothelioma sufferers who could trace a liable insurer or employer, and settle civil claims for asbestos personal injuries.
But Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said that after consulting on the proposals the Government had decided not to press ahead.
He said: “Mesothelioma is an awful condition which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time and we want to do everything we can to help sufferers and their families.
“We will be working closely with victims, their representatives, insurers and others over the next few months to establish the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly.”
Victims ‘listened to’
Karl Tonks said the decision shows the Government has listened to the “impassioned” arguments of sufferers and recognised that the proposals “would not help to settle cases quickly for mesothelioma victims”.
He added: “We now look forward to working closely with the Government to see how the process can be improved for people who are dying from this horrific disease and whose life expectancy is very short.”
Caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, mesothelioma is a cancer that targets the linings of the lungs.
The Government decision also means sufferers will have to comply with recent changes to the way in which ‘no-win, no-fee’ compensation claims work. Under the Government’s Legal Aid and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 claimants winning their case will have part of their lawyers’ fees paid out of the damages they receive, instead of them being paid for in full by the losing party.
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Date Published: December 6, 2013
Author: David Brown