Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Withy King client receives one of the first payments from the mesothelioma fund of last resort
People diagnosed with mesothelioma (an asbestos-related cancer) were often exposed to asbestos at work many decades earlier. In the meantime, the company they worked for will often have ceased trading. Until recently, if it was not possible to trace the insurers for the companies they worked for, those people and their families would not be able to claim compensation.
To address this unfairness the government introduced a fund of last resort to make payments in this situation. It’s not perfect, because it only pays 80% of the average compensation for an individual of that age. However, it does now ensure that people who were diagnosed with mesothelioma after 25.7.12 following workplace exposure should receive something.
The scheme began to accept applications in July 2014, and the average payment under the scheme is expected to be over £100,000.
Withy King submitted one of the earliest applications under the scheme on behalf of the family of a local man who developed mesothelioma late in 2013, when he was aged 82. He had worked with asbestos for two building firms in the late 1940s and 1950s. The firms he worked for were no longer trading, and their insurers could not be found. After he instructed Withy King in the Spring of 2014, Helen Childs, his solicitor and Withy King partner specialising in asbestos-related diseases, assisted him in securing benefits of over £18,000, and tried to track down the insurers for his previous employers. When this proved unsuccessful, Helen made an application to the fund of last resort on the very first day it was possible to do so, and the family have now received their payment.
Helen says: “Obviously nothing can adequately compensate people who develop mesothelioma, but it is good news that there is now a fund of last resort in place. It’s not a perfect scheme, because it only pays out 80% of the average settlements, and it does not cover other conditions like asbestos-related lung cancer or asbestosis. However, it does at least ensure that mesothelioma sufferers and their families will still be eligible for a substantial payment. Anyone who is diagnosed with mesothelioma should seek specialist legal advice – because if they simply submit an application to the mesothelioma fund themselves they could be missing out on large sums of money. For example, if it had been possible to trace insurers for this client, then the payment would have been about £50,000 higher.”
Royds Withy King has a dedicated specialist team of lawyers who are committed to recovering maximum compensation for industrial disease claims. If you or a family member has an asbestos related illness, or have been diagnosed with an industrial disease as a result of work, you may be able to bring a claim.
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