The Government is proposing to improve the way in which mesothelioma claims are conducted.
On a daily basis, lawyers deal with clients who are facing a fatal work-related cancer. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of asbestos related cancer that can be caused by just one microscopic particle of asbestos dust. There is no safe level of exposure.
One of the misconceptions of mesothelioma claims is that insurers make early admissions of breach of duty or make good early offers to settle. This is often not the case.
The Government proposes to introduce a new protocol to improve victims’ claims by speeding up the settlement of mesothelioma claims.
Sufferers need early interim payments to help provide comfort in the last stages of their lives and to ensure their loved ones are provided for, without having to wait for the case to end.
“Lawyers acting for cancer victims say the proposals are a missed opportunity”. (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers)
Mesothelioma victims need the automatic interim payments and early admissions of liability from Defendants. It is said that Defendants and insurers delay settlement and routinely ignore the provisions and fail to make any early admissions of liability. Resolving this issue would certainly speed up the conduct and cut unnecessary costs.
It is believed that a protocol which did provide early admissions of liability from Defendants and easier and quick access to medical records and HMRC Schedules/Work Pension records would speed cases up and reduce costs incurred. This would be a step in the right direction.
Compensation would help provide the care needed to those suffering. Their lives can be greatly improved with the funds, and even prolonged.
If a Claimant can establish causative exposure, there should be no arguments on liability leaving Defendants the opportunity to make early admissions.
Of course, cases vary greatly from one another. In one case, the company where the victim came to be exposed to may be a known company and the solicitors may be able to contact them immediately. In another case, the defendant company may have been a small company or has now ceased trading and their insurers may be difficult to trace. This would involve extensive research before the claim could proceed. Unfortunately, sometimes no insurance can be traced and therefore no compensation can be claimed.
APIL, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, have said, “Senior Master Whitaker, has repeatedly commented that introducing strict liability for mesothelioma claims would save significant costs for both sides of the claim, and speed up the resolution of mesothelioma claims. The Claimant’s representatives spend a significant amount of time ensuring the Claimant has all the evidence necessary to satisfy the burden of proof. In effect, claims would be dealt with more efficiently, time and money would be saved and Defendants would be discouraged from needlessly denying liability.”
Discussions with regards to the proposals are far from over but the main focus is to ensure people suffering with mesothelioma are the real focus of any reforms.