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Corries Solicitors - Personal Injury Specialists
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Asbestos Cancer Scheme 3% Uplift – but can we do more for victims?

Corries welcome news that a government asbestos cancer scheme for sufferers will receive a 3% uplift in April 2018.

Here we explain the different schemes and why we think it is time to make sure everyone with mesothelioma is treated the same. Follow  this helpful link to our web page for more information on asbestos disease here

Asbestos Cancer Schemes and Common Law

If you have been diagnosed with asbestos cancer, mesothelioma then you can make:-

  1. A common law claim against your former employers or other guilty party and also;
  2. A possible claim under the different government schemes for benefits or a lump sum.

Common Law Claims

These are claims paying a sum in compensation by suing your former employer or other party. Damages are unique to the individual claim but this is usually the way that the greatest sum is achieved for the victim. These are usually paid by the Employers liability insurer or the company themselves where they are still in existence.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

In addition the victim can make claims for benefits. Most of these benefits are funded by the taxpayer.

This is a weekly benefit that is paid for certain industrial diseases including:

D1 – Asbestosis

D3 – Mesothelioma

D8 – Lung cancer with or without Asbestosis

D9 – Pleural Thickening

If your job involved work with asbestos after 4 July 1948 and you develop any of those conditions you can claim that benefit. To succeed you need to complete a form BI 100PD.

We suggest that you go on to the Government website here

Attendance Allowance

Attendance allowance is only paid if you need daily care. This benefit is not means tested. The details for these benefits can be found on the above government website.

Constant Attendance Allowance

This provides for a lump sum payment to asbestos victims and/or their dependents where one of the above diseases has been diagnosed.

Pneumoconiosis Etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

Jobcentre Plus may pay you a lump sum if you have one of the following diseases:

  • pneumoconiosis
  • byssinosis
  • diffuse mesothelioma
  • bilateral diffuse pleural thickening
  • primary carcinoma of the lung when accompanied by asbestosis or bilateral diffuse pleural thickening

To get a payment you must meet all the following conditions:

  • your dust-related disease must have been caused by your employment
  • you’re getting Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for one of the listed diseases
  • the claim must be made within 12 months of the decision awarding Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • you can’t or haven’t taken civil action because your former employer has stopped trading
  • you haven’t brought a court action or received compensation from an employer in respect of the disease

An asbestos cancer victim may be able to make a claim if they are the dependant of someone who suffered from a dust-related disease but who has died. A dependant claim must be made within 12 months of the death of the sufferer.

You have to be receiving Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit before you can receive a lump sum under this scheme. To receive a payment you cannot have started or brought a court action or receive compensation from your employer. Your employer must have stopped trading or the employment must be more than 20 years ago.

The same website link can give you information about the benefits. The application should be made on form PWC1.

The 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme – The Fall back Asbestos Cancer Scheme

This scheme was introduced for those making claims for lump sums against the government where they do not fall into the usual category for claims for IIDB benefits or payments under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Act.

Typical examples of cases are made under this scheme are:-

1. You are a person who came into contact with asbestos from a relative for instance by their overalls;

2. Environmental exposure from someone living near say an asbestos factory;

3. Exposure to asbestos while self-employed or;

4. The “catch all” provision for asbestos where it is unclear where exposure happened but it must have occurred in the UK.

This is commonly used for claims for women with mesothelioma where they are not able to prove that the exposure happened at work.

The Government has tabled regulations to increase the payments under this scheme by about 3%.

asbestos cancer scheme

The Government is adding 3% to the scheme – can more be done?

The 2014 Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS)

There are about 2600 Mesothelioma victims a year. Most of these victims are able to make claims at common law for compensation for themselves and their families. Claims can be made even where a person has died and must be made within the three year limitation period which applies to all common law claims.

Of the 2600 it is estimated that 300 to 400 hundred people per year are unable to make claims for damages because of various reasons. This include as inability to trace any employers or their insurers or difficulties in proving claims for damages. After much lobbying by various parties the Government introduced the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme Regulations (DMPS) to fill this void and to provide compensation to those who have Mesothelioma and are otherwise unable to get compensation.

The Government has appointed agents to deal with the scheme.The scheme is funded by a 3% levy on Employers Liability Insurers for the coming years.

This scheme most closely mirrors what you would receive at common law although deductions for all benefits claimed and for legal costs are deducted from the sums paid.The sums are set by tariff. it is the best and most lucrative of the claim mechanisms and is paid for by the insurers paying the levy each year.

What does this mean in real terms?

The 2008 scheme is sadly a fund of last resort.  In essence this means that someone aged 37 and under who is unfortunate enough to develop mesothelioma – and these are rare – would receive £90,097. A person aged 77 or over would receive £13,998.

The payments under the Pneumoconiosis Act scheme are similar. Neither represent what a common law claim or a claim under the 2014 scheme are worth.

So why are you making a fuss about this?

All mesothelioma victims suffer the same symptoms whether they are a younger or older, male or female. It is an awful disease. Life expectancy from diagnosis is about 12 months and is often shorter. The families of the victim see them suffer terribly due to the cancer.

In our view ALL Mesothelioma victims should be compensated the same. None of them planned to get mesothelioma and none of them suffer any less because they are less clear about how they were exposed or if that company is still around.

Whilst there has recent cases improving the court’s approach to mesothelioma victims there are still people dying who are not getting full compensation. Still to many of the 2600 victims each year die with very little benefits or compensation.

The sums that are paid under the government schemes, whilst welcome, still represent a massive underpayment from what someone could realistically achieve particularly for those be below retirement age.

Asbestos Cancer Schemes – What can be done?

In our opinion the Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2014 should be extended. It should include all those who cannot otherwise make a common law claim for compensation.

Even those that have to use the 2008 scheme because “they fall through the cracks” should be included. The extra numbers of claimants could then be put through that scheme and at least would receive something closer to full compensation.

Howard Bonnett, Manager of Corries’s asbestos to team commented

” I say again that whilst increases into Government schemes year by year are welcome there MUST be a wholesale look at how asbestos mesothelioma victims are compensated.  There is no reason why, for a few additional million pounds paid by levy, that all victims cannot be treated equally.  They’ll suffer the same disease – surely they deserve the same compensation.”

Corries Asbestos team are here for you. If you have been affected by asbestos disease in the last three years call our team. A FREE no obligation chat may get you the compensation you deserve. Call us NOW on 0800 783 7839.