Asbestos Compensation Rules

For those suffering from asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma, there is at least a little bit of good news. Recent changes in the law may afford additional funding from the government. This is especially good news for those patients who were not able to claim damages through their employer’s liability insurance.

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that resists heat exceptionally well but doesn’t transmit electricity. It is found as bundles of fibres in soil and rock. It was used as an insulation material in schools, homes, vehicles and more before we knew of its hazards.

In the early part of the 1900s, evidence of this material’s dangerous nature began to appear. The uncontrolled asbestos-laden dust in many workplaces was inhaled and led to scarring in the lungs of workers. In the 1930s, England began to protect workers with laws about ventilation and exhaust but ship building efforts for the war led to exposure for more and more workers.

It took until the second half of the 20th century before asbestos-related cancers garnered headlines. These cancers, like mesothelioma, take a long time to appear. While the life expectancy after diagnosis can often be as little as 6 to 8 months, it may take up to 40 years for the disease to present. After that long, many workers had long since become pensioners and could no longer claim benefits from their employer’s insurance.

A recent change to the UK Government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme will bring payments up to 100% of average civil claims from the previous 80%. This arrives as a one-off, lump-sum payment dependent upon the age of the claimant. The older you are at the time of your diagnosis, the smaller the payment will be. Beginning in mid-February, patients were able to benefit from the increased payments.

The Payment Scheme paid out more that £19m in its first 10 months. Contact your attorney to find out if you or a family member had been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer.