26 Nov 2013
The reason for this is likely to be the widespread use of asbestos in the ship building industry.
The disease can take 30-40 years to develop and this often causes difficulties in identifying the correct insurance company, given the period of time that has elapsed since exposure. The government is in the process of introducing legislation changing the way in which claims are brought. A new government fund is being proposed that would pay the sufferer 75% of the value of the claim if the Defendant insurer cannot be traced. A new web-based system is also being considered to speed up the process. There is controversy as to the benefits of such change. James Bedford supports an alternative proposal that would set up a specialist court devoted to asbestos-related claims as this would ensure speedy and informed justice.
Awards for pain and suffering range from £51,500 to £92,500, depending on the duration and severity of the symptoms. Claims can also be made for care and assistance provided to the sufferer by relatives and dependants. There are some life prolonging treatments available to sufferers, but often their main concern is to ensure future financial support and assistance for their family and loved ones.
A recent study suggested that there would be a spike in deaths in 2016 as workers in the UK were exposed for longer periods to brown asbestos (amosite) than in other countries during the 1980s. Expertise in diagnosis has improved so doctors are now more likely to accurately identify cases of mesothelioma. A conclusive diagnosis of the disease is essential to making a successful claim. The focus then shifts to obtaining the necessary evidence to positively identify the correct defendant. Tragically, it appears that such claims will be around for the next 20 years or so as results of the dormant disease continue to come to light.