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The Government has announced that it plans to increase payments under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) for mesothelioma victims who can’t trace their employer’s insurer from 80 to 100 percent of the average court award.
This will provide additional help to people making a claim as a result of being affected, through no fault of their own, from this invariably fatal condition.
When the Mesothelioma Bill was passed last year, the percentage of payments came under fire from MPs and campaigners. Previously, there had been payouts of only 80% of average civil claims; the amount agreed by insurance companies and the government. The U-turn by the government now means that this percentage will rise to 100%
The changes were announced by Welfare Minister Lord Freud. He said: “With this scheme, we are continuing to help the many victims and families that mesothelioma has left without financial support.”
The idea behind the government’s mesothelioma scheme is to compensate the victims of the disease where it is not feasible to trace an employer. Since the scheme began, it has not been possible for those who were diagnosed before the 25th July 2012 to make claim and this remains unchanged.
Michael Jefferies from Jefferies Solicitors, says: “It was originally intended that the DPRS scheme would cover up to 75 percent of the average award for people of a similar age. Following calls for an increase by the Asbestos Victims Support Group, requests that were supported by many MPs and members of the House of Lords; the figure was increased to 80 per cent. This extra increase to 100 per cent will make settlements to sufferers of mesothelioma fairer for both the injured person and their families. It is very unfortunate, however, that the Act only provides for payments to be made from the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme for those who were diagnosed on or after 25th July 2012.”
There is also a caveat in the new amendments that does not enable previously diagnosed mesothelioma sufferers to backdate their claims before the changes come into force.
Despite the largely positive changes, those affected by mesothelioma will no longer be able to recover from the other side either the success fee, part of their solicitor’s fees or the cost of the policy to insure any liability for the other side’s fees if they lose the case. Michael Jefferies continues: “Although the Government increased damage levels by 10 percent, in many cases this does not cover the loss of recoverability of a victim’s legal expenses from the third party.”
If you have been affected by asbestos or suffered as a result of another occupational illness or industrial disease, you may be able to claim compensation.
Published on 13th March 2015.