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High Court decision defends the rights of asbestos victims

Victims of asbestos related illnesses have regained their rights to receive full compensation following a decision handed down by the High Court on Thursday 2nd October.

The Government brought in legal changes in April 2013 which meant that victims of asbestos related illnesses, including mesothelioma, should pay up to 25% of their compensation to cover costs which had previously been paid by insurance companies.

The High Court ruled that the Government could not proceed with abolishing the recoverability of success fees and insurance premiums in mesothelioma cases.

The landmark decision came as a result of legal action brought against the Government on this issue by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK and is good news for victims and their families.

Symptoms of asbestos related illnesses can often take several decades to become evident with victims relying on securing compensation to cover the costs of care and other needs resulting from their avoidable illness.

The decision serves as a blow to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling who included mesothelioma victims in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO).

The Honourable Mr Justice Williams concluded that he did not think that the Justice Secretary had conducted a ‘proper review’ of the likely effect of the reforms on mesothelioma victims saying “It is now for the Lord Chancellor to carry out a proper review of the likely effects of the LASPO reforms in whatever manner he concludes will permit him reasonably to achieve the required purpose”

Following the decision Tony Whitston, chair of the UK Forum of Asbestos Support Groups, called on the Government to “see this judgment as an opportunity to take a new approach based on justice for victims and not the profits of big financial institutions.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling can appeal the decision however, the hearing is unlikely to take place before the next General Election.

Mesothelioma is a condition which can destroy not only the lives of its victims, but also that of their wider family. Linder Myers has a team of occupational disease specialists who are committed to finding the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly and we welcome the ruling which allows the recovery of 100% of the compensation needed, and deserved, by our clients.

If you are a victim of an asbestos related illness, including mesothelioma, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice from a specialist in this field in order to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

Since the LASPO Act came into effect in April 2013 there has been a notable increase in the number of law firms who previously only handled road traffic accidents and/or public liability cases now also dabbling in mesothelioma claims to increase their profits.

The cost regime for disease work other than mesothelioma is also now more favourable to general personal injury law firms with an increase of generalist PI lawyers moving into industrial disease work, particularly claims for hearing loss.

Appointing an experienced occupational disease expert provides the peace of mind that your claim is in the hands of a specialist who understands, and is able to consider, the full effects of the illness both on you and your family now and in the future to secure the right level of compensation.

Linder Myers Solicitors has one of the most experienced teams of industrial disease specialists in England and Wales.

With a range of funding options available to help you pursue a claim – including no-win no-fee arrangements – our team of specialists have secured millions of pounds worth of compensation for clients. It’s important to remember that all employers are required by law to take out employer’s liability insurance, so if your claim is successful, your compensation is paid by the insurance provider and not your employer.

You can speak to a member of our team on 0161 835 8832. Alternatively, please email a summary of your potential claim and contact details to claire.reddicen@lindermyers.co.uk

Find out more about our Occupational Disease department

Written by Jon Andrews. Find out more about Jon here. 

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