Today (Friday 5 July) is Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD) 2013. Each year hundreds of people gather in cities across the UK to raise awareness of mesothelioma, to call for better treatment and care for sufferers and to prevent exposure to asbestos, both here in the UK and in developing countries.
Caused by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma is the most serious asbestos related condition. A cancer of the cells which line the internal organs, often the lungs, mesothelioma symptoms can include breathlessness and chest or back pain. With no known cure, mesothelioma has a serious impact on life expectancy.
Widely used in a range of industries and buildings from schools to residential properties, offices to warehouses from the 1940’s onwards, exposure to asbestos often goes unnoticed. With many believing themselves to have had little or no exposure until the illness develops in later life a generation of workers have been negligently exposed to asbestos at work and have gone on to become ill, or even died as a result.
Currently there are around 2,000 – 2,500 cases of mesothelioma in the UK each year (not to mention other related asbestos related conditions such as asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening and lung cancer), most of who are entitled to claim compensation.
Earlier this year the Queen set out the details of the Mesothelioma Bill before Parliament. The bill sets to:
- Establish a payment scheme for people with diffuse mesothelioma where their employer or employer’s liability insurance company cannot be traced, and make provision about the resolution of certain insurance disputes.
- Make payments funded by a levy on live employers’ liability insurers and follow consultations and agreements with the insurance industry, claimant lawyers and claimant representatives
- Allow roughly 3,500 mesothelioma sufferers to claim compensation of approximately £355 million in payments even if they cannot trace a liable employer
- Correct an insurance market failure where insurers failed to keep adequate records of employers liability insurance when exposure took place
- Fund the scheme by a levy on insurers to pay the extra cash over and above the £200 million the industry already pays in compensating sufferers.
- Allow anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma since July 25th 2012 to make a claim
Many however believe the Bill in its current form to be unfair and punitive, imposing arbitrary deadlines on already vulnerable people and depriving them of vital compensation. However an Early Day Motion (EDM) published last month, and supported by a number of MPs does provide some hope. The EDM calls for the immediate withdrawal of the July 2012 cut of point on the grounds that it would exclude 50% of asbestosis victims in the UK.
The importance of compensation for suffers of mesothelioma simply can’t be underestimated. It can help provide specialist medical treatment and make life as normal as possible for victims and their families.
In Manchester, Action Mesothelioma Day will take place at 12.30.p.m. at Lincoln Square, on Brazennose Street, opposite the Town Hall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org