Asbestos families campaign against compensation reform
More than 400 families affected by asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma have written to the Forum condemning the planned reforms to the way compensation claims for industrial diseases are funded.
Frederick Cameron, 72, who suffers from the disease and may have months to live, warned if the justice secretary Ken Clarke removes the principle of “polluter pays”, and makes asbestos victims pay legal costs, many will never make a claim.
According to the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum, The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, before Parliament, means victims pay up to 25% of their compensation for pain and suffering to fund their solicitors’ success fees.
It also believes victims will have to fund insurance to run their cases; and risk their savings in order to make a claim.
Cameron said: “Having been told that you are going to die is unbelievably hard. I am not an old man. Deciding to bring a claim was tough. I have worked all my life and never made a claim, you feel disloyal in a way but I don’t see why my employers should get away with giving me a death sentence.
“I am a pensioner and don’t have money for medical reports and insurance. Fortunately for me all these costs were paid by the guilty party.”
He said he feared others in the same position as him would not make a claim because of the costs.
Tony Whitson, Forum Chair said: “Innocent asbestos victims are being punished for the government’s failure to enforce the law banning illegal texts and cold-calling to solicit injury claims, perpetuating the myth that all claimants are cashing in on a so-called compensation culture.”
He called for the Government to address the “real problems and stopped scape-goating dying asbestos victims and blaming them for the costs of the litigation system.”