Your Guide To The UK’s Change To Asbestos Claims

by GDeanNorwich on May 1, 2012

On 28th March 2012 the Supreme Court announced a ruling that would mean that thousands of people across the UK could make insurance claims where a member of their family has died after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

Before this ruling, there was a great deal of confusion on claims around this subject. This is because mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses can take an extremely long time to show any symptoms – in many cases decades. This means that placing liability can be very difficult. However the new ruling by the Supreme Court has declared that liability will now rest at the time that the employee was exposed to asbestos, rather than the time that symptoms began.

This change will benefit a huge number of people around the UK who up until now have been unsure as to whether they are eligible to make a claim or not. It is now possible to claim against policies dating back to the 1940s.

In addition, the government announced just a few days ago on 24th April 2012 that asbestos claims would be exempt from changes to legislation around no win no fee arrangements. The change that will affect other no win no fee cases will prevent lawyers from being able to claim so called ‘success fees’ from the losing side. Instead, solicitors will have to take a percentage of their clients’ fees – up to a maximum of 25%. The reason for the exemption is that there is a question over whether claimants for industrial diseases should have to part with a percentage of their compensation in exchange for legal representation that they might not otherwise be able to afford without a no win no fee arrangement in place.

The government have said that they will make a further announcement on this matter in July after they have consulted on the best possible strategy. Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said, “Someone suffering this horrible disease is not making up their cancer to make a quick buck. They cannot possibly be part of the compensation culture.” The consultation will decide whether it is right for the sufferer to burden the legal costs or the “wrongdoer” as there is no uncertainty around the offender in cases surrounding asbestos exposure at work.

If you or a member of your family has an asbestos related disease or has passed away from mesothelioma, you can contact a solicitor who will be able to discuss with you the process for making a claim if you are eligible.

GDeanNorwich
Gordon Dean Solicitors from Norwich specialise in employment law, personal injury claims and wills and probate. They have offices in Norwich and Great Yarmouth so that they can easily reach the whole of Norfolk.

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