A new fund has been established in the United Kingdom specifically for those victims of mesothelioma who have been unable to claim damages due to the bankruptcy or disappearance of their former employers. The fund has been set up at a value of over 350 million pounds.
The decision has been hailed as a huge relief and win for thousands of victims of asbestos exposure. It is set up so that any mesothelioma victim that has been diagnosed since late July of 2012 and who has been unable to file suit against their former employer can now file a claim with the fund.
Mesothelioma is toxic cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Factory workers and those who worked in construction, shipbuilding and power generation have high risks of developing the disease.
The illness kills nearly 2,400 people in the UK every year, and that number is expected to continue to rise as more and more cases are diagnosed. Determining is a person has the illness can be difficult, as the symptoms often do not arise until years after exposure.
Many people have successfully sued and recovered damages from asbestos manufacturers and sometimes, their employers. Others have chosen not to pursue legal action because the litigation process can be so stressful, particularly for those who are struggling with such an aggressive disease. Many others simply die before being able to pursue a lawsuit. Some companies fade away before workers have a chance to sue.
For those who have fallen into these categories, the only previous remedy has been to file claims that have generally resulted in payments of under 20,000 pounds. But the new fund will allow victims and their families to receive a figure established at 75% of the average mesothelioma settlement paid in civil actions. That number is estimated at approximately 115,000 pounds.
In order to be awarded these damages, mesothelioma victims simply need to prove that they were exposed to asbestos through the negligence of their former employer and that they have been unable to recover compensation through normal channels.
It is expected that this new funding, once fully approved, will may payments to 900 people in the year 2014 and an additional 300 more each year that follows over the next nine years.