Law should be brought in line with Scottish approach, argues claimant law firm
Thompsons Solicitors has called on the government to increase the amount of compensation for bereavement to the families of asbestos cancer victims in England & Wales.
Thompsons, one of the UK’s leading claimant personal injury law firms, is demanding equality for families affected by asbestos in its response to a government consultation on the law on damages.
The consultation by the Ministry of Justice is aimed at improving the system for dealing with claims for compensation for personal injuries and death.
The firm calls for the government to retain the current practice which requires negligent employers and their insurers to pay compensation for bereavement.
But Thompsons is calling for the fixed bereavement award of £10,000 in England and Wales to be increased in line with payments made in Scotland.
Thompsons launched its Justice for Asbestos Families campaign earlier this year highlighting an inequality in the way compensation for bereavement is awarded to families who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.
In England and Wales the level of compensation is set at £10,000 by law and is only payable to the spouse but over the border in Scotland payments up to £30,000 have been made to bereaved widows.
Other family members in Scotland can also receive compensation of between £10,000 to £15,000 each.
Thompsons said its campaign has already been supported in parliament by a number of MPs.
In its response to the consultation paper Thompsons said that companies which have negligently caused a death must be made to "apologise" adequately and that the amount currently paid to bereaved relatives is out of date and is insulting to families.
They added that the level of bereavement damages is too low and the definition of relatives who can claim is far too narrow and should be opened up to include other family members.
Head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors Ian McFall said: “This consultation gives the government another opportunity to look again at compensation for bereavement.
"We believe strongly that there is a powerful case for a change in the law to bring compensation for bereavement into line with the amounts currently paid in Scotland.”