Victims could start claiming an average £115,000 by the summer

The Mesothelioma Bill has completed all its stages in both Houses of Parliament and is expected to gain Royal Assent by April.

Under the government scheme, the bill will establish a lump-sum payments scheme for sufferers of mesothelioma funded by insurers and establish guidance for the resolution of insurance disputes over the asbestos-related disease.

Victims diagnosed with the disease on or after 25 July 2012 would be eligible to receive 75% of the average compensation payout.

Around 3,500 victims of the aggressive cancer or their families will be able to claim on average £115,000, including £7,000 to cover legal expenses, as part of a £350m package. But some people who are younger could get significantly more.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said the bill is expected to gain Royal Assent by April.

He added: “By the summer people will be able to claim compensation for what are obviously devastating circumstances.”

The new package of support, funded by insurance firms, will pay nearly 900 eligible people in 2014 and 300 every year after that, until 2024. Victims or their dependents (where the sufferer has died), will receive substantially higher payments than the statutory schemes currently operated by Government.

Subject to the bill becoming law, the proposals will make it compulsory for all active employers’ liability insurers to fund a scheme to pay eligible people who contracted the disease at work, but who cannot trace a party to sue. It’s hoped that payments can be made from July 2014.

The Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning said: “This represents a major breakthrough for the many victims of this terrible disease – who have been failed by successive governments and the insurance industry for decades. It will end an injustice that has left many tragic victims and their families high and dry.

“The aggressive and terminal nature of this disease, coupled by the fact we’re approaching a peak in cases in the coming years, made it all the more important to have got this legislation passed.”

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