DWF head of occupational health Derek Adamson surprised at negative reaction to introduction of scheme

The Mesothelioma Bill will go a long way to redress the balance for victims of the deadly disease, DWF law firm has said.

But its head of occupational health and casualty Derek Adamson said he is surprised by the negative reaction it has received from claimant lawyers.

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.

It is now set to go before the House of Lords for consideration of amendments in its journey to attain Royal Assent.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has said the bill in its current form provides a “watered down” justice for the victims because it only offers 75% compensation.

And campaigners for victims of the disease also continue to call for the date from which mesothelioma sufferers become eligible for compensation to be backdated from July 2012 to February 2010.

But Adamson said the bill will do a lot to redress the balance for victims of mesothelioma who worked for companies of contractors that have shut down.

He added: “In view of this desirable outcome, I am surprised at the negative reaction of claimant lawyers to the introduction of this scheme.

“In many cases, the criticism levied against the insurance profession is broad, unspecified, and without justification. The key point is that insurers have not been paid a premium for the liability they are to be required to meet. It would seem the scheme will be funded by a levy paid by the current insurers.

“Absent this scheme, the victims would have to rely solely on welfare benefits and nothing more. Taking together both the scheme set up by the Mesothelioma Bill for claimants who cannot trace the relevant insurers of their employers, and the increased speed in the handling of claims from those who can, should amount to a worthwhile package of improvements for mesothelioma victims.”

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