It was reported this week in the Manchester Evening news that the widow of a cancer victim has been let down by a government scheme that was meant to make compensation easier to claim. Sidney Pointon died of an asbestos-related cancer but his widow, Irene, is now struggling to get her compensation. This is due to the fact that Sidney's diagnosis was made a mere 15 days prior to the launch of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme.
Under the terms of the scheme, those victims seeking recompense from an employer who cannot be found can claim compensation from an insurance industry funded pool. Even though the scheme has assisted many victims in seeking justice, the inflexibility of it's timing criteria is leaving those such as Mrs Pointon without the compensation they should be entitled to.
For several decades asbestos was one of the most widely used products in the UK building industry and thousands of tradesmen were exposed to it before it was discovered how dangerous it actually was. Even though the use of asbestos is now subject to severe regulations and restrictions, 2000 people are being diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers every year and up to 20 are dying every week from the irreparable damage caused to their lungs by the asbestos minerals.
Another flaw in the scheme is its continuing unfair distinction between those victims whose employer's insurers are taking responsibility for having been the cause of the deadly disease and those who have nobody to fight their corners. The compensation for those victims whose ex employers cannot be found is capped, based on the average settlement at 80%. You can say that this is better than nothing but it still seems grossly unfair as it is not the victim's fault and certainly not those they have left behind.
With mesothelioma continuing to affect thousands of UK families, it must be seen as a priority for the government to reconsider the manifest injustice of the scheme and address these concerns. Employers have had a total disregard for the health of their employers and the heinous results of their negligence are now clear to see. As if this wasn't bad enough, insult is now being added to injury due to the insurance industry failing to make sure that those worst off are being properly compensated.
The general consensus is that this scheme should be changed to ensure that such people as Mrs Pointon receive the compensation they both need and deserve, rather than it continuing in its present form, which can be viewed as an insurance industry driven agenda that effectively restricts the access to justice of genuine claimants.
Solicitors firm Pannone are representing Mrs Pointon. They have made a call for common sense to prevail, by putting an end to a system that is both inflexible and unjust in order to help both Mrs Pointon and others in the same situation. Their evaluation of the current situation and call to action is fully supported by Cute Injury.
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