Cameron vows to review compensation for veterans suffering asbestos-related disease

cameron

With a large number of sufferers and around 2,500 deaths each year, mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Caused by exposure to asbestos dust, this form of lung cancer is often seen in retired industry workers and those who served in the war. The disease often arises decades after the initial exposure.

So why is it, then, that the current compensation for veterans with mesothelioma is nearly £150,000 less than others would receive?

This question was addressed to our own Prime Minister recently. Labour MP Dave Anderson challenged PM David Cameron not long after The Independent made clear just how drastic the gap in compensation was, which also prompted former military chiefs and service charities to demand action.

Current laws protect the Ministry of Defence from being sued for compensation for any illness or injury caused before 1987. Due to mesothelioma appearing decades after initial exposure, this leaves those currently suffering with the disease dependent on a much smaller war pension.

The government’s current compensation scheme for civilians sees a 63-year old receive a lump sum of £180,000, while those suffering from mesothelioma typically receive just £31,000 a year.

However, the Prime Minister is set to review how mesothelioma sufferers are compensated, in news that has been widely well-received.

Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion. stated that the gap in compensation “is a clear breach of the Armed Forces Covenant. We look forward to the government coming forward with a solution soon.”

Rhod Palmer, a 62-year-old retired commodore, was diagnosed with mesothelioma earlier this year. He stated that “It would be terrific if the Prime Minister brought his full weight to bear on the subject and ensured that Service sufferers of mesothelioma, current and not just future claimants, would be properly compensated and not disadvantaged in comparison to civilian victims of asbestos.”

Fred Minall was a mechanical engineer in the Royal Navy between 1957 and 1965. Another sufferer of the disease, he said that “People who are currently suffering this dreadful disease have served the Country, they deserve to be treated like all citizens and they should not be left in the knowledge they will probably die before the Government will do the honourable thing.”

Such suffering further highlights the urgency of a review of the compensation scheme, as does a quote from Madeleine Moon MP, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee: “Sadly time is not on the side of those who were exposed to asbestos. The PM must give a firm commitment to bring RN personnel into the same compensation scheme as civilians.”

We can only agree strongly with such sentiments here at Trident Surveying. The dangers of asbestos exposure are all too real, which is why we are dedicated to providing reliable and professional asbestos surveying. We provide a wide range of services, including asbestos awareness training and asbestos air testing.

Leeds man dies following asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure

In another sad news story indicating just how important asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Leeds Newcastle, Teesside and other major UK conurbations remain for the protection of future generations of workers, a law firm is appealing for contact from former colleagues of a Leeds carpenter who died of cancer more than four decades after breathing in asbestos dust.

Terry Ellis of Seaccoft died last June at the age of 72, just three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, the deadly cancer of the lung lining. According to Irwin Mitchell lawyers, the grandfather-of-17 pinpointed two companies where he came into contact with asbestos in the 1960s.

Those two firms were the building company George Wimpey, where he worked as a carpenter between 1961 and 1966, and the now-defunct John Atkinson and Sons Ltd, a roofing contractor for which he worked from 1966 to 1970.

Now, encouragement is being given to any former workmates who can provide additional information about Mr Ellis’s work at these two companies.

Mark Aldridge, an Irwin Mitchell solicitor specialising in industrial disease cases and representing Terry’s widow, commented: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable and terminal cancer. It causes victims and their families so much distress and is so often caused by exposure during the working life of the victim.

“Unfortunately, Terry was no longer in contact with his former colleagues who he worked with in the 1960s, so we need people who worked with him to come forward and tell us about his exposure to asbestos and what measures, if any, were taken to protect him and other employees from the dangers of asbestos.”

Mr Ellis’s widow Maureen, 60, said: “It was absolutely heart-breaking to watch Terry deteriorate so quickly after his mesothelioma diagnosis. When we married in 2004 we had hoped to have a long and happy life together. We never thought that there was a spectre such as this in his past employment.”

Those with information that could help are advised to contact Mark Aldridge at Irwin Mitchell by emailing mark.aldridge@irwinmitchell.com or calling 0113 394 6757.

We have extensive expertise in management of the lethal substance here at Trident Surveying, and can therefore provide asbestos surveys in Birmingham, Yorkshire, Sunderland or elsewhere, when and where required at your own organisation’s workplace.

 

 

New Asbestos Awareness Initiative

Asbetsos awareness

 

Report prompts government’s new asbestos awareness initiative

A new survey conducted by Censuswide for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has further affirmed the importance of asbestos surveying by shedding light on the often misunderstood dangers and prevalence of asbestos exposure, prompting a new safety campaign geared towards fighting the danger and increasing employee awareness.

The initiative was launched by Health and Safety Minister Mark Harper, who has stated: “The number dying every year from asbestos related-diseases is unacceptably high. Despite being banned in the construction industry, asbestos exposure remains a very serious risk to tradespeople. This safety campaign is about highlighting the risks and easy measures people can take to protect themselves.”

The survey uncovered the fact that tradespeople working in fields such as interior decoration, construction, carpentry and many more were being exposed to asbestos more than one hundred times a year, and that their awareness of its prevalence and dangers was shockingly rudimentary.

Disclosing the pervasiveness of such myths as the idea that opening windows and drinking a glass of water would offer such tradespeople substantial protection, the research reported that less than one third of individuals polled could identify the correct safety measures for working around asbestos.

More than half were reported to make potentially fatal mistakes while believing themselves to be acting correctly. It was ultimately concluded that a shocking average of 20 tradespeople succumb to asbestos related diseases every week. The number of people suffering from asbestos-related disabilities is sure to be just as concerning.

The asbestos surveying services provided by Trident Surveying exist to minimise the personal, financial, and legal risks for you and your employees. Asbestos can be found in a host of household areas, and fibres can be easily disturbed by basic work. Once breathed in, these fibres can have lethal results, causing diseases like lung disease and mesothelioma – an aggressive cancer of the chest cavity, outer lung, and abdominal insides.

Asbestos exposure profoundly threatens the health of you and your employees. With increased governmental input aiming to improve public awareness, the legal costs of failing to protect employees is set to grow and grow, meaning that both your firm’s financial and physical wellbeing could be at risk. Contact Trident Surveying to organise your asbestos surveying today, in order to protect yourself for tomorrow.

 

 

 

Damages ruling means continuing status quo for asbestos claims

asbestos compensation

Asbestos surveying companies like Trident Surveying have always played an important role in fulfilling their clients’ moral, financial and legal obligations with regard to any asbestos fibres that may be present in their premises and therefore pose a risk to their employees and the wider public. For such client companies, a recent High Court ruling is a significant confirmation of the legal status quo with regard to damages arising from asbestos claims.

With exposure to asbestos a frequent cause of the aggressive cancer mesothelioma, many of those diagnosed take legal action against their past employers or the employer’s insurance company. However, the legal situation surrounding asbestos claims looked set to change after the 2013 passage into law of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), which shifted the responsibility for legal costs from the losing party to the claimant.

 

Although people with mesothelioma were exempt from the new rules until the completion of a full review of the implications on this claimant group, the Government has since said that this review took place at the end of last year, and that mesothelioma sufferers would now be subject to the same rules. However, the review was slammed as “a bag of a fag packet review” by the Asbestos Support Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK, which took legal action against the Government.

The honourable Mr Justice William Davis sided with the asbestos victims in their challenge to Justice Secretary Justice Grayling’s proposal to allow the use of 25% of the damages awarded to mesothelioma sufferers for the payment of legal insurance premiums and costs. Ruling these attempts to deduct costs from damages as unlawful, the judge commented: “The issue is whether the Lord Chancellor conducted a proper review of the likely effect of the LASPO reforms on mesothelioma claims… I conclude that he did not.”

Doug Jewell, from the Asbestos Support Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK, said to the BBC News website: “We are very happy indeed. This lifts the burden of fear from thousands of mesothelioma sufferers. People ask about legal action because they want to look after their families after they’ve died, but they’re scared by the legal fees.

“Now they’re told they’re safe, it won’t cost you anything, and they can take action and provide for their families.”

The Ministry of Justice, meanwhile, expressed disappointment with the ruling, commenting: “Mesothelioma is an awful condition which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time, and we want to help sufferers and their families. We are committed to finding the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly.

“It remains our view that the Ministry of Justice review of this issue was conducted fully and openly and we are disappointed with this judgment. We will now consider our next steps.”

As one of the leading asbestos surveying companies, Trident Surveying will keep you and your organisation up to date on the latest legal situation concerning asbestos claims.

 

 

 

 

 

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