March 7, 2014

Withy King partner warns: terminally ill asbestos cancer sufferers will face compensation deductions

Helen Childs, Withy King partner and head of Industrial Disease team, is urging mesothelioma sufferers to submit compensation claims before the summer or face potentially significant deductions from their pay-outs.

*** Government announces new laws to take effect in July ***

The warning comes from Helen Childs, a nationally-renowned industrial diseases legal specialist based at Withy King, in the wake of the Government announcement (on the 6th March) that people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families will have to pay towards their legal costs out of compensation awarded to them after new rules are introduced in July.

Mrs Childs says there is still time for those affected by the tragic consequences of asbestos cancer to instruct lawyers to pursue compensation and recover 100 per cent of their damages before July when the new Mesothelioma Act is due to become law.

“After July, those bringing claims for compensation against former employers and their insurance companies for asbestos-related illnesses will be worse off,” explained Helen Childs, who specialises in representing people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families. “At the moment, legal fees are paid for by the defendant’s insurance company. However, when the new laws come in, terminally ill people and bereaved families will have to use some of their compensation to pay their legal fees and other costs incurred. Insurers and others in favour of the new laws argue that this is offset by expected increases to compensation pay-outs but we believe these are unlikely to be sufficient. I am particularly concerned about the impact on cases where defendant companies and their insurers refuse to settle quickly or deal with claims without going through extensive court proceedings and the victims will be expected to foot the bill.”

She continued: “It is important that anyone whose health has been affected by asbestos takes action to claim compensation sooner rather than later to preserve their full entitlement to damages. There are benefits and government payments available, as well as civil compensation. While we understand that no amount of money can ever be sufficient, it can help fund care and assistance so that desperately ill people do not have to worry about how they and their families will cope financially following their diagnosis.”

Mesothelioma is an aggressive, asbestos-related cancer. It is caused by exposure to asbestos dust, often decades earlier. It continues to rise in the UK, and affects over 3,000 people every year. It can affect people who have worked with asbestos, as well as family members who came into contact with it on their overalls and other clothing. It is also increasingly common in people who grew up near asbestos factories and those who were exposed to asbestos at school.

Asbestos use was so widespread from the 1950s to the 1980s that mesothelioma can affect people from all walks of life. It is a very cruel illness, and there is no cure.

For further information or advice, please contact Helen Childs on 01865 268 359 or 07876 805431, or email [email protected].

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