More than £15 million has been paid out so far in the first seven months of a new compensation scheme for victims of diffuse mesothelioma.
However, the Department for Work and Pensions says there are hundreds more victims who may be eligible for compensation and is calling for them to come forward, estimating that £32 million could be paid out by the end of March 2015.
Diffuse mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of internal organs, such as the lungs, and almost always arises from exposure to asbestos. Life expectancy from diagnosis is eight to nine months on average.
Diffuse mesothelioma takes a long time to develop – it is sometimes 40 to 50 years after exposure before symptoms appear – which means that some workers were negligently exposed to asbestos at work but their employers are no longer in existence to make a claim against. Insurance records from the time are also often incomplete.
The new package of support – funded by the insurance industry – opened in April this year. It is designed to provide compensation for people suffering from diffuse mesothelioma, or the families of those who have died from the disease.
It is estimated that every year 300 people struggle to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records cannot be found.
The scheme is available for sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma who were diagnosed after 25 July 2012, or families of sufferers who have died, and who can’t trace a liable employer or an employers’ insurer.
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