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Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire, of Thompsons has welcomed Government plans to streamline compensation for mesothelioma sufferers.

The proposals mean that anyone with mesothelioma will be able to make a claim, regardless of how they contracted the deadly disease. And they can expect to receive substantial payments within six weeks of making their claim.

When the changes are implemented the wives and daughters of Clydeside shipyard workers who contracted mesothelioma from the dust on their husband or father’s overalls will be able to claim compensation, as happened in a recent English case.

Mr Maguire said: “These changes recognise that it is not only those whose employment exposed them to asbestos, and ultimately mesothelioma, who have a right to compensation.

“This dreadful disease can also strike those who were exposed to asbestos dust simply by coming into contact with a loved one who, as happened so often in the Clydeside yards would come home with their work clothes covered in the stuff.

“We also welcome the proposals to fast track payments to all sufferers. Time is precious to anyone with mesothelioma.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions John Hutton set out the proposals to provide faster compensation to all people diagnosed with mesothelioma at a special one-day summit conference on the disease.

Currently only people who contract the disease from exposure to asbestos at work are eligible to claim a lump sum from the state. The proposals would provide up-front financial support (within six weeks) to people who were previously not eligible, including those who were:

  • exposed to asbestos from a relative (e.g. from their overalls)
  • exposed to asbestos environmentally (e.g. lived near a factory using asbestos)
  • self-employed; and
  • those who can’t trace their exposure to asbestos.

John Hutton said: “No amount of money will ever make up for the suffering and loss to individuals and families caused by mesothelioma.

“But no-one should have to worry that they or their family will have to wait years before they see a penny of compensation. Especially as in many of these cases people do not have years to wait.

“That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that everyone with mesothelioma can receive compensation, irrespective of their employment history.

“This legislation would mean that once diagnosed, every sufferer should receive a substantial payment within six weeks of making a claim.”

The news comes hard on the heels of the Scottish Parliament passing The Relatives’ Rights to Compensation (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill which removes the horrible dilemma facing victims who had to choose between claiming compensation for themselves at the expense of their families, or not claiming so their families could claim after their deaths.

Frank Maguire won widespread praise during the Parliamentary debate which finalised the new legislation for his part in campaigning for the change, including drafting the private members bill which formed the basis of the new Act.

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