TUC support Thompsons Solicitors’ campaign, Justice for Asbestos Families10 September 2007
Compensation for Bereavement
A campaign to achieve justice for asbestos families in England and Wales has been backed by the TUC (Trades Union Congress).
The TUC is supporting Thompsons Solicitors’ campaign, Justice for Asbestos Families, which highlights the injustice in the way compensation for bereavement is awarded to families who have lost a relative to mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.
The campaign comes after it was revealed families in England and Wales are receiving tens of thousands of pounds less in compensation than their Scottish counterparts.
It highlights an injustice in the way compensation for bereavement is awarded to families who have lost a relative to mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.
In England and Wales the level of compensation is set at £10,000 by law and is only payable to the spouse of the deceased. In Scotland payments up to £30,000 have been made to bereaved widows.
Not only widows but other family members in Scotland also receive bereavement compensation of between £10,000 to £15,000 each.
The campaign calls for a change in the way payments are assessed so families across the UK are treated equally.
Many mesothelioma sufferers were exposed to asbestos while in the workplace during the 1960s and 1970s. The disease can lie dormant for decades and once diagnosed patients have just months to live.
In the past the TUC has campaigned for asbestos victims rights including a bid to make sure victims received access to an occupational health expert.
It has also campaigned to speed up the allocation of compensation to victims and their families.
A TUC report has said asbestos will be responsible for more than 10,000 deaths a year by 2020.
The campaign has already been supported by MPs in parliament and the petition has received hundreds of signatures.
Head of Asbestos Policy
Thompsons head of asbestos policy, Ian McFall said: “We are calling for the law to be changed in England and Wales to give families the right to act against a sense of grievous injustice.”
”£10,000 is a derisory sum for the grief caused by the death of a close family member. Whole families suffer terribly when they lose a loved one to mesothelioma. They carry the emotional burden with them the rest of their lives.
“We ask congress delegates to sign the petition in support of this campaign.”
In England and Wales the amount of compensation paid to bereaved spouses is fixed at £10,000 by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
However, in Scotland the level of bereavement payments are decided by the courts and each family is considered individually. In Scotland bereavement compensation can be paid to the spouse, children, siblings, grandchildren and parents of the deceased.
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.