15 September 2015
Insurance Firms Buying Off Asbestos Compensation Claims
Insurance companies are offering sufferers of early symptoms of lung diseases, such as pleural plaques and scarring of the lungs. The small print? Victims are not able to pursue another claim if they should be diagnosed with lung cancer, such as Mesothelioma.
This revelation comes as a result of warnings of insurance companies’ antics from Glasgow MSP, Bob Doris, who hosted an event for campaigners who have experience of the insurers’ scheme. Mr Doris stated, “Put bluntly my constituents are being offered relatively small amounts of cash from insurance companies to ‘buy off’ the risk of future compensation claims should sufferers develop conditions such as Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer or Asbestosis.
"Not only does the sufferer lose out financially should the more serious and often terminal condition be identified, so do their loved ones who otherwise may be compromising their own right to compensation.
"With money tight for many families, it is understandable that many will opt for a ‘full and final settlement’ and hope that a more serious condition is not diagnosed."
Mr Doris reported that some people have been offered £5,000 for pleural plaques with the option of a further second claim for later damage, and are given an alternative of £10,000 with a ‘no return’ clause.
A given example from Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Community Safety, showed a provisional settlement of £6,000 for pleural plaques and a full and final settlement of £15,000 including £9,000 for the “risk of further damage.”
Having worked with many victims and families of people affected by asbestos-related diseases, it is troubling to say that no-one can say when the number of claims for Mesothelioma patients seeking compensation as a result of exposure to asbestos will begin to decline. By nature, it can be several decades from a person’s initial exposure to asbestos before the symptoms of Mesothelioma manifest for doctors to be able to make a diagnosis. Because of this, of great concern is the number of people that may opt for the ‘buy-out’ offer from insurance companies, thinking it an appealing amount of money. The reality is that asbestos compensation claims assist with the costs to be expected when someone is diagnosed with asbestos-related lung diseases and Mesothelioma – something the one-off sum insurance firms are offering would not cover. This can include everything from medical costs to living costs if a sufferer is unable to work.
Karyn McPhee is a Personal Injury Lawyer for Slater and Gordon.
If you or a family member has suffered from an Asbestos-related cancer or disease call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.
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