Victims of asbestos-related disease are to be offered a process for out-of-court compensation along the lines of the RTA Portal, under proposals to support mesothelioma sufferers announced by the Ministry of Justice today.
Mesothelioma is a condition that develops decades after exposure to asbestos and usually kills within months of diagnosis.
The proposals, which are out for consultation, would be backed by an online case management system funded by the insurance industry.
Under MoJ plans, victims will be able to settle uncontested claims with the insurers of the employers responsible for exposing them to asbestos.
Courts minister Helen Grant said: ‘The improved out-of-court process will help to ensure they can access any compensation they are due as quickly as possible.’
The prospect of faster settlements and a scheme, funded by the insurance industry, for tracing historic insurers, will be welcomed by campaigners for victims of mesothelioma.
But the government admitted in its impact assessment the benefit will also be felt by insurers, who would gain from a reduction in claimant solicitor costs and their own reduced costs.
For claimant lawyers, 'no particular benefits' are identified. The impact assessment added: 'In aggregate claimant lawyers would devote less resource to settling mesothelioma claims, i.e. would undertake less mesothelioma business. This would free up claimant lawyer resource to be devoted to other profitable activities.'
The consultation closes on 2 October.