A SUNDERLAND lawyer has welcomed a legal ruling which will allow asbestos victims to keep 100 per cent of their compensation.
Earlier this year, a Government review concluded that mesothelioma sufferers who won compensation should have to make payment towards the legal costs incurred in pursuing their claim, a move which would have led to sufferers losing up to 25 per cent of their compensation award.
But now the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK has mounted a successful legal challenge to the decision, which means 100 per cent of compensation will go to victims and their families.
Mark Thompson, of Sunderland firm Thompson & Co solicitors, said the decision would lift a huge burden from mesothelioma and their relations.
He said: “This is a common sense decision and it lifts a huge burden from those who are making a claim for damages, and for those thousands of people who have yet to develop mesothelioma and who will need to make a claim in the future.
“Where possible, victims should always receive the full damages awarded to them – the party at fault for the asbestos exposure should always be responsible for covering the resulting legal costs.”
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease caused by exposure to asbestos and is particularly rife in Sunderland because of the city’s industrial and ship-building heritage.
Nationally, as many as 2,000 new cases occur each year and the number is expected to continue to increase over the next decade. In most cases, those who have developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while at work, can make a legal claim for damages.
Mr Thompson added. “As always, we urge anybody in the North East who suspects they may have a claim against a former employer to seek expert legal help straight away.”