January 18, 2019

Asbestos NHS costs law overruled

BBC News – Asbestos NHS costs laws overruled by Supreme Court

AM Mick Antoniw says he is ‘absolutely gutted’ by the rejection of the bill

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Firms in Wales whose staff are treated for asbestos-related illnesses will not be ordered to reimburse the NHS.

The Supreme Court agreed with insurers who claimed an assembly law passed in 2013 was outside its competence.

The court said Welsh ministers had no right to impose charges to fund the NHS, and insurers should not be given extra liabilities for asbestos exposure which long predated the bill.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) welcomed the judgement.

“The Welsh Bill would have seen increased insurance premiums for Welsh businesses but no extra compensation for mesothelioma sufferers,” said a spokesperson.

“The insurance industry remains committed to doing all it can to help the victims of this terrible disease and would be happy to work constructively with the Welsh Government on this issue, as it does on other public policy.”

‘Clarity’ call

Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw, who first proposed the bill, said he was “gutted” at the ruling, having predicted the measure could have raised £1m a year for the NHS in Wales.

The bill had been referred to the Supreme Court by the Welsh government’s Counsel General Theodore Huckle following objections from the insurance industry.

Lung scan showing cancerThe law could have raised £1m a year for the health service, Mr Antoniw claimed

The Welsh government said it would give “careful consideration to this judgment”.

Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler called for “greater clarity” so everyone understood what laws the assembly could pass.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled in favour of the assembly on changes to local government by-laws and the re-establishment of the Agricultural Wages Board which had been abolished by the UK government.

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Asbestos NHS costs law overruled

Asbestos review 'unsatisfactory'

The Government has been criticised for its approach to compensation for asbestos sufferers and urged to hold a fresh consultation.

The Justice Select Committee said the coalition’s approach had been “unsatisfactory” and that a review had not been conducted in an even handed manner.

In a critical report, the MPs expressed surprise that the Government had concluded a heads of agreement with the insurance industry without disclosing details to other parties.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleural lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

There were over 2,200 deaths from mesothelioma in 2011 and the number of cases is expected to continue increasing before peaking towards the end of the decade.

The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK has complained that cancer sufferers face being charged up to 25% of their awarded damages to pay for their legal costs as well as legal insurance premiums because of new legal provisions.

The select committee said the government’s review of claims was not prepared in a thorough and even-handed manner.

Chairman Sir Alan Beith said: “We listened carefully to views on both sides of an emotive and polarised debate about the process of claiming compensation for this terrible disease, caused by exposure to asbestos.

“We have concluded that the Government’s approach has been unsatisfactory on a number of counts.”

The committee said a heads of agreement was made between the Government and the Association of British Insurers, adding that the coalition was not open or transparent about the existence of the document.

Sir Alan added: “It was a surprise to us that the government concluded a heads of agreement, however informal its status, with parties on one side of the argument about mesothelioma.

The provisions of this document, which remained undisclosed to other interested parties, have shaped the Government’s approach to this issue, and we are concerned that the G overnment appears to have had no intention of supplying us with this document as part of our inquiry.”

Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: “The Justice Committee’s findings should be welcomed be anyone who believes in fairness for asbestos victims.

“The Government has been caught in bed with the insurance industry.

“The Government’s proposals were the latest in a long line of policies where they have backed the insurance industry against the victims of asbestos, whose health has been damaged through no fault of their own.”

Daniel Shears of the GMB union said: ” The original consultation was clearly flawed and it’s absolutely right to look again at this as quickly as possible.

“In particular the behind the scenes deal done between the ABI and the Government flew in the face of an open consultation and we should thank the committee for bringing this shady backroom deal to light.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Justice Committee is right to criticise the shoddy deal done between the insurance industry and the Government. Victims of this terrible and fatal illness deserve proper and swift recompense.

“We hope that the Government will urgently accept the recommendations of the Justice Committee and do the right thing for the victims of mesothelioma, 2,500 of whom die each year as a result of exposure to asbestos through their employer’s negligence.”

James Dalton, assistant director, head of motor and liability, Association of British Insurers, said: “While insurers did not cause mesothelioma, the industry has always been open and transparent on its commitment to help as many mesothelioma claimants and their families as possible. We make no apologies for negotiating with government a scheme, paid for by insurers, that will compensate an extra 3,000 sufferers over the next 10 years, who would otherwise go uncompensated.

“Significantly, this report raises the issue of high legal costs in mesothelioma claims, citing an average legal cost of £20,000 for every mesothelioma claim in England and Wales. Excessive legal costs mean higher insurance premiums for all employers, and clearly claimant lawyers need to answer to why they do not support lower legal costs.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “We have long campaigned for justice for mesothelioma sufferers. But with a short and painful life expectancy the last thing sufferers and their families need are extra costs.

“The changes the Government tried to impose would have a detrimental impact on mesothelioma sufferers. It’s the negligence of past employers that has condemned these workers. It is only right employers should pay.”

Paul Glanville, a specialist mesothelioma lawyer at Slater & Gordon, said: ” We should not be making it harder for mesothelioma victims to claim the compensation to which they are entitled.

“Implementing these rules will have this effect. The Government promised a review before taking these steps. This has not taken place. Hopefully in the light of the findings the Government will take very seriously the calls from the victims and confirm that these rules will not apply to mesothelioma cases.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Mesothelioma is an awful condition which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time and we want to help sufferers and their families. We are considering the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly.

“We will consider the report’s recommendations and respond in due course.”


Asbestos review 'unsatisfactory'

Asbestos cost bill passed by Senedd

Original post:  

Asbestos cost bill passed by Senedd

Asbestos Lawyer Discusses Asbestos & Smoking as Causes of Lung Cancer

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 31, 2013

Jerome H. Block, a nationally-recognized asbestos attorney and partner at Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP (LPK), a renowned personal injury and wrongful death law firm, with offices in New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, has recently published an article where he discusses the synergetic effect of having a history of asbestos exposure and smoking cigarettes.

In his article, the asbestos lawyer references several studies conducted by top pulmonology experts where they found that asbestos workers were about 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer as compared to people who had not been exposed to asbestos*. He also comments on a 1986 OSHA study** that found that asbestos exposure contributes to almost 80% of lung cancer deaths even among workers who also smoked.

According to Jerome Block, countless lung cancer victims and their family members are unaware of the dangerous connection between asbestos and smoking. If the victim had a long smoking history, the cause of the lung cancer is often erroneously written off as solely the result of the victim’s smoking history. Even in cases where the victim was a non-smoker, the family is often unaware of a possible asbestos connection and, by doing nothing, jeopardizes their right to pursue a legal action.

Asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers at LPK have represented people in lung cancer and mesothelioma cases for more than 25 years and have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts and settlements in asbestos-related cases. The firm is experienced in lung cancer cases where both asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking were a cause. LPK is also one of the only asbestos litigation firms to have also won lung cancer cases against tobacco companies.

Based on its track record of success, LPK was recently named the Plaintiff Product Liability Law Firm of the Year for 2013 by U.S. News and World Report.

Asbestos lawyers at LPK are educated on the legal and medical aspects of lung cancer and mesothelioma, and use this expertise in the prosecution of such cases. To speak with an asbestos lawyer at LPK, call 24/7 at 1-800-637-6529 or submit an online inquiry at http://www.lpklaw.com. The firm provides FREE initial consultation and handles asbestos cases on a contingency basis.

  • Mortality from Lung Cancer in Asbestos Workers by Richard Doll, British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1955, 12, 81 (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1037613/?page=1);

** Occupational Exposure Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite and Actinolite, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), June 20, 1986, 51 FR 22612-01, 29 C.F.R. 1910, 1926 (osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=federal_register&p_id=13570).

Originally posted here: 

Asbestos Lawyer Discusses Asbestos & Smoking as Causes of Lung Cancer