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Asbestos-related lung cancer sufferers are being denied full compensation due to legal discrepancies

Asbestos-related lung cancer sufferers are being denied full compensation due to legal discrepancies


This International Workers’ Memorial Day, observed on Sunday 28 April, experts in industrial diseases are raising their voices in unison, advocating for a crucial alteration in legislation

Their plea is simple: ensure that all victims of asbestos-related lung cancer, contracted in the workplace, can access complete compensation.

In the United Kingdom, asbestos remains the leading cause of workplace-related deaths, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue. Daniel Easton, an industrial disease expert from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), working in tandem with the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum (AVSGF), sheds light on the complexities victims face in obtaining rightful compensation.

"The onset of symptoms related to asbestos-related lung cancer can occur years after exposure, often spanning multiple employers responsible for the exposure. In this time frame, businesses may have ceased operations, and pertinent insurance records might have been misplaced or destroyed," explains Daniel Easton.

The crux of the problem lies in the legal framework. While the Compensation Act of 2006 allows full compensation for sufferers of work-related mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, regardless of the ability to trace all former employers, the same provision does not extend to lung cancer claims. This inconsistency, as noted by the judiciary, warrants immediate attention.

Daniel Easton emphasises, "There is absolutely no justification for treating sufferers of asbestos-related lung cancer differently. The symptoms, cause, and prognosis are akin to mesothelioma, yet victims face additional hurdles in securing compensation."

Unlike mesothelioma sufferers, who only need to locate one negligent former employer to claim full compensation, those with asbestos-related lung cancer are burdened with a time-consuming quest for records, exacerbating their plight. Easton stresses that victims of this debilitating illness deserve the same level of support and consideration afforded to mesothelioma patients.

As MPs unanimously supported the Compensation Act, recognising the imperative to aid mesothelioma victims, Easton urges policymakers to extend this support to asbestos-related lung cancer sufferers. The need for swift legislative action is evident to ensure fairness and justice for all affected individuals.

In the pursuit of workplace safety and justice, it is imperative that legal frameworks evolve to address the changing landscape of industrial diseases. Failure to act promptly not only perpetuates inequity but also prolongs the suffering of those afflicted by asbestos-related lung cancer. As we commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of all workers, past and present.