Plans to speed up claims process

Lady JusticeSufferers of a deadly industrial disease are to benefit from faster legal processes under new proposals unveiled today.

Courts minister Helen Grant said fresh plans would see an out-of-court process set up to help settle compensation claims for victims of mesothelioma - a condition which often develops decades after the sufferer has been exposed to asbestos but usually kills within months of being diagnosed.

Proposals, which are out for consultation, would be supported by a new online case management system funded by the insurance industry.

Around 2,200 people die from mesothelioma in the UK each year.

Ms Grant said: "Mesothelioma is an awful condition which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time and we want to do everything we can to help sufferers and their families.

"The improved out-of-court process will help to ensure they can access any compensation they are due as quickly as possible."

The proposals would enable victims, or their lawyers, to quickly settle uncontested claims with the insurers of the employers responsible for exposing them to asbestos.

A similar process has been used in recent years to speed up claims for compensation for injuries suffered in road accidents.

The new system will be used for cases where the victim knows where they had been working when they were exposed to asbestos.

Other measures are being put in place by the Department for Work and Pensions to support mesothelioma sufferers who cannot trace the employer responsible for them being exposed, or their insurer.

These are contained in the Mesothelioma Bill progressing through Parliament.

The consultation runs to October 2.