Victims to suffer if Government deregulates record keeping
Asbestos victims will find it increasingly difficult to sue employers for damages if the Government goes ahead with the deregulation of record keeping.
The Government is proposing to repeal a part of the Employers’ Liability Regulation which states that insurance policy records should be kept for a minimum of 40 years. Without these records, thousands of workers affected by diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma will be unable to make a claim as they will be unable to trace the insurer.
Victims of diseases such as those caused by asbestos, which develop years after exposure, will be most affected. In the case of mesothelioma the average development time is 30-40 years. Sarah Grogan, asbestos litigation specialist at Simpson Millar says:
"A significant percentage of our clients would not have been able to recover compensation for the asbestos related illness they had contracted, were it not for the requirement of compulsory liability insurance which enabled us to trace the insurers of their former employers. A repeal of this regulation would have a devastating effect on the ability of those suffering from serious illness to seek redress."
The decision contradicts earlier proposals made by the Government which indicated it would be committed to ensuring mesothelioma victims would receive compensation faster. Amanda Stevens, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) argued removing the regulation would ‘weaken an already creaking system of protection for workers’.
Personal injury lawyers, asbestos victims’ groups and MPs are in favour of a central database of insurers which would hold all the information to ensure victims and their families do not miss out on the money they so rightly deserve. As Amanda Stevens from APIL says:
"If a database can be set up to record all the TV licenses and car insurance policies in this country, one could most certainly be set up for injured people."
To sign our petition against the UK Government’s proposal to change the law on Employers’ insurance records click here