West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes is leading the way for change to end an injustice imposed on people with asbestos-related lung cancer.
“People who have lung cancer because they were exposed to asbestos at work are denied the full and fair compensation they need unless they can track down all the responsible former employers,” said Mr Docherty-Hughes, who has tabled an Early Day Motion to gather support from fellow parliamentarians on the issue.
“It can take many years for lung cancer to manifest after someone is exposed to asbestos, meanwhile the companies which exposed them disappear and insurance records are lost. Tracing them can be an impossible task. It leaves people without full compensation to provide the care and support they need to help them cope with their illness,” he explained.
“The Government could introduce legislation to reflect what is already in place for sufferers of mesothelioma, a strikingly similar asbestos-related cancer, who can recover full compensation from any one responsible employer in these circumstances,” said Mr Docherty-Hughes.
Mr Docherty-Hughes is supporting a campaign by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum (AVSGF) for a change in the law.
“The importance of full compensation, and the need for it to be provided to the victim quickly, cannot be overstated,” said industrial disease specialist lawyer Daniel Easton from APIL.
“The Government recognised this in 2006 when it changed the law to allow sufferers of mesothelioma to receive full and fair compensation, even when not all negligent employers could be traced. But people with an asbestos-related lung cancer diagnosis, which is often difficult to distinguish from mesothelioma, suffer financially, sometimes very severely,” explained Mr Easton.
“This issue only affects a small number of people but it is grossly unfair, and the impact on those individuals and their families can be devastating.
“The difference in the way the law treats people with these two almost identical diseases is conspicuous. Change is long overdue,” he said.