The company I worked for is long gone, can I pursue a claim?
It is common for people to have been employed by companies many years ago in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s which have since disappeared or been dissolved. We will search for the employers’ liability insurers for the period you were employed by the company. If we do manage to trace the applicable insurers, we can notify the insurers of your potential claim and obtain compensation from them.
In that case, would you sue the insurers directly?
Currently no. It may be that we can negotiate a settlement prior to the issue of proceedings, but ultimately if the insurers are not willing to negotiate, we would need to issue the claim in the Court. Current legal practice is to issue proceedings against the company that employed you and we would need to make an application to the Companies Court to formally restore your employer to the Companies Register. This is a fairly straightforward process and is usually done “on the papers” without any need for a court hearing (which you would not be required to attend in any event).
Was a company required to have employers’ liability insurance?
Companies were required to have employers’ liability insurance from 1972 onwards. We have found that often large and indeed small companies had insurance prior to this date. The difficulty is that there was no requirement for the companies to keep a record of their insurance policies. There are several ways in which we can trace insurance though, including making an application to the Employers Liability Tracing Office, contacting former directors/secretaries, going through the old company records and accounts (to see if any premiums were paid to insurers) and instructing an insurance archaeologist.
What if no insurance can be found?
If no employers’ liability insurance can be found, then you can make an application under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Act for a lump sum from the Government.
I am suffering from mesothelioma though. Surely some further compensation should be available?
Indeed! An application can be made to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2014 if you are suffering from mesothelioma. Further information can be found here. One of the criteria is that asbestos exposure must have occurred during employment where the employer is no longer in existence and no insurance can be traced. The asbestos exposure also needs to have occurred negligently.
I am suffering from mesothelioma but I do not think I was exposed during employment. Am I eligible for a court or government award?
If you believe you contracted mesothelioma through washing a loved one’s clothes, through environmental exposure or some other way, then it may still be possible to pursue a civil claim through the court provided the company is still in existence, or we know the identity of the applicable public liability insurers. The DMPS 2014 is only designed for cases of employment, but smaller government awards are available via the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2008. Please contact us for further information or visit this website. We can also advise whether it is possible to pursue claims where exposure happened during self-employment or through other means. Benefits may also be available and we recommend you contact Mesothelioma UK or we can direct you to a local support group to assist you with this.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us by email IDClaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.