[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Department introduced regulations and procedures on 29 July 2002 that deem people suffering from mesothelioma to be 100 per cent. disabled from the outset. The change ensures that customers receive the maximum amount of IIDB from the earliest possible date. Procedures were also changed to remove the need for a separate examination on behalf of the Department where the disease has already been diagnosed.
These changes are in addition to the existing fast track arrangements for dealing with claims from customers suffering from other asbestos related diseases and ensure that they are dealt with maximum speed and minimum intervention from the Department.
They can also make a compensation claim under the Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 where there is no relevant employer to pursue.
In relation to civil claims for damages, the Judicial Studies Board publishes guidelines for the judiciary on the assessment of damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. These are based on decided cases and do not cover any damages that may be awarded for other elements of the claim, such as loss of earnings. The latest edition of the guidelines indicates that an award of between £45,000 and £70,000 is appropriate in mesothelioma cases.