The number of former miners and former miners’ families in Copeland who have received compensation payments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Vibration White Finger (VWF) are shown in the following table:
COPD VWF Number of claimants who have received a damages payment 1,721 271 Miners 777 235 Families 944 36
Number of claimants who have received a damages payment
These include some claimants who have received an interim payment but the claim is not yet settled.
The number of outstanding claims for former miners and former miners’ families in Copeland for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and for Vibration White finger (VWF) yet to be resolved are shown in the following table:
COPD VWF Number of outstanding claims 595 42 Miners 135 36 Families 460 6
Number of outstanding claims
The Department has a contractual agreement to pay legal costs for claimants under the coal health compensation schemes. The costs and disbursements paid to solicitors are set out in the Claim Handling Agreement (CHA) under an agreed set of tariffs.
The Department has made considerable efforts to secure repayment of fees taken in addition to those paid under the CHA and to make claimants aware of their options if they have been charged a fee. Ultimately, this is a matter for the Regulation and Legal Complaints Boards of the Law Society with whom we continue to work to seek redress. The Department’s Compensation for Miners newsletter features advice on this issue and the Legal Complaints Service continues to advertise, receive and investigate complaints.
15,041 rheumatic disease claims have been registered by the Department since 1998.
The Department is unable to identify where “double charging” has occurred. These are essentially matters about conduct within the legal profession and the Department has no direct role, although we continue to raise awareness of the issue in conjunction with the Legal Complaints Service and others in order that proper redress can be achieved.
The average period of time taken in days to resolve a compensation claim from former miners or their families in Copeland for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Vibration White Finger (VWF) are shown in the following table:
Days COPD 959 VWF 1,322
The figures include claims settled by payment, denial, those withdrawn by solicitors and those that have been subject to strike out. Many claimants will have payments before settlement.
The number of compensation claims received from former miners and their families in Copeland for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is 2,490.
Some claims that are awarded compensation may include payment for Pneumoconiosis and this depends on certain criteria being met. However, claims made just for Pneumoconiosis do not fall within the British Coal Respiratory Disease Litigation, and are dealt with by Common Law.
The Department is fully committed to ensuring the legal process for potential compensation claims progresses quickly and will be complying with directions provided by Leeds county court on 30 April 2007. The Department will seek to ensure that unnecessary costs are not incurred so far as is it able to do so.
I received a request from the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers for a meeting in February 2006, when a group litigation order had only just been applied for. No evidence of liability had been produced and therefore a meeting at that point would have been premature.
The Government are unable to establish a compensation scheme for knee injuries without liability for those injuries being established against it. To date, such liability has not been established.