What is the Diffuse Mesothelioma Compensation Payment Scheme?
Workers and former workers who have been diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma can still claim compensation even if their employer has ceased trading.
Each year around 300 workers struggle to sue for damages because the employer that negligently exposed them to asbestos dust has become insolvent or insurance records have gone missing. In this situation, diffuse mesothelioma sufferers may be able to bring a claim to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS).
Who can apply?
A worker or former worker who satisfies the following requirements may bring a claim to the DMPS:
- The applicant was diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma on or after 25th July 2012
- The applicant contracted the illness through exposure to asbestos during their employment
- Exposure occurred as a result of their employer's negligence
- The applicant is unable to trace their employer or their insurance company.
Dependants of a deceased diffuse mesothelioma sufferer can also apply for compensation under the scheme. In each case, claims can only be made to the DMPS if the diffuse mesothelioma sufferer has not previously received compensation from an employer or their liability insurer in respect of the disease.
Making an application
The first step is to contact a solicitor to see if they can bring a claim against the employer or the employer's liability insurer. In most cases, the compensation awarded in a personal injury claim is higher than the compensation awarded by the DMPS.
If a claim is not possible, applicants may complete the DMPS Application Form and lodge this online or by post. While an applicant can make the claim themselves, a solicitor can help gather the necessary supporting documents such as evidence of an unsuccessful attempt to trace the employer's insurer via the Employer's Lliability Tracing Office.
Claims must be made within three years of the diagnosis and usually take around six weeks to process.
What is the payout?
Payments are calculated by reference to a payment tariff. The lump sum each applicant receives depends on their age when the diffuse mesothelioma is diagnosed, with younger sufferers receiving more compensation than older sufferers.
Successful applicants will also receive a £7,000 contribution towards legal expenses.
Deductions from the award
Certain mesothelioma-related lump sum payments and social security benefits will be deducted from the tariff payment. A solicitor can advise whether making a claim will impact the applicant's eligibility for social security benefits.
Finally, it is worth noting that DMPS compensation is intended to be a payment of last resort. If an employer or insurer is later traced and sued, DMPS compensation is deducted from the personal injury award and repaid into the DMPS scheme.