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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 07:01 GMT 08:01 UK
Bid to increase asbestos pay-outs
Mesothelioma on lung X-ray
Mesothelioma sufferers have a life expectancy of 14 months.
A campaign is being launched to seek greater compensation for the families of people who developed lung cancer after inhaling asbestos.

Some industrial workers contracted mesothelioma - a cancer of the lining of the lungs - which is always fatal.

In England, the levels of compensation are much lower than in Scotland and only husbands and wives are entitled to claim, not other family members.

Ian McFall, of Thompsons Solicitors, said "negligent" firms should pay more.

"The relationship between asbestos exposure and fatal lung disease has been known for many decades," he said.

The campaigners say that about 2,000 people will die from mesothelioma this year.

And, they say, an estimated 90,000 men and women will die from asbestos-related disease between now and 2020, the vast majority from workplace exposure.

'Known risk'

About 75% of the people who develop mesothelioma die within one year of diagnosis, but it can take between 20 and 40 years to develop after exposure.

Mr McFall told BBC News that those developing lung cancer now were exposed to asbestos in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

And he says the risks associated with the substance were known as early as the 1930s.

"We blame the companies who were responsible for exposing people to asbestos at a time when those companies knew, or ought to have known, that asbestos could and does cause fatal lung disease," he said.

"If the employer still exists and has the assets to meet the claim then we expect those negligent to pay the compensation. Very often the companies don't exist any more, but their insurers will have the means to meet the claims."

How Scotland makes higher payments than England

Dockers compensation claim upheld
04 Apr 07 |  Lancashire
Asbestos claim law change backed
21 Mar 07 |  Scotland
Youngsters showered with asbestos
31 Jan 07 |  North Yorkshire


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