The Department of Work and Pensions has announced thousands of people with serious industrial diseases who miss out on compensation because they cannot trace their employers' insurance records will soon be able to obtain redress through a new Employers' Liability Tracing Office and Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau.
The Employers' Liability Tracing Office will help people track down their employers' liability insurance policies and the Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau will provide a fund of last resort for those who are unable to trace them.
The proposed tracing office will incorporate an electronic database of employers' liability insurance policies, which should make it easier to track down these records and improve the existing tracing service.
The Government has begun a consultation to consider how the tracing office could be best managed and funded. It will also look at the scope of help that could be provided by an employers liability insurance bureau, the timing of claims and how much compensation could be paid. In addition, it will examine what more employers can do to meet their obligations to maintain employers' liability compulsory insurance.
Announcing the plans, Work and Pensions Minister William McKenzie said:
"Far too many people suffering from serious industrial diseases are unable to trace their insurance polices and get the compensation they deserve.
"That is why we want to set up a better tracing service with a dedicated database to help them track down these policies, and a fund of last resort if all else fails.
"We will continue to work with insurance bodies, trade unions and campaign groups to ensure all those affected get the help they need."
Where a person is injured or made ill through their work, as a result of the employer's negligence they would normally claim civil damages from the employer.
However, a number of people have been unable to trace their employers' liability insurance policy and make a claim. This is because some industrial diseases only appear decades later when employers may have ceased trading or they may have not kept old insurance records or lost them.
A voluntary Code of Practice for tracing Employers' Liability insurance policies, set up in 1999 has led to some improvements, but many individuals are still left without help.
** Information & Advice **
If you've been injured at work or suffer from an industrial disease, you may want to speak with a solicitor to obtain advice about how to obtain compensation. You can find a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.