What is the average mesothelioma settlement amount?
By Helen Childs. 14th March 2014
The introduction of the new Mesothelioma Bill will allow mesothelioma victims to claim compensation for their devastating disease from a central pot of money when they are unable to trace their employer / insurers where the exposure to asbestos occurred.
To inform the payment calculations for this bill the Department of Work and Pensions needed to estimate the average civil compensation for work related mesothelioma. Using these figures they have decided payments will be 80% of this average civil compensation amount taking into account the administration costs of the scheme.
Some data regarding the average claim amount was available to the DWP from 2008 when the Association of British Insurers (ABI) conducted a survey of 363 claims from the 5 insurers (Alliance, Aviva, Axa, RSA and Zurich) who jointly cover half the claims.
They wanted a more current and independent study and so in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice they commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to undertake a robust study to provide estimates of mesothelioma settlement levels and legal costs.
They looked at various parameters including average compensation level by age; average claimant legal costs; was litigation involved; was victim alive or not at date of award; by year.
Of the 4216 work related mesothelioma claims recorded between 2007 and 2012 in the private sector (i.e. non NHS, education etc) some 3477 cases were selected for inclusion in the study which took place in 2013. A total of 43 organisations (mainly defendent solicitors and insurance companies) were contacted for information. Only 25 / 43 organisations responded providing 2334 cases. 2076 cases were finally included in the study where total compensation paid was reported.
The total value of compensation awarded to the claimant was taken as the amount of damages paid plus any amount repaid to the CRU Compensation Recovery Unit in respect of benefit recovery. Inflation over the years was accounted for by using the annual All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) and all costs were quoted at 2012 prices.
- The demographics of the mesothelioma victims was as expected - mainly male (94.7% male vs 5.3% female) and over 65yrs of age. Only 22.7% were under 65yrs and 6.8% over 85 years.
- A similar amount of cases in the sample were settled each year apart from 2007 when only 5.8% of the sample settled.
- The average compensation ranged from £137,000 to £153,531. From the statistics section of the report the mean award was estimated at £153,531 and the median award at £136,863.
- Average legal costs ranged from £22,000 to £28,407. Legal costs rose with length of case, and were higher if court proceedings were issued and if the claimant was deceased on award.
- Average mean age of claimant was 71yrs. Compensation awarded generally fell with increasing age. Compensation declined by £3,681 for each additional year of age, on average.
- The awards tended to be higher after 2008 and were almost 60K higher in Scotland. Awards were around £14K higher on average if the claimant was still alive at the time of settlement.
The results of the study and some statistics behind it are available on the government website and to be found via the following links:
Helen is our lead solicitor and a partner at Royds Withy King Solicitors. Helen is recognised as a Leading Lawyer by the Legal 500, where she is described as an exceptional partner with a huge capacity for work and an unerring willingness to fight for her clients and an excellent knowledge of asbestos litigation.. Read more >