Karl Tonks, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, has promised to step up the fight for compensation for victims of accidents and industrial disease.
46-year-old Tonks has only recently taken over as president of APIL but he is leading the campaign for insurers to set up a ‘last resort fund’ to help people suffering from the affects of asbestos exposure if their employer’s insurance company cannot be traced.
It can take several years before people who have been exposed to asbestos start to show symptoms and by then insurance records have been destroyed or lost. The ‘last resort fund’ would work on a similar basis to the current system that protects people who are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
Tonks explained that people who are entitled to personal injury at work compensation cannot claim it unless they can trace their past employer’s insurer. He says the insurance industry should be able to pay these claims through an employers’ liability insurance bureau. Insurers have already received the premiums and they should accept responsibility for the problem and rectify it.
He also had harsh words for insurers who prolong the personal injury claims process unnecessarily. Our current legal system means that claims drag on for far too long, adding additional costs, which are then passed on to customers through higher premiums.
The planned reforms to the no win no fee system are going to further erode the rights of injury victims and people will find it even harder to access justice, he added.