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Final deadline looms for compensation claims from ex-miners and their families

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 11 December 2003

MINERS, their widows, or their dependants who feel they are due compensation over ill health caused by respiratory disease now have only three months in which to make a claim.That is the warning today from Norman Geddes, senior director at Ayr solicitors Frazer Coogans. He said: “Many widows and families of miners simply do not realise that they may be able to claim compensation for their late husband or father’s death. Although Ayrshire had a substantial mining industry, to date only 4,376 claims have been registered in Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley and Ayr.”

The cut-off date for the British Coal respiratory disease scheme is 31 March 2004.

The scheme is designed to help families of miners who have suffered from chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and applies equally to former miners who are still alive and to the families of those who have died.

The scheme is open to miners who worked for at least two years anytime after 1949 and their dependants.

It has been estimated that as many as 75% of eligible claimants may not yet have registered their claim, but the true number cannot be accurately measured. However it is obviously vital that all those who feel that they might have a case seek advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.

Successful claimants to date have received sums ranging from £500 to as much as £200,000.

It is essential that all those former miners and their families who are yet to claim, contact a solicitor in order to lodge their claim as soon as possible.

The government is proud of the fact that the coal health compensation scheme is the largest personal injury scheme in British history.

It says around £2.5m a day is paid out in compensation for respiratory and vibration related diseases.

The closure means that no new claims will be processed under the scheme after 31 March 2004.

The compensation scheme came about after a court case in 1998, British Coal was found negligent in relation to lung diseases, many of which are caused by prolonged exposure to coal dust.

The liabilities of British Coal transferred to the DTI under the terms of the Coal Industry Act 1994.In 1997, Norman Geddes of Frazer Coogans Solicitors, Ayr set up in Miller Road, Ayr in order to assist injured people to pursue their claims.

The Centre is headed up by Angus Logan, who is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Claims and is the Scottish Secretary of the Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL). Both Norman Geddes and Angus Logan are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), and both have more than twenty years experience each of dealing with personal injury claims.

Angus Logan said “It is essential that all families of former miners should consider urgently whether they wish to claim and then contact a solicitor with experience in this field for advice. Most solicitors will not charge for this advice unless the claim is successful and then the costs will be paid under the claim scheme”.

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