In 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT). By enabling this law, the personal information of individuals who were affected by asbestos would become a matter of public record. This also means that those individuals would be susceptible to the possibility of fraud, identity theft, especially online.
Understanding the FACT Act
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is one of the groups who is primarily pushing for the FACT Act to pass. If FACT Act were to become law, it would mean that it would deny numerous individuals affected by asbestos eligibility for filing workers’ compensation. With so many asbestos victims already being denied or receiving insufficient compensation for their illness.
Currently, both state and federal laws are respectful towards patient privacy. All lawsuits and settlements are confidential. They cannot be used for discovery nor is the information admissible in court. The FACT Act may only undo this by lacking measures to prevent asbestos exposure to employees in the future.
Some notes on the FACT Act:
- Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma to develop, a very deadly form of cancer.
- There are current measures in the laws to prevent frivolous or fraudulent workers’ comp claims.
- The General Accounting Office reported that claimants are receiving approximately 25% of the necessary compensation to recover from injuries and other losses.
The groups backing the bill believe that the FACT Act is needed to prevent frivolous lawsuits and false claims from working its way through the claims system. It is also to deter claimants from receiving more compensation than what they truly need.
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As of now, FACT Act has yet to make its way to Congress to be passed into law. There is currently a petition for asbestos victims and their families to sign that can help prevent the passage as well. As Somerville workers’ compensation lawyers, we do everything in our power to ensure our clients’ needs are met. This includes fighting for your right to receive compensation for any injuries or illnesses that occurred while you were working.