Miners could be due a cash payout for pit injuries

Solicitor Robert Godfrey.
Solicitor Robert Godfrey.

Thousands of former miners could be due a cash payout after being shortchanged by law firms when they claimed compensation for industrial diseases.

Solicitor Robert Godfrey is representing miners he says were left out of pocket twice in their battle to be properly compensated for injuries and illnesses like vibration white finger.

After some law firms were first exposed for withholding monies due to miners, injured workers then sued using other companies who in turn failed to properly investigate their claims, Mr Godfrey said.

Miners who worked at collieries including Ackton Hall, Frickley, South Kirkby, Denby Grange, Glasshoughton and Kinsley could be due payouts of up to £25,000.

Mr Godfrey, a partner at Leeds-based Simpson Millar Solicitors, has set up a specialist unit to help the miners.

He said: “For solicitors and claims firms to be paid for doing a bad job is disgraceful. These miners have been let down from start to finish.

“It’s scandalous that people can be treated in such a way. These were hardworking men who should have been looked after not taken advantage of.

“We estimate there are thousands of former miners in Wakefield and the surrounding areas who have been shortchanged.”

Under a government scheme more than 170,000 miners got compensation for having the condition vibration white finger, which is caused by operating hand-held machinery and leads to debilitating joint and muscle damage.

It was the most expensive compensation scheme in British legal history and made multi-millionaires of some lawyers.

But many former miners ended up being under-compensated for loss of earnings after were left unable to work and perform everyday tasks like gardening, car washing and DIY.

The TUC’s Alec McFadden said: “This is an absolute disgrace. To be let down once is bad enough but twice is unforgivable.

“Many of the miners are now very old and many will have died.

“What is required is a quick and easy scheme so that every living miner with a legitimate claim is now properly compensated.”