Postcode lottery over pleural plaques23 January 2009
Victims of Pleural Plaques exposed to asbestos in Scotland will soon be able to claim compensation
Despite the House of Lords decision to end the right to compensation for pleural plaques the Scottish Parliament has published a Bill to prevent the decision from binding courts in Scotland.
The Scottish Bill, which is intended to make it possible to claim damages for pleural plaques and all other symptomless asbestos conditions will go before Parliament during the current term for its third and final stage. If passed it will then receive Royal Assent and become law in Scotland.
The news that pleural plaques sufferers exposed to asbestos in Scotland may soon receive compensation throws the delay of the announcement in Westminster into sharp relief for sufferers in the UK, many of whom worked for the same employers as their counterparts in Scotland. For example British Shipbuilders employed thousands of workers in shipyards on both Tyneside and Clydeside.
A consistent solution must be found for compensating pleural plaques
Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors which represents hundreds of people with pleural plaques said: A consistent solution must be found for compensating pleural plaques so that people in England are not disadvantaged by comparison with others from different parts of the UK who have suffered the same harm.”
Pleural plaques are scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos. Although rarely causing symptoms they are associated with an increased risk of developing fatal conditions like mesothelioma.
Thousands of people in the UK have the condition. Most were exposed to asbestos in the workplace at a time when employers were fully aware of the harmful effects and did nothing to protect workers.
Many people with pleural plaques tell of the worry and uncertainty it causes knowing that one day they may develop asbestos cancer.
Across Britain almost 2,000 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, the fatal asbestos related cancer.
Thousands of workers across the UK have been on tenterhooks since the House of Lords ended the right to compensation for pleural plaques in 2007 as a result of a test case brought by the insurance industry.
Before then average awards of between £5,000 to £15,000 were made for pleural plaques with the first successful cases being decided in 1984.
Following pressure from the unions last year the Government held a consultation looking at a number of different options to bring redress to people diagnosed with pleural plaques. The results of that consultation were expected to be revealed before Christmas but have been delayed.
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.