Asbestos victims who have developed pleural plaques have won the right to claim compensation. Insurance companies had argued that the plaques are not an illness and have absolutely no ill-effects on health.
In 2009, The Scottish parliament passed the Damages Act, which gave victims of asbestos-caused pleural plaques the right to claim compensation for their condition. But the insurance industry has since been fighting to overturn the act, despite the fact that the Damages Act itself reverses an earlier House of Lords ruling that people with pleural plaques could not claim compensation.
Most cases of pleural plaques, a condition caused by exposure to asbestos, are benign and cause no symptoms. The plaques form as a thickening of the membranes surrounding the lungs, usually many years or decades after the initial exposure. And while they are not considered a disease in their own right, the plaques do prove past exposure to asbestos and increase the risk of developing a serious asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma cancer later on, according to supporters of the law.
Insurers warn that the floodgates have been opened for expensive claims. They warn that the claims will cost between £76m and £607m over the next 20 years.
According to the asbestos attorneys who have been fighting on behalf of the victims, the insurers now have to do the decent thing and no longer delay payments for wrongful conduct in exposing employees to asbestos exposure by employers and thus prolonging the victims agony.
We have almost 1000 clients who are living testimony to the real and damaging effects of living with pleural plaques. They deserve just compensation.