The Ministry of Justice has declared that from yesterday thousands of victims of pleural plaques can claim asbestos compensation.
Pleural plaques are scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. In October 2007, a decision by the Law Lords ruled that sufferers could not claim compensation for the condition as the existence of pleural plaques does not constitute compensable damage. Although pleural plaques is non cancerous, many sufferers go on to develop asbestosis or other more serious conditions.
Although the Government has decided not to overturn the Law Lords ruling, it has recognised the “unique circumstances” involved and as such decided that anyone who had started a legal case before 17 October 2007 is entitled to a one off payment of £5,000. The scheme only applies to England and Wales, and applications must be received before 1st August 2011.
Exposure to asbestos in the workplace is unfortunately still a danger in the UK. Only last week the Health and Safety Executive released details of a prosecution they brought against a company who carried out unlicensed asbestos removal. Ron Couch Building Contractors Ltd of Pontypool were fined £2,500 for removing asbestos insulation boards. If the boards were to get damaged and asbestos fibres released into the air, then the situation would be potentially very dangerous.