A Scottish Parliament Act that allows compensation claims for exposure to asbestos even if the claimant is displaying no symptoms has been upheld in the last week. The act had been challenged by numerous major British insurance groups –including Axa and Zurich Insurance – on the basis that an asbestos compensation claim should only be successful when asbestos exposure has caused noticeable symptoms and ill-effects.
The legal debate centred on the occurrence of pleural plaques, which is a thickening of the lung membrane caused by exposure to asbestos. The presence of pleural plaques on the lungs usually only indicates previous exposure to asbestos without causing physical symptoms. Diagnosis of the condition is not without worry though. Many sufferers suffer anxiety over developing more serious – and often fatal asbestos conditions such as mesothelioma.
The Scottish Law revokes a House of Lords ruling in 2007 setting a legal principle that compensation is only payable when a victim is suffering from physical symptoms. Clydebank Action On Asbestos Chairman, Harold McCluskey said the decision was “great news”, adding “the biggest strain (for sufferers) is the worry of it developing into fatal conditions.”
Pleural Plaque sufferers – in Scotland at least – are now entitled to the compensation they deserve. The legal decision though is sure to reverberate around the UK. Any person suffering from the condition is strongly urged to seek advice on their case. Amanda Cunliffe Solicitors can offer professional information on where victims stand legally.