Right to claim for Pleural Plaques in Scotland upheld

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Three court of session judges today ( 12.04.2011) rejected an appeal by the insurance industry against the opposition to the Damages Act passed in Scotland at Holywood in March 2009.

This overturned the UK House of Lords ruling that people with pleural plaques, which is a symptomless thickening of lung membranes, cannot claim compensation. 

Pleural Plaques is caused by exposure to asbestos but has no ill effects and is not, at present by the law in the UK, considered to be a disease in its own right. However supporters of compensation for plaques argue that the scaring on the lungs proves that the individuals has been exposed to asbestos and that there is an increased risk of fatal disease such as mesothelioma arising.

It is understood that the The Association of British Insurers (ABI) will now fight the law at the UK Supreme Court. They stated: We are disappointed by this judgment. The insurers who brought this judicial review did so because there are fundamental legal principles at stake, and they remain confident that there is significant substance in their grounds for challenging the Damages Act.Insurers remain fully committed to paying compensation and pay out £200 million a year to those with asbestos-related conditions that impact on health, like mesothelioma.However, pleural plaques do not impact on quality of life and do not in themselves lead to asbestos-related conditions, such as mesothelioma.

I will watch with interest to see if the decision is appealed and if not, what effect this will have in time on the Law in England to whom unfortunately this decision will not apply.

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