Lawyer: ‘Common Sense’ Prevails in Pleural Plaques Ruling

Illness Expert Welcomes Supreme Court Decision

12.10.2011

A leading industrial illness lawyer says ‘common sense’ prevailed after a UK Supreme Court ruling today (12th October) means Scottish sufferers of an asbestos-related condition can continue to claim damages.

Several leading insurers had continued to appeal against the Damages Act, passed at Holyrood in March 2009, which enabled people with pleural plaques, a thickening of lung membranes, to claim compensation.

Elaine Russell, a Partner who specialises in asbestos-related disease from Irwin Mitchell Scotland, welcomed the decision.

She said: “We strongly welcome this decision which will allow sufferers of Pleural Plaques in Scotland to continue to seek justice against their former employers.

“It will come as a great relief to many of our clients who are suffering from pleural plaques as a result of exposure to asbestos in Scotland and we strongly feel that common sense has prevailed here today.”

However, in England and Wales, plaques sufferers will never be allowed to claim damages for their condition.

Elaine Russell added: “This has created a postcode lottery for asbestos claimants – a two-tier justice system that benefits those in Scotland but has left those in England and Wales high and dry, with no chance of them ever being to be allowed to claim damages.”

Pleural Plaques is a thickening of the lining of the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos – although it is a benign condition, it is frequently likened to a ‘calling card’ – it proves the affected person has been exposed to asbestos and there is a lifetime risk that a more serious asbestos-induced condition, such as Mesothelioma, may develop in the future.