An appeal to the Law Lords to reinstate compensation for sufferers of asbestos related condition pleural plaques has been set for summer 2007.
Amicus, the trade union and its lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, are preparing their case to appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling made in March which stopped paying compensation to those with the condition.
The Court of Appeal overturned a previous decision by the High Court last year, where it was decided claimants with pleural plaques should continue to receive compensation.
The decision, unless overturned, means the end to an established right to compensation, which existed for 20 years, for pleural plaques, which are in almost every case caused by workers being exposed to asbestos due to negligence of their employers.
In the past claimants could receive compensation worth up to £15,000.
If the decision is upheld by the Law Lords, it will result in a substantial windfall saving for insurance firms who have brought the test case in an attempt to end compensation for pleural plaques.
Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Amicus, which has supported claims throughout the test case for workers who were negligently exposed to asbestos during their employment, said: "The Court of Appeal's judgement harms many of our members who have been exposed to asbestos in their working lives by denying them the right to sue their former employers for developing pleural plaques.
“People with pleural plaques should be compensated for the genuine injury that asbestos exposure has caused. That is why Amicus has pledged to take the lead to continue fighting on behalf of our members and all pleural plaques sufferers to get this cruel decision reversed."
Head of national asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors, Ian McFall added: “We were shocked by the Court of Appeal ruling and the impact it will have, if upheld, on thousands of people with pleural plaques now and in the future."
“Pleural plaques are recognised by medical experts as a sign of irreversible damage to the lining of the lung caused by a history of exposure to asbestos which carries an increased risk of malignant diseases such as the deadly cancer mesothelioma."
“This new hearing with the House of Lords gives us an opportunity to argue again that people exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with pleural plaques should win back the right to claim compensation.”
The appeal to the House of Lords will be heard from 25 June to 2 July 2007.
Personneltoday.com have also published a version of this story. To read it visit "Law lords summer date for bid to reinstate compensation for multi-site acquired asbestos-related pleural plaques"
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.