50 signatures reached
To: Lord Chancellor
Pleural Plaques compensation in England and Wales
I would like the Lord Chancellor to introduce legislation to reinstate compensation for Pleural Plaques in England and Wales to give parity with victims in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Why is this important?
I am Howard Bonnett. I act for and help asbestos disease victims throughout England and Wales.
My petition is to ask the Lord Chancellor to bring legislation to reinstate the right for compensation for pleural plaques victims in England and Wales.
Pleural plaques are a scarring of the lining of the lung. They are caused by asbestos. They are a marker that the body has reacted to asbestos. Victims of asbestos exposure can go on to develop pleural thickening, asbestosis or cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Compensation was available for pleural plaques from the 1980s through to 2007. Before 2007 those victims could get either full and final or a modest provisional damage settlement to ensure they preserved rights for future monies if they got worsening disease
A House of Lords decision decided that pleural plaques were not an injury and should not attract compensation. They chose not to compensate what was described as “the worried well”
The Scottish government reinstated rights for pleural plaques victims in 2009. In 2011 Northern Ireland followed suit.
Compensation remains unavailable for victims in England and Wales.
In the 10 years since the House of Lords decision many more thousands of asbestos pleural plaques victims have been diagnosed. None of them have any legal redress.
So why ask for change now? The 2007 change in the law has had a massive affect on those affected. As the years pass the people able to help with claims reduces. In time former employers dissolve and records of employment and insurance disappear. Making claims get harder as time progresses. These many victims of asbestos disease continue to be deprived of justice.
For all the more reason the right for pleural plaques victims to secure claims now, even on a modest provisional damage basis, is of great social importance. Depriving people of justice reflects poorly on us all as the Scottish and Northern Irish governments plainly saw.
Victims of pleural plaques often know asbestos cancer victims. There is no expiry date for when asbestos can turn cancerous. My father was diagnosed with pleural thickening 20 years ago. He has suffered a pleural effusion this year. This was suspected to be mesothelioma. Fortunately tests have ruled this out – for now. Did the judges really think that this is one of “the worried well?”. Many thousands carry that same anxiety every day.
Access to legal redress will not cure them or stop those risks. But it can give peace of mind and knowledge that financial provision can be made for the family.
To help the many thousands of victims affected I ask the Lord Chancellor to start a process of legislation to give parity to those in England and Wales that victims in Scotland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed for years.