The Ministry of Justice have published the guidance for those seeking compensation for pleural plaque injury as a result of asbestos exposure.
This will allow all of those who, prior to 17th October 2007, had launched a legal action to recover compensation for pleural plaques to at least obtain some compensation. The amount payable is fixed at £5,000. The scheme was established following the House of Lords ruling that pleural plaques were evidence of exposure to asbestos but that they were not an injury and so no compensation was payable.
Pleural plaques are essentially scarring or 'fibrosis' of the lining of the lungs. They are mainly found on the parietal pleura (the inside of the diaphragm) but can sometimes be found closer to the rib cage on the visceral pleura. They are benign and do not cause any symptoms in the sufferer which is why the House of Lords ruled as they did.
Unfortunately the personal representatives of those who have died since they unsuccessfully sought legal redress will not be eligible to claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased. However, if a claim has already been filed under the new scheme and the Claimant dies before it is processed a payment will still be made.
Victims of other asbestos related diseases such as Asbestosis or mesothelioma can also seek compensation for pleural plaques if they have not been compensated for the condition already and fulfil the other criteria of the scheme. Also victims of secondary exposure, i.e. those who lived with someone who worked with asbestos who developed the condition, can make a claim. As well as evidence of the condition itself they also have to provide evidence of the employment of the person who exposed them.
Applications must be in to the Ministry of Justice by 1st August 2011. They can be made by phone on 0300 303 8150 (lines are open from 08:30 - 17:00 Mon to Thurs, 08:30 - 16:30 Friday) or an application from is available from the Ministry of Justice website.
If you need any advice on this or any other asbestos-related condition, please contact one of our Industrial Disease team.