Moffat & Co Solicitors

Moffat & Co Solicitors
Accident Compensation Claim Solicitors Scotland
PO Box 28287
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH9 2WU
Telephone:
0131 662 6988
Fax:
0131 667 8175

MASS Motor Accident Solicitors Society

Moffat & Co Solicitors Over 25 years of experience at your service

Edinburgh Personal Injury Solicitor

Union speaks out over pleural plaques compensation

The ongoing battle to compensate victims of pleural plaques caused by exposure to asbestos has taken another turn. The construction union UCATT have expressed their disappointment in the fact that the Government has been able to find billions of pounds to bail out the banks, but seems unable to find just a few million pounds to compensate victims.

Pleural Plaques - the problem that won't go away

The announcement has particular poignancy in the speed with which the Government has announced a £33.5billion bail out for the Royal Bank of Scotland, yet has been repeatedly accused of dragging its feet on the subject of pleural plaques compensation. The decision to allow pleural plaques as a compensatable injury has been approved for cases in Scotland. However, this decision by the Scottish parliament and its approval by the Law Lords is being challenged by the Government in London, who see it as an embarrassing and costly situation and, potentially, the thin end of the wedge.

The decision has been back and forth between the Law Lords and Parliament for months, resulting in a confusing and upsetting situation for the families and victims of a debilitating condition that, although not life-threatening, can be a clear indicator of asbestos exposure and the precursor to more serious conditions. If pleural plaques compensation were to be restored and approved across the UK, it is estimated that it would cost the Government £35million a year in compensation payments to workers who were negligently exposed to asbestos. The really embarrassing part of this whole situation is that many of these workers were employed by the Government itself in the former nationalised shipyards and at the Ministry of Defence.

The amount of money needed to compensate victims of pleural plaques has been described as 'peanuts' by UCATT. Despite growing evidence that pleural plaques do have a detrimental affect on long-term health, (as any form of congestion in the lung is bound to cause problems) because it is not seen as a life-threatening illness, the Government is reluctant to include it on its list of compensatable industrial injuries.

The argument from those who support the pleural plaques campaign is that other industrial injuries such as Vibration White Finger and arthritis have received the recognition they deserve, so why not pleural plaques? The Government sees the issue as the 'thin end of the wedge' and is worried that complying to requests to include pleural plaques as part of the compensation package of injuries that can be directly linked to asbestos exposure will lead to a flood of claims, costing the Government millions.

Bad timing?

It is perhaps unfortunate for the Government's argument that the bail out of the Royal Bank of Scotland (in itself necessary to maintain the stability of the economy, but a financial bone of contention for many) has coincided with the stepping up of the pleural plaques debate. Considering the planned bailout figure of the bank was put at over £33billion, it does seem that the Union's argument that the amount payable in compensation is 'peanuts' is right. But the Government's concerns that approval across the UK for compensation for pleural plaques will open a floodgate of claims still means that they are fighting the decision and are even threatening to overturn the Law Lord's ruling at the first given opportunity.

The debate over pleural plaques looks set to continue. It is not just a matter of money. It is a matter of compensating victims of negligent exposure to what was known for years to be a highly toxic and harmful mineral. Justice has to be seen to be done, no matter what the cost. That much is not in dispute, even if the monetary figures are.

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Testimonials

My case was dealt with personally by Stan Moffat and what a brilliant guy. His office contacted me personally by telephone at the start of my claim to explain who they were and what they would be doing for me. All through the case I was kept fully informed of all actions either by e-mail or by letter and reassured by Stan several times of any queries I had.

It is very seldom that a solicitor will take the time to speak personally at any time with you without getting run through secretaries etc. I commend this man for that as this was a very upsetting and important time for me and he did everything in his power to make this as easy and as swift as possible for me.

I highly recommend the service that this firm brings and the speed that they move at.

J McMahon

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