Thompsons Solicitors has criticised insurance companies for prolonging the agony of pleural plaques sufferers by mounting a legal challenge to a new compensation bill passed by the Scottish Parliament.
The insurance companies pushing to block the Damages (Asbestos-related conditions) (Scotland) Act include, Aviva, AXA Insurance, RSA and Zurich.
Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire, Thompsons’ senior partner, who represents the majority of pleural plaques sufferers in Scotland said:
“It is quite outrageous that the insurance companies with a huge vested interest should seek to thwart the will of the Scottish people by raising this ill-founded legal challenge to a perfectly legitimate piece of legislation overwhelmingly passed by the Scottish Parliament.
“Yet again the insurance companies demonstrate their total lack of concern for the victims of asbestos exposure by prolonging the agony of pleural plaques sufferers who will now have to wait even longer for justice.”
“The infamous House of Lord ruling which threatened the right to compensation in Scotland for pleural plaques sufferers put around 250 Scottish cases into limbo, and another 250 victims have come to us seeking redress since then.
“Pleural plaques sufferers have had the right to compensation for decades.
“By raising this action the insurance industry has shown it will go to any lengths to try and avoid paying a penny to the victims of asbestos exposure, even to the extent of challenging the will of the Scottish people.
“The reality is that people with pleural plaques are showing the first physical signs of having been knowingly and recklessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres by employers.
“Under the new Scottish Bill these victims, who have to live with the very real fear that they may develop a deadly form of asbestos related cancer such as mesothelioma, now have their rights to compensation restored.
“But the insurance companies and the employers they represent are determined to do everything in their power to drag out the legal process, and add to the victims’ agony.”
Mr Maguire added: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government will fight this legal challenge and I am absolutely confident that the courts will reject the insurance companies arguments as totally without legal foundation.
“We will throw out weight behind the Scottish Government in countering this legal challenge.”