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NI pleural plaque sufferers can now claim compensation

New legislation passed last December means anyone in Northern Ireland diagnosed with pleural plaques can now claim compensation.

The new bill, ‘The Damages (Asbestos – related Conditions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011’, was put on hold pending the outcome of a challenge by insurers to equivalent legislation in Scotland. Scotland had been the first region in the UK to make changes to the law to give sufferers of pleural plaques the right to sue for compensation. In October 2011 insurers challenged the legislation in Scotland but the UK Supreme Court upheld the right of sufferers of pleural plaques in Scotland to claim compensation.

The new legislation in Northern Ireland affords sufferers the same right to claim compensation, and there have already been an increase in enquiries to solicitors.

Tanya Waterworth, a solicitor specialising in asbestos related claims at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast, commented:

“The new legislation is a great step forward for people in Northern Ireland who have been exposed to asbestos and face a higher risk of developing a more serious asbestos related illness, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.

“Pleural plaques is scarring to the lungs caused by asbestos exposure, but does not result in any symptoms, which is why it was ignored for so long by previous legislation. However, the presence of pleural plaques is in itself evidence of asbestos exposure and carries the increased risk of more serious illnesses.

“That sufferers of pleural plaques in Northern Ireland can now bring claims for compensation will be a huge help to many people and their families who live with the threat of developing terminal asbestos related illnesses such as mesothelioma.”

If you have been exposed to asbestos in Northern Ireland you should have a medical examination as soon as possible. If you are suffering from an asbestos related illness you should contact an asbestos claims solicitor to discuss a possible compensation claim. You can call a member of the asbestos claims team at Wilson Nesbitt by calling 0800 840 9289.

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