Press Release 5th July 2012

Asbestos Justice needed

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has backed calls made by an organisation which is fighting for asbestos victims to be fully compensated by insurance companies.

‘Clydeside Action on Asbestos’ has branded the insurance industry “callous” and “heartless” for using a legal tactic to avoid paying compensation to dying asbestos victims.

Insurance companies are hoping to use a legal case (Aitchison v Glasgow City Council (2010)) to avoid paying out compensation to victims of asbestos exposure.

The insurers argue that if a victim does not take up their damages case for pleural plaques within three years of diagnosis, they no longer have the right to claim for other developments in their condition such as deadly mesothelioma.

Duncan McNeil MSP has written to the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill asking him to bring forward legislative changes that would force the insurances companies to pay up.

The local MSP said;

“It’s sad to see that the insurance companies are up to their old dirty tricks. They have in the past used the courts to deny victims and families rightful access to compensation and there trying it on again. For insurers to use the fact that someone did not pursue a claim for pleural plaque within a three year time limit as a defence to not pay out for a more serious condition is both unjust and immoral. We must do all we can, including legislative change to ensure that suffers of asbestos are fully compensated. This is why I back Clydeside Action campaign on Asbestos and I have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking him to do the same and to bring forward legislation to ensure that all victims of asbestos can be compensated”


Commenting on the development, Senior Welfare Officer at Clydeside Action on Asbestos, Phyllis Craig, said:

“This callous attack on weak and dying asbestos victims is just the latest in a long list of underhand tactics employed by the insurers, and demonstrates just how heartless the insurance industry truly is.

“The insurers claim to be concerned with getting compensation for asbestos victims as quickly as possible, but these people are dying as the insurance companies try to find new ways to limit their exposure to paying out on asbestos cases.

“We have been campaigning tirelessly to align the Scottish legal system with the justice these victims deserve. Mr MacAskill’s commitment to those with asbestos related illnesses was of major encouragement to us, and his reassuring declaration that a claim for mesothelioma should not be rejected simply because the time limit for a previous diagnosis of pleural plaque has expired resonated through the Scottish Parliament and resounded with campaigners and sufferers alike.