Insurance firms are “buying off” future compensation claims from asbestos related victims, a Glasgow MSP has warned.
People suffering pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs, are being offered cash with a clause attached that they can’t make a fresh claim if they later contract mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Bob Doris, Glasgow SNP MSP, hosted an event for campaigners at Holyrood to share their experiences of the system and insurance forms’ tactics. He said some are offered £5000 for pleural plaques and the option of a second claim for later damage.
They are given the alternative of £10,000 but with a no return clause. Union officials are working with researchers at Stirling University to call for a “stand-alone” settlement which has no bearing on future claims.
Mr Doris said:
“Put bluntly my constituents are being offered relatively small amounts of cash from insurance companies to ‘buy off’ the risk of future compensation claims should sufferers develop conditions such as Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer or Asbestosis.
Not only does the sufferer lose out financially should the more serious and often terminal condition be identified, so do their loved ones who otherwise may be compromising their own right to compensation.
With money tight for many families, it is understandable that many will opt for a ‘full and final settlement’ and hope that a more serious condition is not diagnosed.”
Sufferers can claim compensation for pleural plaques in Scotland after the Scottish Parliament legislated to prevent a House of Lords ruling that ended claims from taking effect north of the border.
Mr Doris said there are also unacceptable delays with compensation payments and the deduction of legal costs reduces the amount paid out to victims.
A spokesman for Unite said:
“We need to strengthen and protect the rights of victims in economic and legal terms. This is about how we evolve the protection for victims and families where people don’t have to go through time barred processes and they are not debarred from submitting a claim.”